I have been involved in a number of project audits. Each audit has its own purpose and therefore drivers. This is often determined by the audit sponsor and is fleshed out in the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the audit. The purpose of this article is to highlight a very high-level approach which can be taken to examine how effectively a project has been managed.
From these 18 questions, further questions will flow depending on the depth of detail required. What follows is a starting point.
1 – Need for programme: Is it clear what objective the programme is intended to achieve?
2 – Portfolio management and dependencies: Does the project make sense in relation to the organisation’s strategic priorities?
3 – Stakeholder engagement: Have the right people bought into the programme e.g. users, suppliers, those who have to implement it?
4 – Option appraisal: Does the option chosen meet the programme’s objective and provide long-term value?
5 – Business case: Does the business case demonstrate value for money (VFM) over the lifetime of the programme?
6 – Costs & schedule: Has the programme built up robust estimates of cost and schedule, including all programme components?
7 – Benefits: Does the programme: have a baseline, know what measurable change it is going to make, and actually measure it? Are benefits being achieved?
8 – Governance and assurance: Are there effective structures (internal and external) that provide strong and effective oversight, challenge and direction?
9 – Leadership and culture: Does the programme have strong leadership with the necessary authority and influence?
10 – Resources: Has the organisation the resources (staffing, capability, equipment, etc.) required to deliver the programme?
11 – Putting the programme into practice: Are scope and business requirements realistic, understood, clearly articulated and capable of being put into practice?
12 – Risk management: Are key risks identified, understood and addressed?
Delivery and Variation Management
13 – Delivery Strategy: Are there appropriate incentives for all parties to deliver (contractual, performance management, or other)?
14 – Change control: Is there an effective mechanism to control programme alterations?
15 – Responding to external change: Is the programme sufficiently flexible to deal with setbacks and changes in the operating context?
16 – Performance management: Is progress being measured and assessed including consideration that the programme is still the right thing to do? Are benefits being achieved?
17 – Lessons learned: Is the programme learning from experience on the current programme and previous relevant programmes?
18 – Transition to business as usual: Does the programme have a clear plan for transfer to operations / business as usual?