Many projects do not go according to plan and may cause significant concern to management about the best approach to recover or rescue the situation. PMO health checks, using a set of project benchmarks, compare actual and expected project status in order to identify root causes and remedial actions needed to make the project safe.
It is appropriate to conduct one of the three types of health check:
CITI have developed benchmarks and metrics for a wide variety of project states, from ‘healthy but off-track’ to ‘seriously moribund’. It uses these to evaluate projects and to recommend management actions to recover projects that are in flight.
Sponsors, key stakeholders and project managers are interviewed, often one-on-one or in small groups. Their perceptions of the project are calibrated against the business case, plans and status reports, and with perceived and actual project performance. All this information is analysed against benchmarks developed by CITI. Findings and recommendations are presented back clearly and succinctly to the management team.
The clarity and insights gained when carrying out this process give the governance group direction and confidence in their next steps and an understanding of the outcomes to be expected as a consequence of actions taken.
When a member of the governance team, whether sponsor, key stakeholder or project manager becomes concerned about the status of the project, it is a good idea to bring in an independent review to identify the causes and establish an objective view of what, if anything, needs to be done. CITI send in a highly experienced project practitioner to agree the purpose, establish terms of reference, engage with project stakeholders, and initiate the health check.
Our approach to business case studies would typically involve the use of the following tools and models: