Reviewing the project outcomes after project completion is absolutely essential for evaluating its success. The project manager should ensure that what was expected has been delivered, and this is the thrust of conducting the project implementation review. However, two other important objectives of the project implementation review will be to:
- Evaluate how effective the project management practices have been
- Take learnings forward to subsequent projects
In this regard, it is imperative that the project manager include the risk management processes and outcomes in the project implementation review. Learnings and experience can then be carried forward to subsequent projects.
How to get the best from the project implementation (PIR) review
The PIR should address a number of questions about the project and its outcomes, and chief among these will be to identify if it delivered the benefits the client expects. Of course, cost, quality, and time will also be central questions that need to be answered. In order to ensure the PIR is conducted properly and provides real answers to all questions asked, ensure you do the following:
- Begin as soon after the project as possible, when memories are most acute
- Collect inputs from the entire team
- Conduct a gap analysis – evaluate delivery against the original objectives
- Review with the client after a suitable period when deliverables and benefits can be properly measured
- Evaluate how effective practices and procedures employed have been
- Record the practices and procedures that have aided project success and the effectiveness of project management
- Record he unknowns that contributed to risks and which may have been mitigated with the benefit of hindsight (more learnings)
In particular, the last three points on this list should address how effective the risk management plan has been, and provide useful insights and learnings to carry forward to all subsequent projects.
Getting specific about risk in the PIR
It is best to make the project implementation review a forward looking dissection of what has occurred. In this way, the project manager and project management team will be reviewing to learn and refine process, rather than simply ‘raking over old ground’.
Key lessons learned will be identified, and these can then be used in the planning process of future projects. With regard to the risk management side of projects management, revisit the risk management plan and risk register and seek to answer these specific questions:
- How effective was the risk management process applied in the project?
- Was the risk management process applied in accordance with the risk management plan?
- Were the risk criteria appropriate?
- How effective were the control measures applied in mitigating risks?
- Were residual risks identified and handed over to the end user through a commissioning process with appropriate funding to enable them to be mitigated?
- Could the risk management process be improved?
Throughout the last three articles, we hope that we have shown how critical risk management is the success of a project, and that it is imperative to consider and include risk management as a project management function in the before, during, and after.