Seven Steps for a Project Quality Review
In some cases, such as a government project, periodic audits may be called for as a part of the overall contract. This “outside party” could be any qualified person outside of the project manager. In some cases, your organization may have an internal project audit specialist. It is possible that the Project Director or the Project Sponsor could also perform this audit. The outside party could be an outside contractor or consultant, but they do not need to be.
The audit itself focuses on whether effective project management processes are being utilized and whether the project appears to be on-track. A project audit asks questions about the processes used to manage the project and build deliverables. The audit can follow this process:
- Notify the parties (Auditor) – The auditor notifies the project manager of the upcoming audit and schedules a convenient time and place. Other key stakeholders are notified of the audit as well.
- Prepare for the audit (Auditor) – The auditor may request certain information up-front. The auditor might also ask the project manager to be prepared to discuss certain aspects of the project. This ensures that the actual meeting time is as productive as possible.
- Perform initial interview (Auditor, Project Manager) – During the initial meeting, the auditor asks the appropriate questions to ensure the project is on-track. If there are any areas that are not on track, the auditor notes them as such.
- Perform as many other interviews as necessary (optional) (Auditor, Project Team) – On many projects, the audit might culminate in the initial meeting. If the project is large or complex, the auditor might need to perform follow-up analysis. This includes meeting with other team members and clients, and reviewing further documentation.
- Document the findings (Auditor) – The auditor documents the status and the processes used on this project against best practices. If the organization has standards and policies in place for managing projects, the auditor determines whether any of these are not being followed on the audited project. The auditor also makes recommendations on things that can be done to provide more effective and proactive management of the project.
- Review draft audit report (Auditor, Project Manager) – The auditor and the project manager meet again to go over the initial findings. This auditor describes any project management deficiencies and recommendations for changes. This review also provides an opportunity for the project manager to provide a rebuttal when necessary. The initial audit findings might be modified based on specific feedback from the project manager.
- Issue final report (Auditor) – The auditor issues a final report of findings and recommendations. The project manager may also issue a formal response to the audit. In the formal response, the project manager can accept points and discuss plans to implement them. The project manager may also voice his disagreement with certain audit points, and explain his reason why. In these cases, the project sponsor and the project director (manager of the project manager) will need to decide if the project manager should comply with the recommendations or not.