what is project review in project management

Understanding Project Review in Management

A project review is an essential aspect of project management that involves evaluating the progress of a project at specific milestones. This evaluation provides a comprehensive understanding of the project’s current status and plays a crucial role in determining whether it is on track to meet its success criteria.

Project reviews are typically conducted at the end of project phases, such as initiation, planning, and execution. By conducting project reviews properly, organizations gain several advantages, including a 360-degree perspective of the project’s current status, informed decision-making, third-party opinions on project success, and better suggestions for addressing project problems.

Project reviews are particularly important for critical projects that must succeed. They provide senior executives with assurance that the project is progressing as planned and help identify any potential issues or risks that need to be addressed.

The outcome of a project review can include a current condition summary, issue list, risk analysis, and a comprehensive report with observations and recommended actions. Different types of project reviews, such as initial project review, completion review, special review for non-compliant follow-up, and stakeholder requested review, cater to specific needs and stages of the project.

In the upcoming sections, we will explore the different types of project reviews in detail and discuss best practices for conducting effective project reviews.

Types of Project Reviews

Project reviews play a crucial role in evaluating the progress and success of a project. Let’s explore the different types of project reviews:

  1. Initial Project Review:
    This review focuses on assessing whether the project meets the fundamental requirements for initiation. It covers project planning, initiation, system requirement analysis, and transition risk analysis.
  2. Completion Review:
    The completion review evaluates whether the project has successfully met all the defined requirements, sign-offs, and deliverables stated in the project scope. Additionally, it assesses the overall project management process and closure activities.
  3. Special Review (RS):
    A special review shares similarities with the completion review, but its emphasis is on identifying “at-risk” behaviors, conditions, or work products. It is conducted when a specific project phase requires a requested special review.
  4. Special Review: Non-Compliant Follow-Up:
    If a previous assessment categorizes the project as “at risk,” a non-compliant follow-up review is conducted within a month. The specific type of non-compliance review determines the subsequent special review, which investigates the project’s deliverables.
  5. Special Review: Stakeholder Requested:
    Project stakeholders, including the project manager, can initiate a stakeholder-requested review. This type of review addresses various issues such as changes in project managers, serious project concerns, or resolving non-compliant project issues. The special review follows the project review format, and the reviewed deliverables depend on the project’s stage.

Understanding the different types of project reviews allows for a comprehensive evaluation of project progress and ensures effective project management.

Best Practices for Project Reviews

To conduct effective project reviews, it is important to follow a structured process that ensures meaningful insights and actionable outcomes. By implementing the following best practices, project teams can maximize the value of their reviews and improve project outcomes:

1. Define the Purpose and Scope: Clearly articulate the objectives and scope of the project review. Identify the specific areas of focus and the questions that need to be addressed during the review process. This ensures that the review remains focused and provides relevant information.

2. Prepare the Agenda and Materials: Develop a well-structured agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed, the timeframes for each discussion, and the roles of the participants. In addition, provide participants with relevant materials and prompts to encourage thoughtful feedback and discussion.

3. Conduct the Review: During the review, facilitate focused discussions that delve into the key areas of the project. Present findings and information concisely, encourage constructive feedback from all participants, and document key points for future reference.

4. Follow Up on the Outcomes: After the review, send a summary to all participants, highlighting the key findings, action items, and responsibilities. Assign deadlines for action items and evaluate the effectiveness of the review in driving project improvement. This ensures that the outcomes of the review are acted upon and contribute to continuous project enhancement.

In addition to these best practices, utilizing tools and templates that support the planning, conducting, and follow-up of project reviews can significantly improve their efficiency and consistency. By reflecting on the lessons learned, celebrating achievements, and applying the learnings to future projects, organizations can continually enhance their project management skills and practices.

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