Project Assurance should be an integral part of any project governance. By carrying out a Project Audit, it enables the Sponsor and Stakeholders to have confidence that the project is in control as intended.
We prefer calling it MOT, yes, like the vehicle ones. To us, the whole purpose is not only to provide assurance that the project is rolling on smoothly, but also that any issues are identified and assessed and that recommendations are provided and actioned upon.
A Project MOT does not need to focus entirely on governance. We have undertaken many MOTs with particular focus on the commercial elements of the project (such as deep dive into the package procurement) or the design elements (such as whether the space is used most efficiently for commercialisation and assessing the NIA:GIA (Net Internal Area to Gross Internal Area) ratio.
Some basic principles of a Project MOT identified by the Association for Project Management are below:
- independent, and supported in this by the organisation board
- accountable within a governance and reporting system
- planned and coordinated as part of the organisation’s management system
- proportionate to risk potential and the assurance needs of stakeholders
- risk-based, against an independent risk evaluation
- able to allow the impact of identified weaknesses to be reported and addressed, by follow-up and escalation.
We have developed our process through which we assess projects and provide recommendations:
Stage 1: Data Collection
During this initial stage we will agree with you the selected projects to focus on within the time constraints. Following a collation of an initial set of project data (information and documents in relation to each selected project), we will chair pre-assessment meeting(s) with relevant stakeholders and interviews with key personnel to obtain the qualitative information about each project that is mostly missed in the reports.
It is also during this period that we will seek to spend time to understand your organisation, processes and procedures and engage your systems.
Stage 2: Evaluation
Following the collating of the information, we would analyse all data collected for each project. We would consider three main verticals of the project, namely commercial issues, design issues, and project management issues, all of which we will review through a commercial lens for the analysis, as we believe are the requirements.
- Commercial issues: e.g. procurement and contracting, packages analysis, market reply, valuations and payments
- Design issues: e.g. responsibility and deliverables, space commercialisation (NIA, sellable area analysis etc.)
- Project Management issues: e.g. governance, change control process, Project Execution Plan
Stage 3: Commonality
The issues analysis in Stage 2 will provide the information required to identify common factors across the selected projects causing cost overruns. Our experience dictates that these factors typically fall within the change management, design deliverables and constructability and package inflation, whether due to wrong tendering by the Project/Client Team or the mistake in tendering by the contractor being passed down.
We can carry this out on an individual project, or sum over several projects for an overview and lessons learnt workshop. We may also, depending on circumstances, recommend that a review of the project lifecycle be carried out that would provide insight into the financials of the project post-construction and into the Facilities Management / Estates running aspect.
The analysis at this stage will culminate in us making recommendations that would help the cost and commercial position across current and future projects.
Stage 4: Implementation and mitigation
Through the review of the internal processes, we will provide actionable recommendations that would mitigate cost and commercial negative effects and increase the benefits of the project(s).
Our recommendations are always provided in a SMART approach; they are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. Our expertise in running and managing multiple programmes will allow us to work with you to identify the tranches of implementation of these recommendations to align with the corporate and project timelines, committee and board meetings and reporting structure. An example of such a recommendation would be as follows:
Download EEDN Project MOT (Audit)