In this insight, we shed some light on a critical aspect of project management that is often forgotten, or not done well – Project Assurance. We also reflect on the importance and indispensable role played by the Project Management Office (PMO) and how it ensures its success.
Project Assurance is an impartial assessment of a project or programme and helps to ensure that the desired outcomes will be achieved. At its heart, Project Assurance is performed to ensure that a project is delivering in an effective, repeatable and consistent way, it involves assessing and monitoring various project elements, with the benefit of an independent view.
Seven steps to Project Assurance
Typical areas that a PMO will focus on for the Project Assurance include:
Who delivers Project Assurance in your organisation? And how?
Your PMO may carry out the assurance, or you may use experienced members of the project management community within your team. Alternatively, you may use external companies for an independent view and a ‘fresh pair of eyes’.
Or maybe you need to get this function up and running?
Your PMO is really well placed to carry out the assurance as it should already have a good understanding of each project, the project methodology that should be taking place and the stakeholders that are involved in the project. The PMO has to act as an independent team, following the same framework for each assurance review.
One approach to your assurance framework is to have a standard set of questions for each broad category of review (see above for examples), including the deliverables for the project. The PMO should first review the deliverables with each receiving a maturity score between 1 and 5, where 1 means that the deliverable lacks essential components or is incomplete and 5 represents the deliverable fulfilling all the needs of the deliverables and/or exceeds expectations. A similar ranking of 1 to 5 is also used when the PMO runs through the questions for each of the topic areas.
Once this is done, you will have an average maturity rating for each assurance area. Your tool should then allow you to capture a ‘target maturity’ level – you can then easily see where your project is against where you would like it to be.
With this complete, you now need to capture the recommendations that the project should implement based on the findings of the review. Ensure that you have an owner and a target date and commitment from all to deliver the changes.
Diagram 1 – current state and target state of project maturity
The benefits of Project Assurance
If you get Project Assurance right, it will:
A good assurance function will also spot other areas that will further improve delivery:
The significance of Project Assurance cannot be overstated. It serves as a proactive safeguard against potential project failures, cost overruns, or scope creep.
If you want an open and honest conversation about how to approach your project assurance, how to uplift your PMO to carry out this key function, or to discuss your wider transformation programme, then please give Project One a call for a chat. We are change experts in leading complex, business critical, change and transformation. Our recent industry recognition places Project One as #2 out of 1,200 consultancies for effective PPM.
To discuss further, please contact Nick Houlton
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