PROJECT MANAGEMENT – POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Project management requirements as listed below would normally relate to large six/seven figure projects or ones where successful implementation is fundamental to a service critical operation.
This list has been designed primarily as a prompt sheet for audit staff. It is recognised it is by no means an exhaustive list of possible questions especially where particularly complex projects are being undertaken. However project managers or project overseeing bodies may find part or all of it a helpful aid in undertaking their own self assessment.
are clear objectives of what the project is to achieve and initial support has been obtained from key
participants and decision makers for what is being proposed.
responsibilities have been allocated and authorities delegated especially in relation to :-
overseeing body (or individual) project manager
- Co-ordination and reporting procedures within
and between these groups have been established.
- A feasibility
study has been carried out and considered by the overseeing body.
feasibility study includes an analysis of constraints and significant risks.
drawing on known facts and comparisons, and including incidental costs .
Costings to include an assessment of "firmness" and range of actual outcome.
for both initial project costs plus on going running costs has been secured.
(or a clear outline of project requirements) have been drawn up.
have been made to record actual project costs.
- A timetable
of key events, time needed to action them and responsibility for this has been drawn up and agreed by
the overseeing body. An assessment of contingency time available has been made for key stages.
- Key staff deployed onto the project have been assessed for their experience
in project implementation and their additional training needs to carry out the work required of them.
Training required has been given.
- Key staff are available
for the time required to work on the project and their existing work has been reorganised so as not
to impinge on their ability to carry out their new duties.
deployed, including any bought in from outside bodies, are made aware of the authority’s processes and
rules under which the project must operate.
elements of the project have been recognised by the project team and considered by the overseeing body
and ways in which risk can be reduced have been decided upon and implemented.
additional risks associated with "ambitious" projects (big-bang, new design etc) have been
recognised by the overseeing body and the projects are given a higher degree of management control,
testing levels and implementation times.
- Very large
projects have been broken down into manageable components with clear responsibilities and co-ordination
- Project quality control mechanisms are set
down and responsibilities agreed.
- Regulatory permissions
(either internal or external) have been obtained to allow the project to go ahead.
understand reasons for change and user project participation and training have been planned for.
markets have been explored and reported on to the overseeing body. Scope and limitations of what is
available is understood.
- Procurement rules are followed.
(n.b. ICT Procurement Guidelines Annexe (I) on CIS provides a good summary of these.)
- Potential suppliers are quizzed about what they can provide,
- Where price is not the only criterion the basis of selection is clearly
set out before tenders are opened. Appropriate authorisations are received if the lowest cost tender
is not selected.
- Legal and financial advice is sought
where appropriate and especially in relation to the wording of bespoke contracts.
(and framework agreements etc) are properly signed by all parties at the correct time.
- Variation procedures are documented and adhered to.
- Where project contracts have a "partnership" element the framework
under which this will work has been set out and agreed by all parties.
for assessing and reporting on progress are in place and take place at the intervals set down or appropriate
to the needs of the project at that time. Information provided is timely, accurate and concentrates
on issues appropriate to that level of management.
cater for the assessment of work carried out (quantity and quality) to allow any part payments agreed
upon in the contract to be made.
- Communication channels
with the suppliers are established and are effective in overcoming problems encountered.
- Where key problems arise that cannot easily be overcome, communication
of these upwards (if necessary to the overseeing body) takes place quickly.
alterations to the original specifications are required these are properly authorised at the appropriate
level with the cost implications taken into account.
against the original time plan is reviewed and alterations to the timings are authorised at the appropriate
- Material changes to the time plan are communicated
to key parties especially the end user.
of progress in work and key amendments to standard products/specifications are of a sufficient standard
to allow for changes of personnel while the project is still being implemented or for staff to trace
back important events at a later date.
- Other project
critical knowledge is either well documented or shared between individuals.
network with other similar users has been established, if possible, to foresee problems and find potential
- Arrangements needed to bring the project
on live are considered, where appropriate by the overseeing body, and communicated with the end user.
- Any regulatory certification or go ahead has been obtained before live
- Consideration has been given to the level of
testing that should be carried out prior to live usage.
has been given to partial live usage in order to test the projects success.
- Reporting arrangements are in place, if necessary to overseeing
body level, of the results of testing and partial live usage.
necessary training is arranged at the appropriate time for new users.
product/service is handed over and becomes the responsibility of the end user.
are in place for the project team to provide support to the end user if initial running problems occur
when hand over has taken.
- Arrangements are in place
for the project manager to assess whether final payments should be made to the suppliers or whether
claims under the contract should be made.
- The overseeing
body should be informed of the state of the project so it can decide whether to wind up its activities.
- A decision should be made by the overseeing body on what post implementation
review arrangements it wishes to put in place. Any final cost reporting to members is made.
- Documentation is available to cover the requirements of any audit, tax inspection or subsequent legal dispute.
Page Last Updated: 4 September 2002