PM-Partners Group Released a Project Health Checklist

Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) May 13, 2009 -- Leading Australian project services firm, PM-Partners group, today released a 10-point Project Health Checklist which has been indispensable to the company delivering program and project success over 14 years.

"Now is not the time to deliver unsuccessful projects," said Pete Swan, Managing Director, PM-Partners group []. "The projects you deliver have to be effective and deliver value. A growing economy often hides a multitude of sins and problems. In a contracting economy, the projects you run need a solid justification, effective execution and good returns."

Strategic Alignment: Is it clear where the project contributes to your strategy (do you need to review this) and is the priority well understood and communicated.

Business Case: Is the project justified on a strong business case, is it still current, are business requirements still appropriate, are agreed critical success factors clear, is there significant user involvement.

Accountability: Is clear ownership for the project outcome established. Is there an experienced project manager accountable for execution. Is an active senior sponsor ensuring organisational challenges are dealt with. Is there a clear structure ensuring all parties understand their accountability.

Active Governance: Is active governance in place that not only establishes corporate controls but also harnesses management support, steers the project, removes obstacles and remediates project or benefit-realisation shortfalls. Are support structures in place for defining problems and solution options for clear and swift decision-making.

Planning: Has a useful plan been agreed with the necessary stakeholders. Is it broken down into manageable pieces allowing the organisation to commit to one stage at a time. Is it realistic in relation to current organisational constraints (people/time/budget/feasibility). Does it align with the business case and current requirements. Have the key risks that may impact the success of the project been identified.

Control: Is the project being executed in manageable stages with periodic reviews and progress updates. Is there a simple and effective method of escalating problems. Is effective change, issues and risk management in place to safeguard your investment. Have the key risks that may impact the success of the project been mitigated. Are you looking to reduce complexity at every opportunity.]

Impact & Benefits: Are plans in place for how the organisation will accommodate transition changes that the project will introduce and how benefits will be embedded and measured. Is any significant organisational resistance being managed with the executive team.

Resourcing: Are the right people on the project or just the available people. Are there adequate resources allocated and does the organisation understand the importance of their prioritisation and commitments. Is internal and external resource performance monitored proactively.

Communication: Are key stakeholders kept informed. Do you trust the information being reported, is it effective. Does communication identify risks, clearly defined problems and resolutions agreed rather than share information. Does communication promote realistic expectations. Is adequate notice provided. Are communications events planned or a reaction to complaints.

Executive View: Is there a high level map of all major initiatives, how they benefit the organisation and impact each other. Are major initiatives reviewed when the strategy changes. Are the organisation's project and program skills evolving into a mature core capability.

If the above questions ring warning bells Swan advised putting a plan of action in place.

Problems are already becoming evident. According to a global report just released by the respected Standish Group, "CHAOS Summary 2009," this year's results show a marked decrease in project success rates, with only 32% of all projects succeeding, that is, delivered on time, on budget. This year's figures also show a substantial increase in both cost and time overruns. Cost overruns increased from 47% in 2006 to 54% in 2008. Time overruns also have gone up to 79% in 2008.

Explaining the results, Swan said, "The results of the CHAOS report are disturbing but unfortunately in a downturn it can get worse. Corners are often cut, planning times reduced, available people used instead of the right people and good practice not followed. In our experience this always leads to cost blowouts over the medium term. This is the third downturn we have experienced and towards the end we always get a significant influx of project turnarounds, something we will probably see in 6-9 months."

In the current economic climate, PM-Partners group has seen an upswing in demand for consulting services such as portfolio assessments, aimed at identifying unnecessary projects, and project health checks as a low cost assurance service.

"Demand for project health checks is booming," said Swan. "Organisations spend a lot of money on projects but many don't have visibility into what is really going on. For a minimal percentage of the project budget, a health check provides that assurance.

"You can't assume projects you are running at the moment are OK," he said. "For example, organisations that have recently gone through changes such as restructures or retrenchments of project staff and contractors should seriously consider a health check before moving the project to the next stage. Some of our clients also use a health check as assurance when a project is managed by staff that may not have all the required experience. It doesn't have to be an intrusive process because at the end of the day we all want the project to succeed so it often leads to some simple guidance to help save everyone time, money and stress."

About PM-Partners group PM-Partners group [] combines the capabilities of over 60 professionals to offer two key services: 'We develop your project capabilities or we deliver projects for you'.

PM-Partners group have provided specialist project management delivery and capability development services to Australia's leading organisations for over 14 years, helping clients improve, adapt and deliver value using experience and world best practice.

PM-Partners group -- recognised in the BRW Fast 100 as one of the fastest growing companies in Australia with an annual growth rate of 50% over the last three years -- has a combined customer list that contains Australia's most prestigious corporate and government organisations. Press Release Distribution By PressReleasePoint

Contact: David Sanday Bowes Communications Sydney, Australia +61 (0)2 9387 2333 []

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Press Release Submitted On: May 13, 2009 at 4:30 am
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