Prince2: Project Assurance
Effective Project Assurance Project assurance helps manage risk and improves delivery confidence.
Project assurance supports SROs and others responsible for successful delivery whilst providing funders and other stakeholders with the confidence that the project can deliver to:
- property developments
- policy initiatives
- business change schemes
Benefit from independent challenge and therefore, all organisations should have in place an effective framework to provide a suitable level of assurance for their portfolio of programmes and projects.
Project assurance provides organisation-wide visibility of the project portfolio and an agreed view of risk and is key to the learning and dissemination of lessons.
OGC Gateway™ Reviews are important for assuring major projects and programmes, but should be only one element within a comprehensive assurance framework.
OGC Gateway Reviews themselves often consider the findings of otherassurance activities and, in turn, often feed into further assurance activities.
What does OGC’s experience tell us about how to make project assurance effective?
Four things standout:
- good planning
- starting early
- sharing assurance outputs
- acting on recommendations
Quotations are from recent OGC Gateway™ Review and Starting Gate reports
Project assurances are there to do the following: Are the right people being involved in writing Product Descriptions?
Planning assurance: tools, time, people, place…
Regular assurance is important to the successful delivery of projects, providing an independent challenge, bringing in expertise external to the project and helping identify major risks.
Assurance can provide comfort that a project is on track to deliver or,conversely, identify remedial action required or even recommend that a project be halted or re-baselined.
All projects should have their own costed and resourced assurance plan and this needs to be proportionate with the complexity of and risks associated with the project.
A range of assurance is usually required, which may include internal assurance and other departmental processes, OGC Gateway and for some of the largest projects, Major Projects Review Group and NAO scrutiny. This requires the mapping of a project’s assurance needs throughout the project lifecycle and identifying the resources needed and the potential sources for providing them. Only by mapping out a single assurance plan can the project look for assurance synergies and avoid assurance overload.Effective project assurance requires senior management commitment to undertaking assurance activities and to acting on recommendations. Getting the right SRO, with seniority and experience commensurate with the priority, complexity and risks of the project, is key to having an effective assurance regime. Don’t underestimate the time required to make the most of assurance – from scheduling and arranging appropriate assurance events to ensuring that recommendations are acted on and lessons shared.“The Programme Team has sought to make full use of assurance mechanisms. In addition, there is an intention to engage an external SRO“critical friend”. The review team endorses this plan and supports the general ethos of assurance best practice being employed.”Lesson 1: All projects should have their own assurance plan.
Elements to remember
- Project Assurance has responsibility to provide advice on appropriate reviews.