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1 Executive Project Review Prepared for: Prepared by:

2 Table of contents Introduction... 3 WHY an Executive Project Review?... 3 WHO is Involved?... 4 WHAT is an Executive Project Review?... 5 WHEN? - Schedule for the Reviews... 6 WHICH Projects? - Project Selection... 6 HOW? - Steps To Complete The Project Review Session:... 7 APPENDICES... 9 Appendix #1: Objectives of a Gate Review Appendix #2: Checklist of Gate Product Completion ReportsError! Bookmark not defined. Gate 0... Error! Bookmark not defined. Gate 1... Error! Bookmark not defined. Gate 2... Error! Bookmark not defined. Gate 3... Error! Bookmark not defined. Gate 4... Error! Bookmark not defined. Appendix #3: Project Review Focus Area Definition Integration Management Scope Management Time Management Cost Management Quality Management Human Resources Management Communications Management Risk Management Risk Assessment Variance Contract/Procurement Management Technology/Architecture

3 Introduction As a Quality focused organization, IT conducts monthly executive project reviews with the selected project management teams. This document describes the process and purpose of the reviews. A Monthly Executive Project Review presentation template, developed by the project management office, is described in a separate attached document. WHY an Executive Project Review? There are three main goals for an executive project review: 1. to ensure that all project dimensions are under control and adequately managed (and to ascertain what the Project Management Office (PMO) can do to assist the project teams with their projects, to clear roadblocks that may be in the way of successful project completion); 2. to review the Risk Profile for each project; 3. to offer the necessary executive support and guidance in resolving any outstanding issues. Assumptions This process is intended to offer a complement to the gate reviews. It is not meant to replicate the gate review session but rather to offer appropriate support and executive assistance to the project teams in their delivery of quality products and services, on time and within budget. The projects will be reviewed based on the IT methodologies and their associated deliverables. It is assumed that all projects are being managed in accordance with the IT methodology, and therefore: 1. objectives, scope and funding for the most recently completed Gate have been approved; 2. the Project Manager and the Functional Primes (business, development and operations) have been identified; 3. development of the Product Requirements (PR) deliverable is underway; 4. development of the Project Management Plan (PMP) is underway. An outline of the deliverables associated with the internal methodology has been attached to this document for ease of reference. Also within Appendix 1 is the information from the methodology relating to the objectives of the Gate Reviews. 3

4 WHO is Involved? Attendees Guests At a minimum, those that must be in attendance at the monthly executive project reviews are the following: 1. CIO: Chairperson 2. Business Support Services Leader 3. Delivery Unit Leader for project 4. Account Manager for project 5. Team Leader for project 6. Performance & Portfolio Management Team Leader Additional participants may include: 1. Project Manager 2. Other guests as deemed appropriate. 4

5 WHAT is an Executive Project Review? Focus Areas An executive project review is an opportunity to present, at a corporate venue, the status of a project and seek the relevant support and guidance when necessary. Outstanding issues, project risks and variances should be presented openly. The outcome of the review session will be a review report documenting the project issues, risks and variances and their associated action plan and control measures. In order to achieve the stated goals of the executive project review, the sessions will focus on the following 10 areas. More emphasis may be put on one or more of these areas, based on the current project status and business variables. 1. Integration Management: Integration issues, change management plan; 2. Scope Management: Project objectives, scope, boundaries, customer approvals; 3. Time Management: Deliverables, assumptions, constraints, dependencies, change management plan, timeline plan vs. actual; 4. Cost Management: Financial assessment (costs & benefits), plan budget vs. actual; 5. Quality Management: Quality plan, controls and issues; 6. Human Resources Management: staffing issues; 7. Communications Management: Plan, infrastructure (documentation process, control & distribution); 8. Risk Management: Assessment (issues, red flags), control & action plan; 9. Contract/Procurement Management: Procurement or contract issues; 10. Technology/Architecture: Project Doability, Process, ARC report. The focus areas are further defined in Appendix 3. 5

6 WHEN? - Schedule for the Reviews Formal dates will be established and communicated for the year to the Delivery Unit Business Leaders. The CIO, VP and the project manager for each of the projects selected for the review will be informed of their selection as soon as possible, within a reasonable time before the review. It is estimated that each review session will last for 1 to 2 hours. WHICH Projects? - Project Selection A minimum of one project per Business Unit will be examined at each of the monthly project review sessions. The selection criteria will be adjusted based on executive input. Each Business Unit shall have the opportunity to submit in advance a list of projects, which could be potential candidates for the upcoming review sessions. Based on need, Project Managers may also solicit their project to be reviewed in a project review session to obtain the required executive assistance and support between the gate review sessions. The project managers who wish to have one of their projects reviewed should contact the PMO for assistance. The final selection criteria will remain the prerogative of the CIO or the Customer. 6

7 HOW? - Steps To Complete The Project Review Session: 1.0. Prepare for the Project Review 1.1. Select project candidates: 1.2. Each month the project management office will review the list of projects submitted by the development unit. Selection criteria will be applied and projects meeting the criteria will be informed Print time sheet/financials documents for each project under review 1.4. Review these documents prior to the session to identify areas that need immediate action A letter of invitation to the executive project review will be prepared and issued to the project management team Arrange for conference facilities Prepare a generic review template for project managers Prepare meeting agenda and supporting documentation. 2.0 Communicate Plans A standard Project Review template is available on gmail and through Outlook. The project managers prior to the review session shall fill out this template. The focus areas outlined in this document are included in the templates. The presentation template is in PowerPoint format. Once completed, this presentation will summarize the information that will be reviewed at the executive project review session. 2.1 Inform project managers and their management of the selection. 2.2 Provide project managers with template for reviews. 7

8 3.0 Conduct and document the executive project review session. A scribe will be appointed to record the issues and action items during the review session. This will allow those in attendance to concentrate on the evaluation of the project. Each executive project review session should be between 1 to 2 hours in duration (4 to 5 projects will be scheduled for management review per monthly review sessions). These are not to be a comprehensive review of the whole project, rather will focus on the 10 areas previously mentioned. The review will be detailed enough, however, to reassure the senior management team that the projects are conforming to the internal methodology and that projects risks have been identified and addressed. 4.0 Findings 4.1 Document review findings The executive project review scribe will summarize the documentation associated with all the executive project reviews. 4.2 Package and distribute the findings to: Projects management team; Quality Group for Process Improvement CIO Key issues will be documented, reviewed with the Quality group and passed along to the VP s. The intent is to make this information available on general distribution so that other teams can benefit from the information and general direction. 4.3 Follow-up on findings as required Each of the action items from the executive project reviews will be assigned to a prime, along with a anticipated date for resolution. It will be the responsibility of the developers to coordinate and track the resolution of each of the items. Project teams must produce a corrective action plan; it is up to them to close the loop on the findings in their area. Positive completion to the developers will negate the necessity for conducting follow-up sessions with project teams. 8

9 APPENDICES 9

10 Appendix #1: Objectives of a Gate Review Extracted from the IT methodology Objectives 1. Ensure that customer requirements are addressed; 2. Ensure that all major issues are satisfactorily addressed; 3. Ensure that the necessary deliverables are satisfactorily completed; 4. Ensure that company objectives are met; 5. Ensure that the product development is part of the corporate vision, regional plans and strategic/tactical plans; 6. Ensure that all linkages and dependencies with other projects are clearly identified; 7. Ensure that all funding and resource requirements are identified and committed; 8. Ensure that the line organizations are committed to the project; 9. Determine whether to continue, recycle, defer or cancel the project Gate Review The following can constitute a Gate Review: 1. A formal meeting of Functional Primes, Project Manager, and customer; 2. A Gate Review package routed for approval to each of the Functional Primes and the customer by the Project Manager. Gate Review Report The Gate Review package is a brief presentation or summary of the outcome from addressing the IT methodology phase issues, along with appropriate recommendations for action. It is first identified during the Opportunity Assessment Phase. Detailed outputs from activities that address these issues are contained in the various IT methodology deliverables, and should be the source of the information presented. The package can be one or all of the following: 1. A formal document (report); 2. A presentation (containing highlights of the issues and deliverables); 3. An executive or high-level summary of the phase, for example, the Executive Summary from a phase-end report. 10

11 Gate Review Authorization Authorization at a Gate Review means that: 1. The work completed on the project to date, as documented by the deliverables and gate review packages is at the level of detail and quality expected; 2. The review team feel that the issues have been properly examined; 3. The recommendation of the project team to proceed, cancel, recycle or defer has been accepted; 4. The funding and the economics of the project have been examined, committed, and will be allocated according to the plan presented; 5. The project team could be authorized to proceed to the next phase. 11

12 Appendix #3: Project Review Focus Area Definition The following definitions provide a breakout of the focus areas of the executive project review: 1. Integration Management The executive project review has an ultimate goal of ensuring that the various elements of the project are properly coordinated and that the proper trade-offs among competing objectives and alternatives are chosen. This is known as project integration management. The executive project review shall include a review of the change management plan and process and identify any outstanding issues. The change management plan is a fundamental component of our project management methodology and needs to be assessed carefully as it is a measure of our flexibility and exposure to changing conditions, scope, boundaries, etc. A weak change management plan often is the source of project failures and surfaces through such symptoms as schedule variances and requirements mismatch. 2. Scope Management In order to fully understand all the dimensions of the project, one must ensure that the project objectives, scope and boundaries are well identified and defined. These elements constitute what is known as the Project Charter. In other words, this means that one must ensure that the project includes all the work and only the work required to reach successful completion. The executive project review will refer to the Project Charter in its assessment of the overall project status. The project review will also verify that all the customer approvals have been formally received and that approval process for the next steps is well defined. Usually customer approval is received at a Gate Review. The executive project review will review the Gate sign off reports to ensure that there is sufficient documentation and approval to ensure that IT does have approval to proceed with the project and that all signatories understand what they are authorizing. 3. Time Management Fundamentally, this review will assess the ability of the project to meet the planned view of the deliverables and the Gate dates as planned. The review should consider the Estimation Center documentation and reports as well as the project management plan (PMP). The IT methodology clearly identifies the standard deliverables and allows the individual project management team to add in other deliverables that are project specific. Definition of a Deliverable A deliverable is a physical or tangible event, document, product or process that is achieved through a methodical work process. Deliverables are essential elements 12

13 of every project phase which, when successfully developed and applied, will contribute to the overall success of the project. Deliverables must be identified as such in the Project Management Plan. Definition of a Milestone A milestone is a significant event in the project, usually completion of a major deliverable. This review will concentrate on projects that are in the Opportunity Assessment, Feasibility and Development phases of a project. A checklist of deliverables associated with these phases has been taken from the IT methodology. In order to assist the definition of the scope of a project certain areas of the business were taken as existing (assumptions) and documented along with guidelines/restrictions that must work within (constraints). These assumptions and constraints shall be included in the scope management review. The project scope would not be complete without looking at the dependencies. These are areas of the business where this project affects other projects/databases/areas or is impacted by other project/databases/areas. The purpose of the PMP is to document the objectives, assumptions, schedules, deliverables, activities, resources and tracking requirements necessary to successfully complete the project. The PMP covers the schedule of the whole project through to deployment. It integrates schedules, resources, plans, etc. from all other deliverables. If a project is made up of several sub-projects, each sub-project may have a separate PMP. This is to manage each individual sub-project on a day-to-day basis, while still providing the necessary information at the project level. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to prepare the PMP with the assistance of the Functional Primes. Other groups involved in the development or deployment should also be consulted. The executive project review will review the PMP documents, focusing in on risk assessment and change control. 4. Cost Management The economics issue examines the costs and benefits of the project. The review will ask the question does it make economic sense to proceed with this project, especially compared to other projects in the corporation? The major sub-issues are: Economic assessment Categories Benefit tracking What is the impact on the company s finances? Where will the effect be felt? How will the effect be measured? 13

14 Does the project team have effective control over the economic factors associated with the project to enable adjustments where necessary? The total project cost, at the outset and at each Gate, must be covered as well as how sizing was performed. This review shall consider both the planned and current view of the benefits and costs and should address the management of the variances. When applicable, this portion of the review will also verify that the procurement process is under control and follows the guidelines. 5. Quality Management Each project shall have a Quality Plan which describes the process by which the project team will assure quality and will control the quality of the project outcome. This plan shall include the control function, mechanisms and tools (control charts, checklists, etc.) as well as a quality improvement process. 6. Human Resources Management The executive project review will seek to understand that the project roles and responsibilities are well defined and that an appropriate accountability structure is in place to make effective use of all resources available for the project. The executive project review may also guide the project manager in addressing staffing and team composition (mix) issues. (Note: As the size of the Portfolio changes with the various projects within it the mix of people working on them will change. It is important to maintain the correct mixture of employees and contractors working within a portfolio at any one time. Within a project the mix of business analysts, developer, etc. is also fluctuating depending on the phase within the project. Managing this resource distribution is a key activity.) 7. Communications Management As part of the executive project review, the communications management will be evaluated. As described in the PMI Body of Knowledge, Communications Management includes the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimate disposition of project information. It provides the critical links among people and ideas, and information that are necessary for success. Everyone involved in the project must be prepared to send and receive communications in the project language and must understand how the communications they are involved in as individuals affect the project as a whole. The executive project review will also examine the time reporting and financial documentation. This documentation will be reviewed for each project. All areas will be assessed for compliance and applicability. It is from this document that the financial forecasts are derived, therefore, it is important to ensure the validity of the information. 14

15 8. Risk Management Risk Assessment Variance The risk associated with any project is a combination of numerous factors. There is the risk of market acceptance, the risk of being able to develop or modify a particular technology, the risk of a developer or vendor being technically and financially capable of providing the specified product, and the risk of deploying the product within the specified timeframe. Techniques such as Decision and Risk Analysis (DRA) are available to help quantify the risk and usually applied in the Opportunity Assessment Phase. The product selection process should reflect the market, technology and economic risks associated with various product options. The projects are chosen to provide for a balanced portfolio. That is to say that projects may be chosen with initially high market and technical risk, provided that the risks are well understood and such risks are offset by potentially high economic and strategic rewards. Risk needs to be managed throughout the development process, with the project team reducing market and technical risk simultaneously. The use of a well-documented methodology is a step towards overall risk reduction. This executive project review will spend time looking at the risks associated with each project. There will be time allocated to review the Risk Tracking Charts prepared prior to the executive project review session. The intent is to review the objectives, assumptions and constraints of the project to hear what is really being done to manage these risks. (N.B.: More to come on specific training for project teams on risk management best practices) A variance occurs when the project expenses are reassessed and projected to exceed allowed variance limits. There are two types of interrelated variances. Variances may occur in product requirements and in the project scheduling and cost. Both of these variances must be clearly identified as soon as they arise. Product requirement changes are documented in the Enhancement Management Plan deliverable, detailing the change, effects of the change on the project schedules and costs, and final disposition (deferred, included or rejected). Variances in project schedules and cost must also be identified and quantified as soon as possible because of the potential impact on the budget processes. If the variance is outside the approved range the Project Manager must immediately consult with the previous Gate Review Team and obtain approval for the revised requirements, costs and schedules. Note: The approved variance ranges and customer authorization levels are currently accessible within the IT intranet The Project Manager should advise the previous gate review participants and present the revised estimates. The intent of the executive project review is to ensure that variances in the project are monitored and appropriate action taken. 15

16 9. Contract/Procurement Management When applicable (i.e., when IT acquires goods and services from outside), this portion of the review will also verify that the procurement process is under control and follows the guidelines. 10. Technology/Architecture The executive project review will seek to understand that the project is doable and that it makes business sense to proceed with this project. Therefore, the technology and architecture will assess the viability of the product idea and concept in order to comply with the current/future platforms being used/considered by the customer. The technology architect must endorse these decisions. 16

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