Health checks

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What is the value

Many projects do not go according to plan and may cause significant concern to management about the best approach to recover or rescue the situation. Health checks, using a set of project benchmarks, compare actual and expected project status in order to identify root causes and remedial actions needed to make the project safe.

It is appropriate to conduct one of the three types of health check:

  1. Type 1 checks whether the authority to proceed is soundly based on an accurate assessment of the state of the project;
  2. Type 2 checks whether the objectives and benefits case remain viable and desirable;
  3. Type 3 is more appropriate when it is suspected that the project is either in an irrecoverable position, or rapidly approaching one.

Why is it valid

CITI have developed benchmarks and metrics for a wide variety of project states, from 'healthy but off-track' to 'seriously moribund'. It uses these to evaluate projects and to recommend management actions to recover projects that are in flight.

What you will experience

Sponsors, key stakeholders and project managers are interviewed, often one-on-one or in small groups. Their perceptions of the project are calibrated against the business case, plans and status reports, and with perceived and actual project performance. All this information is analysed against benchmarks developed by CITI. Findings and recommendations are presented back clearly and succinctly to the management team.

The clarity and insights gained when carrying out this process give the governance group direction and confidence in their next steps and an understanding of the outcomes to be expected as a consequence of actions taken.

How you might start

When a member of the governance team, whether sponsor, key stakeholder or project manager becomes concerned about the status of the project, it is a good idea to bring in an independent review to identify the causes and establish an objective view of what, if anything, needs to be done. CITI send in a highly experienced project practitioner to agree the purpose, establish terms of reference, engage with project stakeholders, and initiate the health check.

Tools and techniques used

Mission model
Stakeholder engagement models
Business cases

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