Project teams deal with the possibility of failure every day. There are numerous reasons why projects fail, many of which can be avoided with a project health check. A project health check enables the team to take a step back from the daily execution of tasks to evaluate the actual status of the project in an objective way.
Benefits of conducting a project health check include:
- Identifying issues before they occur, which can save significant time and money
- Overcoming current challenges and risks
- Confirming that the rationale for the project is still relevant and clearly understood by the team
- Ensuring adherence to established practices and processes to safeguard the quality of the final deliverables.
The tools and methods used to complete the project health check will depend on the scale of the project and local guidance. The output is typically a comprehensive report which documents problems and risks, and a set of recommended actions. In some instances, organizations opt to use external auditors to obtain a fully impartial review of the project.
The project health check may be conducted at agreed intervals or as a response to unforeseen issues. Here are seven recommended factors to include in your next project health check.
7 Factors to Include in Your Project Health Check
1. Business Case
Before examining the status of the project, it is important to consider if the original business case is still relevant. Compare work completed against the initial objectives and metrics. You should also ensure that your team fully understand the business case and the purpose of the project.
Budget over-run is frequently cited as a source of project failure. Examine the systems and processes used to control, approve and track costs. A useful way to assess project costs and performance is Earned Value Management.
3. Risk Management
Risk is always present in projects and must be managed proactively. During the project health check, you need to confirm that a risk management plan is in place and implemented when needed. Are risk assessments conducted regularly? When identified, how are risks addressed?
4. Quality Control
In addition to time and scope, quality is part of the triple constraints that limit a project. Refer to organizational processes and agreed deliverables to determine if quality is an issue.
Providing support and guidance to your project team is critical. Lack of communication and internal conflict can quickly derail the project. Check that the team is working and collaborating together, for example, is everyone using the collaborative project site to track and update their work? You should also review the stakeholder engagement plan and communications with external parties to ensure that everyone is aligned.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
It is worth checking that the team clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within the project. If a defined role has evolved during the project, confirm that the changes were documented and clarified with relevant team members.
7. Resource Management
Project success is closely linked to the adequate availability of the right resources when needed. In addition to investigating resource access, consider if resources were used efficiently and shared as needed.
Using SharePoint to Track Project Health
If you are using a collaborative project management tool such as BrightWork – a project portfolio management solution for SharePoint – carrying out the above health check will be much easier!
With real-time reports, metric tiles, and lists, extract key data on:
- Overall project progress, including percent complete
- Project Budgets
- Task status
- Risks and Issues
- Resource allocation.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.