CONDUCTING PROJECT ASSESSMENTS | STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Project Assessment, Questions to Ask, Templates & Samples | Everything You Need
This guide provides you with a step-by-step overview, and everything you need to know for conducting a successful assessment of a project for project management or organizational change management.
First, Why is it Important to Conduct a Project Assessment?
When you initially join a project as a Change Manager, Program Manager or a Project Manager, your first priority will be to conduct a thorough review of the project. This needs to be done before (or in parallel) to conducting a stakeholder assessment, a change impact analysis and a change readiness assessment.
The goal of conducting a project analysis to understand the scope, scale, timeline and overall objectives of the project. This knowledge then allows you to better develop and implement the project management deliverables or the change management deliverables that are critical to support the project and make it successful.
Without doing a project assessment, you will always be one step behind, and will always be playing catch-up. This is not an ideal state for you if you are a Project Manager, Program Manager, or Change Manager that has been assigned a new or an existing project.
High-Level Process for Conducting a Project Assessment
Conducting an assessment of a project involves understanding and documenting the nature of the change that the project is looking to implement.
This involves assessing the project scope, scale, designs, program objectives, and factors driving the need for the company to implement the change now. It also includes assessing the program’s:
- Deliverables (design-build-test-deploy)
- Problem statements
- Statement of work (SoW)
- The expected solutions
- The risks of not changing now
The project assessment also includes understanding the project’s implementation governance (who’s who?).
How to Perform Your Project/Program Assessment
Follow the steps below to conduct your project assessment:
- Schedule meetings with the project sponsor(s), existing project/program managers, project team members, and any relevant stakeholder or SME that is supporting the project.
- Try to meet each person separately (1-to-1 meetings) versus via group meetings as this allows you to get a more objective and honest view. If not possible to do 1-to-1, then schedule group meetings with the relevant parties.
- The agenda for the meetings will be for them to help you understand the background, scale, and scope of the project.
- During the meetings, also ask them about any pain points, concerns or challenges they might be experiencing. In addition, ask them for a recommended list of other individuals they believe you should “meet with” as you ramp-up on the project.
- Schedule additional meetings and meet with the individuals on the recommended “meet with” list.
- When meeting with key project leads, make sure to request essential project documents (e.g., project charter, scope/objective documents, business cases, work breakdown structure (WBS), project schedule, RACI Matrix, and functional decomposition documents).
- Review all documents with a goal of answering the questions listed at the bottom of this page.
- Summarize and enter your findings into a project assessment spreadsheet, tool, or readout document. At a minimum, the tool or document you use for documenting your findings should include the problem statements, proposed solutions, business cases for the project, severity of the impacts, scale of the change, and key next steps.
You can click below to obtain AGS’s Program Assessment Toolkit with Templates and Samples. As an alternative, you can also create your own tool or templates from scratch, if needed.
When meeting with the primary sponsor(s), project managers, and other key stakeholders, the list of questions below will guide you in asking the pertinent questions needed to understand the type of change, the size of the change, what is changing, and other critical project scope questions.
Questions to Ask Project Resources and Stakeholders
- What type of change is this? Is it a process change? Systems change? Organizational culture change?
- What are the goals, objectives, and key aims of the project?
- What are the program risks? Is there an existing risk/issues log?
- Are there any lessons learned since the program was initiated?
- What are the known pain points, challenges, concerns?
- Who else should I speak to as I ramp up on this project?
- Are there any existing or potential resistance points?
- …. and many more
The information you gather as part of your Program Assessment will be used extensively in your awareness, communications, and engagement campaigns.
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