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Project Health Assessment: How to Avoid Project Failure

75% of IT executives believe their projects are “doomed from the start.” (Geneca)

IT projects of all shapes and sizes fail for a myriad of reasons, all of which revolve around the fact that projects are increasingly complex and, therefore, actually prone to failure.

Before a project reaches the point of no return (or faces a loss of time, money, and resources), implementing a Project Health Assessment can help protect the investment.

Defining Project Health
Project health is the summation of the state of complexities, and their interactions, faced in any project or endeavor that impacts the project’s success.

Consider your own personal health. We understand the importance of regular health checkups and the role they play in our overall long-term health, which then propagates through the rest of our lives. Similarly, it’s important to review the health of IT projects your organization is undertaking, address areas of sickness, and increase healthy behaviors, for the sake of the project and the organization.

Like a personal checkup, a Project Health Assessment is ideally a proactive and preventative measure to help pinpoint issues, focus the priority of limited resources, create efficiencies, and ensure the implementation of best practices.

A Project Health Assessment reviews a multitude of important aspects, including:

  • Project Planning and Management
  • Risk Planning and Management
  • Communication Planning and Management
  • Resource Planning and Management
  • Requirements Traceability
  • Scope Definition and Change Management
  • Compliance
  • Governance and Leadership
  • Process Creation and Adherence
  • Financial Management
  • Execution and Delivery
  • Team Dynamics
  • Adoptability of Solution


The Benefits of a Project Health Assessment
Every project runs into the unexpected. Understanding what these issues are before they become obstacles will ultimately lead to the success of your project. The earlier an issue can be addressed in the lifecycle, the less time, energy, and cost it requires to be resolved.

A healthy project establishes confidence in leadership and the team. It keeps morale high and affords opportunities to absorb or recover quickly from unexpected issues that inevitably arise.

The Best Time to Evaluate Project Health
While it’s helpful to perform a Project Health Assessment early in a project and monitor the outcome on an ongoing basis, it is never too late; value can be gleaned at any stage.

Project Health Assessments can be completed as a singular point-in-time evaluation of the state of a project or periodically throughout the lifecycle of a project to provide guidance as to if specific areas of project health are improving, declining, or remaining constant. If a periodic evaluation is preferred, evaluations may align with major project phases or simply as the project requires it.

Conclusion
Projects, and specifically their underlying missions, are an investment worth protecting with intentionality. A Project Health Assessment can help you identify the attention your project needs to support successful outcomes.

If you have a project that would benefit from a Project Health Assessment, contact our team.


About the Author

Scott Colip is the IV&V Practice Director for KSM Consulting. Scott uses his diverse skill set to help clients understand technical requirements and manage the business constraints of their technology projects. Connect with him on LinkedIn.