project health checks

Why undertake Project Health Checks?

Use Prince2’s Project Health Check Question List to undertake a quality Health Check.  It doesn’t discuss the right time to undertake the check though.

In my opinion the right time to undertake a Project Health Check will depend on the size of your project. Another key factor will be the maturity level of your organisations project management processes.

Project Management Maturity and Health Checks

If there is no standard organisation wide project methodology, or no set methodology that everyone is following, then it is very useful to undertake health checks more frequently.  And by more frequently, I would suggest as often as monthly, or bi-monthly. This is all dependent on the size of the project you are managing.

You aren’t going to do a health check monthly if you are running a small project with an entire end to end time frame of only six weeks.  That just isn’t feasible. If, on the other hand, you are working on a very complex project that is going to take 12 months to complete, you might want to consider the value of a bi-monthly, or quarterly check.  Why?  Knowing that the right quality assurance and governance checks are in place is valuable. They help you determine any slippage areas through incomplete process.  The quality checks allow you to monitor progress with someone else supporting you, in case anything falls through the cracks.

The Value of doing a Project Health Check

Don’t fear the health check process. It will show you the key project artefacts that may not have been completed.  It helps show up gaps in the project documentation, that is imperative to quality tracking and monitoring.

I have made an assumption that quality project reporting is occurring on regular basis on your project already as this, in itself, is a check.

By preparing your reporting you will see if things are the way they should be. Things such as –

  • The status of your risks. Are they being correctly monitored?
  • How are your issues being monitored and controlled?
  • Is your project scope being properly managed?

Difficulty answering any of these standard questions shows that your project is not in good health.

If regular reporting is not occurring, then it is very important that health checks are run more frequently as it will provide the basis for the necessary process changes to take place.


Project Health Checks are important

Project Health Checks are an important part of good project governance and monitoring and are therefore very important in the whole project management cycle.

If you are doing the key things that need to be done to track and monitor your project, then you should have no hesitation in agreeing to project health checks being run. Even more so, if they are being undertaken by PMO staff.  The only time you will fear health checks, is when you aren’t managing your project properly.

Take the findings from a Health Check seriously

Take the findings of a health check seriously as they are valuable. If the Health Check shows you that a key task isn’t being completed, then it’s valuable for you to know.  Project Health Checks aren’t personal.  They are all about ensuring that everything that needs to be in place to deliver a successful project, is in place.

The bottom line is that your reputation as a PM who can deliver is on the line.  It’s not about you the person, it’s more about your ability to successfully manage the delivery of a project.

Work WITH the PMO team, not against them.  They are there to support you.