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Topics: IT Project Management, PMO
project assurance report
Network:7


Hi... I am keen to introduce the role of project assurance to a number of our projects but would like them to submit a weekly report on the projects and their assurance activities. Has anyone ever done something similar or have recommendations of any suitable templates covering what should appear in an assurance report for projects?
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Network:1001



Stuart -

This feels like unnecessary overhead. Why not instead of a weekly cadence, have an event-driven quality assurance process.

A gating approach is one way of doing this - prior to successfully passing the gate, a delivery assurance check is conducted verifying what quality activities have been performed to that point to increase the likelihood of successful delivery from then on.

Even better, use risk-based delivery assurance where increase levels of QA are applied based on the complexity or risk of a given project.

Kiron
Network:7


Thanks Kiron. I assume when you talk here of quality assurance you mean project assurance? As I know they are similar but different roles.

My main concern here is ensuring that the project is being governed well and correctly. That PMO processes are being followed and risks being proactively managed etc. Also that stakeholder management is being implemented.

I want comfort that in projects if PMs are not doing what they should be, to the quality they should be, it can be highlighted to me at the programme level. I agree that possibly gate checks will provide this to a level but also feel that assurance sitting in a number of project meetings to gauge the project managers skill and style is also useful?

Do you have any checklists or templates or approaches you have used in the past to do this type of activity?
Network:1001



Stuart -

Remember the Hawthorne Effect - the more you "invade" the normal ceremonies of a project team, the less realistic your observations.

Having teams govern themselves in readiness for a gating check with the aid of a checklist is one way to go. So is looking at schedules and budgets before they are committed to see if they provide sufficient opportunities to course correct (e.g. are milestones regularly spaced out or are they few and far between?). Also, remember you are not subject matter experts on the domain of each project so seagull monitoring is unlikely to yield the results you seek.

At the bank I used to work at, I helped to move our rigid governance practices from a pure gating checklist approach tied to funding moments to one which was triggered by specific events (E.g. scope defined, ready to deliver first change) and focused on the vital few questions which a team would need to answer positively to feel confident that their project was set up for success.

Kiron
Network:7


Thanks. Definently something for thought. Do you have any more detailed examples of the type of questions you would have asked that would have given you assurance of a well run and defined project?

I take it you didn't find checklists at predefined gates the most effective means of assurance? Could you provide some further details on why?
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Apr 19, 2018 6:40 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
Stuart -

Gates are an artificial construct and encourage sequential, waterfall delivery.

A better approach is trigger/event-based governance. When a particular event happens, the team is given a set of questions they can complete to confirm their confidence in proceeding.

The benefit of this is that it shifts the measure from heavy oversight from without to ownership from within and can be applied to any delivery approach - sequential, iterative, adaptive...

Kiron
Network:104266



Stuart,

Agree with Kiron, feels like more overhead.

What about simple audit? peer review?

You may want to look at the template here. Many templates some might be a good starting point.
Network:7


Thanks Vincent. What template on here?
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2 replies by Stuart Graham and Vincent Guerard
Feb 20, 2018 6:59 PM
Vincent Guerard
...
There is over 1000 documents in the template section

https://www.projectmanagement.com/searchRe...By=title&first=

You can refine the search see if any can give you a starting point, in Quality Assurance there is 56.

Not a specific to suggest, have a look.
Feb 21, 2018 4:18 AM
Stuart Graham
...
Thanks Vincent

I was replying on my phone last night so didn't see the repository - currently having a search through it!
Network:104266



Feb 20, 2018 3:46 PM
Replying to Stuart Graham
...
Thanks Vincent. What template on here?
There is over 1000 documents in the template section

https://www.projectmanagement.com/searchRe...By=title&first=

You can refine the search see if any can give you a starting point, in Quality Assurance there is 56.

Not a specific to suggest, have a look.
Network:13388



The risk-based approach is a good way to go as Kiron said. The "weekly" requirement for reports is just something managers say without really knowing why. Using the risk-based approach you may not need a report for weeks, and then again you may need one daily if it is dire enough.
Network:7


Feb 20, 2018 3:46 PM
Replying to Stuart Graham
...
Thanks Vincent. What template on here?
Thanks Vincent

I was replying on my phone last night so didn't see the repository - currently having a search through it!
Network:16



Project Assurance, in its essence, should be used as part of lines-of-defence in an organisation and tailored to each organisation’s specific needs.

Most individuals in project teams would classify as the first line – that is, they are doing what they are expected to do to the best of their abilities, and they have the required training and experience in their respective fields.

Many organisations, especially Owners/ Sponsors, require an extra, independent review of projects to add a level of comfort over the information which is being reported to them. Too often is it true that project teams are overly optimistic, and this is then reflected in their reports and updates.

The result is the Owner/ Sponsor not being notified timely about events which could have negative effects on completion of the project and result in huge disputes, claims and prolonged completion.

Agreed, this comes with an extra cost to the organisation and would depend on the organisation’s risk appetite.
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