Many of us at one point in our career must have come across a situation when there is need for our project to be reviewed by someone else. This process can either be:
- Formal (internal or external) OR
- Informal ( without the organization directive or influence)
As part of the informal process, sometimes we seek the expert advice of staff members either within the team or outside of the team.
It is very beneficial to coordinate projects with other team members regardless of the need for project review. The project team members are more likely to be versed with the Project Charter (a document that officially or formally authorize the project) and the project scope (a document that defines what is included in the project and details of any exclusions).
Unfortunately, in majority of projects carried out today, the project team members are unaware of what the project scope is all about. They are kept in the dark as if it is a kind of taboo or a big company secret. The more you regard project scope as a business secret and keep the valuable information from team that need to use them for the benefit of the project, the more poor quality projects will be produced.
For purposes of reminding ourselves, the project scope includes the following: Objectives; Scope description; Requirements; Boundaries; Deliverables; Acceptance Criteria; Constraints; Assumptions; Project Organization; Defined risks; Scheduled Milestones; Fund Limitations; Cost Estimate; Project Configuration Management requirements; Project Specifications; Approved Requirements.
On the other hand, an informal project review can be welcomed from a staff member not conversant with the above scope information only to the extent of advice on general technical skills rather than on the particular project because specific job requirements are unknown to them. Though their advice can be correct and useful under normal circumstances but it can be misleading in your particular case. Therefore, such side reviews should be channelled through the Project Manager who can best advice on such valuable comments which are important to the success of the project and the success of the company as a whole.
You may be wondering by now and asking yourself what type of organization require this? I would like to mention that irrespective of the organizational structure in which you work. It is imperative to go through project review in any of the following structures: Functional, Matrix and Projectized.
Why need a review?
For many reasons, projects are set up to deliver a set of deliverables based on the Project Scope Management plan. A project that meets the project scope can be termed a successful project. So with a well written Scope Management Plan, you will not only deliver a successful project but a qualitative project with little or no scope creep – a scope creep is when a project experienced additional and undocumented requirements requested by the Sponsor or Customer/Client, alternatively when the Project Team decides to add more value outside of the scope. With scope creep there is disruption to the triple constraints of scope, time and cost.
One of the challenges facing project teams is the inadequacy of time to complete work to meet a deadline. Most of us work to the last minute rushing to get drawings/project out of the office without having a glance at what is being sent because of the constraint which schedule has placed on the project. Having said that, it is possible to make project review an element of best practice as we perform work on projects based on the project scope baseline (the approved scope and deliverables are measured against the baseline).
Anyone familiar with projects will agree that it is advantageous to find the problems earlier rather than during construction or rather than for the client to point out the inaccuracies in the work of a professional. It is a good practice to review architectural and construction drawings before they are issued out for any purpose. Also, it is important to note that while being paid for remedial work as a way of making more profit, it is not a fascinating process and the time spent or expended on such rework can be a beneficial time for another project that can inevitably bring in more profit than to embark on expected changes. You will also realize and understand how you can eliminate tremendous amount of change orders and decrease project delays.
Formal Project Review
A formal project review should be part of every organizational process to ensure quality, consistency of work and ensured standard. When and wherever possible, a project review team should involve the upper management or group of managers or senior staff. Alternatively, a third party project review service can be employed. At first sight, this seems strenuous on the firm’s resources, budget and profit but the fact remains that those resources are going to be billed on the project. The quality and efficiency of the project will definitely offset perceived expense in the long term.
The project review team should be introduced to the project early enough during the design process just like the early introduction of the Construction Management @ Risk project delivery in the design stage. It is worth noting that, a project team might misinterpret project coordination with project review. I believe that, every team member is supposed to engage in coordination of their own aspect of the project with other team members and with the consultants’ documentation along with other documents necessary for project monitoring and control but not necessarily be involved in project review. While on the other hand Project review team is outside of the project team and they are assigned not for the purpose of coordination.
Firstly, the project team should be encouraged to use drawing/project coordination list if one exist but in the absence of this document, the Project Manager should endeavour to provide one to be included in the organization asset so that each item of this document is checked against work performed.
Another important document project team should have at their disposal is the Project Guideline. This document will contain relevant information for anyone new to the project and for ongoing team members.
Finally, as part of the firm’s multiple templates I will suggest the inclusion of project review template. This kind of template varies from one firm to the other. However, something common to them is that they all meet specific project needs and objectives.
The Construction Industry and Allied Industries usually employ the skills of Project Managers to manage and implement project decisions. Often times these decisions are carried out in isolation, therefore it is time to begin to actively integrate all aspects of Project Management as a unified process. With this practice, the dynamism required to meet the challenges of the so called triple constraints will be met with ease, efficiency and effectiveness.
With comprehensive project review, excellent quality control and quality assurance policy, you can be assured of a successful, profitable and stress free project.