PRINCE2 projects are managed by stages, each subsequent stage only starting when the previous has been signed off by the project board, and it gives permission to proceed. To do this, the project board will conduct an end stage assessment. This reviews the current stage (the one that is closing), and uses its findings to improve the next stage plan. The project board may decide to involve project assurance to conduct some of the review.
In this article, you’ll learn about a typical end stage assessment meeting agenda.
Why is an end stage assessment needed?
The objective of an end stage assessment is to ensure that the project board is happy with the products delivered to date, and to agree that the next stage plan is both realistic and achievable.
Most end stage assessments are conducted in the form of a meeting. Opinions and concerns can be freely voiced, as a consensus for subsequent action is reached. The meeting’s purpose is not to provide new information, but to decide what to do next based upon the information already at hand. This means that all key documentation must be distributed to all relevant parties in a timely manner prior to the meeting.
Key documentation that supports end stage assessment
For the end stage assessment participants to be fully informed, the following PRINCE2 products will need to be created, updated, and distributed:
- Specialist products
- End stage report
- Lessons report
- Follow-on action recommendations
- Stage plan for the next stage
- Updated project initiation documentation
- Updated benefits review plan
The project board executive is responsible for approving all the above, though the corporate/programme management will also need to approve the updated benefits review plan.
The end stage assessment meeting
The agenda of an end stage assessment meeting should be reviewed and agreed by the project board. Information discussed at the meeting will be at both stage and project level, with the two most important documents being the end stage report and the next stage plan.
The end stage assessment meeting must include all those who will be providing resources in the next stage of the project, as they will need to confirm that resources will be available.
At the meeting, the project manager has a responsibility to highlight any required resources from internal or external suppliers. Information that the project manager will need to present includes:
- Milestone reporting
- Planned and actual delivery dates
- Project finances
- Risks from the risk log
- Quality statistics
- Investment appraisal
Progress of the project should be reported at stage and project level. There should be no surprises here, as the project board should have been receiving regular updates throughout the project lifecycle to date.
When presenting to the meeting, the project manager should explain any deviations from the plan, and highlight next-stage risks and responses. In this way, such responses can be agreed. This is a vital part of the end stage assessment.
The project manager should also present a review of quality statistics, and explain which products required reworking, why, and how.
The investment appraisal (from the updated business case) should explain any metrics that have changed during the current stage.
Lessons learned should be discussed, and this may lead to modification of strategies and processes, which should be documented and put in place in subsequent stage plans.
It is likely that there will be questions, opinions, and comments made about the next stage plan, which will have been distributed before the meeting. The project manager should be able to furnish satisfactory explanation. The next stage plan may need to be amended before it is cleared to proceed. If this is the case, a new meeting must be booked to agree the corrective actions proposed.
Whatever the outcome of the end stage assessment (continue to next stage, put on hold, or cancel the project), it will need to be communicated to corporate/programme management and other stakeholders in line with the communication management strategy document.
To discuss how PRINCE2 project management could help your organisation, contact your Project Manager.