Advanced Project Techniques

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Project Audits / Project Assurance


PMBOK thumbnailThis page relates to project audits in which we will look at the important areas of project execution. The audit may be at the behest of a project stakeholder as part of a due diligence exercise, or for the project contractor in relation to an improvement programme.

For the audit we normally use our own audit questionnaires which are closely modelled on the Project Management Institute's guide (there are a total of nine areas all of which can be audited if required) - see inset at right. We prefer to work this way rather than working from the client's project management procedures since it gives more independence, besides which it's likely that the project procedures will have been covered by internal audits.

Our project audits are at a somewhat higher level than most internal audits and focus on whether best practice is being used and on outcomes, but without necessarily looking at the fine detail. As ex-project managers ourselves we are perhaps well able to feel the pulse of a project and determine whether there are deficiencies in areas not covered by the procedures, which may be far more damaging than procedural non-compliance in the long run.

If we are working on behalf the project contractor we submit an audit report with recommendations which are then agreed with the client and followed through to implementation.

The audit is conducted by a team of at least two auditors, both highly experienced in project management, which gives balance to the findings.  We prefer to have a representative from the organisation being audited as part of the team.

Submission of our audit report will give the relevant managers confidence that they really understand how the project is performing, so they won't receive unwelcome surprises at a later stage.

Progress Audits

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We are well equipped to undertake progress audits. This isn't conducted in the way that, say a firm of Quantity Surveyors would approach it, by doing a detailed progress measure.

We work in accordance with ANSI/EIA 748 "Earned Value Management System" which lays down the requirements for project control systems and their operation. There are a total of 32 criteria to be met if one applies the full rigour of the standard, although in reality one only needs to concentrate on about one third of these.

We conduct the progress audit with a lot of insight, having operated earned value project controls on numerous occasions, rather than with a mechanical, " tick the box" mentality. We also look at the risk items, such as delivery of major equipment, which may not affect the progress measure early in the project but which could have a serious impact at a later stage.

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