A third party / independent project review is an impartial review, by a team of project practitioner experts, to assess a project's progress, degree of integration, and compliance with agreed-upon standards; recommend course corrections; point out improvement opportunities or significant threats; and recommend, if applicable, transition to a subsequent stage or phase.
For purposes of project management, i.e. ProjectLink’s focus, the review is about the quality and accuracy of project management planning, typically as expressed in Study Work / Execution Plans, and Project Execution Plans towards performing subsequent phases. This includes project management integration, with particular emphasis on the project’s scope, schedule, and capital expenditure (Capex) estimates, bearing in mind the impacts and demands posed by matters such as risk, stakeholder expectations, contracting requirements and obligations, etc.
In addition, ProjectLink also performs reviews on the operational cost (Opex) estimates, i.e. the cost estimates associated with operating the project’s product for life-of-asset.
Organizations that perform large capital projects, within strict approval frameworks, stand to benefit most from project reviews. It is important to understand that a project review is a means to an end; ultimately, the objective is assurance about the project’s likelihood of success, and the project review is an ideal method for gaging this.
Project reviews provide assurance to investors that due processes, including best practices, good governance, and sound logic are followed in the performing of the project, and that it is adequately set up for progression to a subsequent stage or phase. Because the focus is on project integration of the work performed within the project, as well as towards the eventual, successful operations post-project, clients benefit from the optimisation associated with the reviews. This includes considerations such as most appropriate courses of action, opportunities to exploit, and general project management efficiency enhancement.
The efficiency of project reviews depends heavily on accurate and timely communication between key stakeholders, to ensure commonality of expectations around what the project is intended to achieve, and how the review process will support it. Reviews therefore require periodic, formal interaction between stakeholders, typically called “setting-up-for-success” sessions. Team members responsible for components of the project will interact with reviewers during such sessions, present their deliverables, and indicate what improvements or alterations were made since the previous interaction.
The review team, in turn, keeps a thorough record of documents reviewed, risks and issues identified prior to and during interactions, as well as the impact of mitigations or enhancements implemented by the team members. This is repeated until such a time when a draft report is submitted to the project team, including a thorough audit trial of the rectifications and improvements, with specific emphasis on any gaps that may still remain. If at any time in the process a fatal flaw is identified, it is immediately brought to the attention of the relevant stakeholders. The team is then afforded the opportunity to respond to the draft report, and make a few final adjustments to the applicable project management deliverables, where necessary. Following this, a final report is submitted to the decision-makers, in which specific recommendations are made regarding continuation of the project.