The coronavirus epidemic, as we all know, has flipped the world upside down. Businesses are being forced to adjust quickly, and a big part of that is embracing for remote work. Given this shift, it’s never been more critical to assess your team’s effectiveness.
Project teams are no different from the PMI, claiming that lousy project management results in a loss of 10% of every dollar invested in projects. Practical project management standards must be maintained.
A remote project management audit is the ideal way to maintain these high standards. We’ll look at the science behind a project management audit, explaining what it is, why it’s essential, and how you can perform one yourself.
What is the definition of a remote project management audit?
Let us begin with a brief definition:
“A project management audit is a formal assessment of a project to assess its performance about governance controls.”
Project management is complete with checkpoints, but what distinguishes an audit is conducted by an outside team. This group could be from a Project Management Office (PMO), a corporate auditing team, or a third party, such as a consulting firm.
While an audit will focus on the project manager and the project sponsor, all project team members must participate.
Stakeholders are interviewed, artifacts are validated, and process gaps are found to acquire all necessary information.
Don’t be alarmed! While this may appear to be a daunting task, the main goal of a remote project management audit is to ensure that the project is running smoothly and on time, and under budget.
It may be a fantastic opportunity for people to get together and collaborate, especially when projects span across regions and cultures.
Why Should You Inspect Your Remote Project Management Process?
Now that you understand what a remote project management audit is, it’s time to address the second essential question: why do you need to perform one?
Here are some of the reasons:
– To Identify Process Gaps — Ultimately, you want to guarantee that your project management process is fit for purpose and meets stakeholder expectations. Later on, we’ll go deeper into several forms of process gaps.
– To Ensure Compliance — Audits are required for those delivering projects in regulated sectors to meet compliance standards. Processes must be checked regularly to avoid legal or financial ramifications.
– To Go Over Project Controls — We went over it briefly, but you want to make sure your projects are working inside the proper parameters. These factors include scope, time, cost, and quality.
– Early Risk Mitigation – All projects have an inherent level of risk, and it is best practice to mitigate those risks as early as possible. Audits can assist in identifying previously unknown risk areas, allowing you to address them before they become problems.
– To Balance Workloads — An audit is a fantastic method to look at resource requirements objectively and identify any imbalances. As with risk, we are detecting resource concerns early might help to avoid more significant problems (such as bottlenecks) later on.
Now that we’ve established what a remote project management audit is and the benefits it provides let’s look at how you may conduct your own.
How to Conduct an Audit of Remote Project Management
Step One: Make a plan.
As with most things in life, planning is essential to attain the most significant potential results. During this process, a solid plan will be your best friend, and the checklists listed below will help you get started on the right foot.
- A list of interviewees for the project team. Your project manager and project sponsor will be the typical suspects here, but make sure to include wider team members such as designers, developers, and freelancers.
Remember: When conducting an interview, it is essential to prepare your questions ahead of time. It will contribute to the consistency and organization of your conversations.
- A project documentation checklist should be gathered. Look for documentation, including a business case, a statement of work, a project charter, a RACI matrix, a risk register, and a communication plan.
Remember to watch for any sector-specific documents, such as requirements papers in agile development teams.
- A to-do list of processes and policies to go over. To ensure delivery quality, most firms will have a standard way of doing things. Identify the necessary procedures and guidelines so you can ensure they are followed.
Remember that simply checking that a policy or process is ‘in place’ is insufficient; the audit must query whether these are suited for the purpose and, if not, propose where changes might be made.
Step Two: Conduct interviews with members of the project team.
Begin by speaking with the project team to learn about the project’s scope and current status. Because remote team members will have various perspectives, personalize the discourse to them and their requirements.
Remember that an audit can be stressful, so make the process as collaborative and open as possible. Promote the audit’s benefits to team members to help them buy into the process.
Avoid phrases like, “The audit aims to ensure that you are doing the right thing and to correct you if you aren’t.”
Choose a benefit-led statement instead: “The objective of this audit is to find areas where you may be struggling so that we can assist you” or “We want to help expose areas where we can improve the way we give value to our consumers.”
Step 3: Collect Project Documentation
With all project team members fully engaged, collaborating and acquiring the necessary project documents should be pretty straightforward.
Most of this material, particularly in remote teams, will be electronic and stored in team files or a project management software application.
Once acquired, the documents should be double-checked for accuracy, and they should be updated regularly to reflect project progress.
The project management process may not be administratively intensive, depending on the project methodology and company culture. Quality should always take precedence over quantity as long as the product is appropriate for its purpose.
Step Four: Examine the Process and Policies
The most critical portion of any audit — examining the processes and rules – can now begin.
A project’s procedures and policies are the underpinning governance that establishes the platform for success. It’s easy to assume these are all correct. Therefore it’s critical to go over them and test them to find any holes.
Speaking with team members may have already given you an idea of specific challenges, as many of their day-to-day issues may be the result of an incompatible approach. This is especially true after making the switch to remote working.
How Can You Identify Gaps in Your Remote Project Management Process?
Let’s look at some signs of project process gaps to help you find them:
- We are preparing for gaps. Timescales and documentation are two significant indicators that a project may lack a thorough planning procedure.
If a project’s timetables are constantly being extended, likely, it was not calculated and planned.
Creating project documentation, such as a timeline plan or statement of work, is an excellent approach to guarantee that deliberate effort is given to proper planning from the start.
- Gaps in task management The most crucial technique to identify a task management gap is to look at how the project progresses about timetables and whether critical dates or milestones are missed.
This is frequently handled by employing strict task management approaches. Software solutions (particularly lists or kanban boards) can often help by providing ownership and visibility of what has to be done.
- Gaps in workload management. Identifying a gap in workload management might be challenging at times. Most firms will keep a resource tracking log, and team members will usually express their displeasure if they are overworked.
You can also monitor the quality of the work being done. Team members hurrying tasks because they are overburdened may be a significant cause of additional work revision or software problems.
- Gaps in tools. As the working world becomes more remote, project management software tools are increasingly being used to keep teams linked. For optimal efficiency and minimal mistake, consider replacing manual operations with slicker online software tools.
Review the output quality and usability of processes where tools are currently used to evaluate where gaps may still exist. Finally, agencies should make life simpler. Thus updates should be considered if they are slow and arduous.
Step 5: Completed Report and Recommendations
After completing stages one through four, the final step is to compile everything into a final report. Findings should be assessed and fed into a pass/fail metric based on your audit criteria.
Crucially, changes proposals should be recognized and communicated, with the organization held accountable for managing implementation.
That concludes our examination of how to conduct a remote project management audit. You now understand what a project management audit is, why they are necessary, and how you can work your own to ensure a successful transition to remote working!
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