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Project review – part 1



The benefits

Under PRINCE2® a benefit review is under taken as part of the process Closing a Project.
For PRINCE2 2005 it is a post-project review needed to measure achievement of business benefits and re-examine the quality of products after a period of use?
[see Closing a Project (CP) - part 3 - Identifying Follow-on Actions (CP2)].

For PRINCE2 2009 it is an assessment of the results of the project against the expected benefits in the Business Case.
[see Closing a Project – Activities - Evaluate the project]

Improve project performance and management

Project review can mean different things.

Traditionally, it is a formal review of all aspects of the project performance after project completion.
This is usually carried out internally but could be managed by an external consultant.

This is not quite the same as a project audit.
Audits, for many people, are run by external consultants and tend to focus on the project management processes and procedures rather than performance.
The project audit tends to be a more formal process of checking that all of the project management systems were in place and properly managed.
This would include the issue, version number and recall of documents etc.

External consultants will be trained in auditing and reporting procedures.
However, it may be that a company has suitably trained auditors internally.

Senior management will be interested in the process as well as the performance but these are usually reviewed separately.
However, you cannot have one without the other.

No project should end without a suitable project review.
It is equally relevant to find out the good points from the project as well as the bad ones.

Ensure the quality of the project management process is not ignored

Good project management systems are the bedrock of successful projects.
In particular, it gives the project management team an additional feeling of identity to have input into the review and the improvement process for future projects.

Why would a customer come to you?
Unless you are the sole supplier of the goods or service (unlikely) the customer will come back if he or she is satisfied.
This will not only mean satisfaction with the product but with the management procedures that lead to project success.

This is because good control means less risk to the customer.

The whole process will improve project performance and management.
It keeps the idea of quality management in the forefront of thinking.

Ability to take action as problems develop

The project review can be run at any time, not just at the project end.

Naturally, reviewing can be carried out at milestones as well as at the project end.
This will serve to catch some problems early, which can only be an advantage.
However, any project review procedure, whether internal or external has to be agreed at the beginning of the project to get ‘buy in’ from all concerned.

It should thus be defined as part of the Quality Plan.
This type of project review would tend to be less formal than an external or project end review.

Identify management aspects which may influence future projects

Any review will try to identify lessons learned.
How these will affect the future management of projects is important.
Until lessons learned have been implemented in future projects they are not ‘learned’.
This is why PRINCE2 2009 refers only to lessons and the Lessons Report whereas PRINCE2 2005 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] referred to the Lessons Learned Report.

Communicate the status of the project

It is good for all concerned to know the final status of the project.
If possible, communicate the results of any review to interested parties.
This could be done by circulating the project review notes or even better via a meeting highlighting the key points.

Reaffirms project commitment for the team

This type of activity reaffirms the commitment of all the personnel involved.
It is also a very good opportunity to thank people for their hard work.

Internal v external reviews

Internal

At the end of a project the Project Manager can canvass the project management team (and others if necessary) as to the overall performance of the team and its project management systems.
This is in addition to the review of the project performance.

When this activity is carried out internally it reminds everyone that quality and project management performance are important areas that must be given due attention.

External

An external review serves to produce a neutral report on project management performance.
An externally run review is unlikely to review the performance of the project management team.
This should be the responsibility of the Project Manager.

It may be possible to get a neutral view by using a person from another department to chair the project review meeting.

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