Projects are like the human body – they require all parts to be functioning correctly and in tip top condition. If they are not then, like parts of the body, they will not work correctly, cease functioning all together, and ultimately affect other areas. To prevent this happening to the body, we visit the doctor, and, as we get older, we have health checks to stop parts of the body from deteriorating. Project Managers need to treat their projects like a living creature.
At Nine Feet Tall we are used to delivering complex change projects. Whilst the work we do varies dramatically from one client to the next, we often find that there are many similarities, which help us bring experience and expertise from past projects.
Often, we work with clients who are part way through a complex project when they find that the programme or project is faltering. In these cases, our questioning and focus as consultants relates directly to the ‘health’ of the project.
Something we recommend to our clients regularly, and something that is a quick and easy way to understand the health of a programme or project, is to run a health check based on the following nine questions:
9 questions to ask yourself about the health of your programme or project:
- Is your programme/project running to time?
- Is your programme/project running to budget?
- Do you get sight of the right management information about your programme/projects?
- Do you trust the information you receive about your programme/projects?
- Are you monitoring / tracking the right risks within the programme/projects?
- Are your programme/ project issues being managed – can you see progress from week to the next?
- Is your programme/project producing the right quality of deliverables/documentation?
- Does your programme/project have any assurance to help keep it on track and hold people accountable?
- Do you feel like you really know and understand the ‘ins and outs’ of your programme/project?
If the answer to any of the above is “no” for a programme or project you are running, it is probably a strong sign that it isn’t functioning correctly, doesn’t have the right assurance and support in place and at some point now or in the future, is likely to start to experiencing health issues.
One of the most effective ways to prevent your projects experiencing health issues is to ensure you have a PMO (Programme/Project Management Office) supporting the programme or project. Think of the PMO a lot like a Doctors Surgery, keeping your projects in good condition!
The role of the PMO is often undervalued and overlooked but when an effective PMO is placed at the centre of a programme or project, rarely does it experience health issues. From coordinating and documenting the programme or project’s meetings to full on risk management, reporting and change control, an effective PMO is the heartbeat of well-run projects.