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Project audit checklist

This particular checklist makes it clear what you are responsible for as well as making it clear those areas that are not your responsibility.

What you are responsible for in your project audit

These are the main areas of responsibility for project audit.  The exact auditing requirements will be established at the start of the project and may be largely influenced by an organization approach to project governance and audit.

Helping the project to succeed

This may sound odd but it is important.  Be balanced, helpful and constructive.  Don’t need to pick on trivia and make the life of the project manager more difficult than it needs to be

Business case

Check that it is sensible, not overstated, accurate and clear

Appointments

Ensure that they are suitable for both in terms of the competence of the people appointed, and that those people have sufficient availability to carry out their responsibilities.

Completeness

Make sure that documents such as the project charter and project management plan are complete, as consistent with the needs of the project.

Plans

Checked the plans are realistic, achievable and accurate.  For example, check that there is sufficient contingency and that work has not been scheduled by mistake over public holiday periods.

Standards

Ensure that any required standards are being met and in an appropriate way.  This means looking out for where projects are exceeding requirements and incurring unnecessary overheads as well as where they may be failing to meet necessary parts of the standards.

Procedures

Make sure the procedures within the project are functioning properly.  So, when someone in the project notes is a new risk and sends in a project memo, is it being correctly picked up and processed?

Actions

Ensure that intended actions are actually being taken.  So if a regular monthly action has been planned to avoid the risk, is that actually being done?

Quality

This point is related to the last one not worth spelling out separately.  If the quality action such as a test is supposed to have been done, has it been done, and has it been done by the right people?

If you are doing your job correctly in project audit, the project manager should find you a real help unwelcome you warmly when you visit.

You should be like a helpful colleague and a second pair of eyes, in that you find errors and omissions.

That does not detract for one moment from your independence and if the project manager is blind citing any aspect then you will need to report it.  And

What you are not responsible for in a project audit

These do not cover everything outside your role in project audit, but just things that aren’t confused sometimes or are wrong.

Appointments

You should not be suggesting people for project roles, you cannot audit to evaluate if an appointment is appropriate if you suggested that a person in the first place.  If your familiar with a leading project management method and think that I’m criticising it in making this point, you’re absolutely right: I am.

Project work

You must not be involved in any way in the project work, even if you consider that to be a different role.  You cannot be independent if you have been involved in doing the work.

Corrections

You should not be directly involved in correcting things that you found to be wrong.  If you do, you lose your independence in any later checked to ensure that corrections have been properly handled.

Finding something wrong

Do not think that you have a responsibility to find something wrong in the project to justify your existence.

If there’s nothing wrong then say so in your audit report; you have still done your job.

Also, keep a sense of proportion.  Be very careful not to exaggerate minor things and report them as major things so that it makes the audit see more worthwhile.

Running the project

The project steering group is responsible for the project.  You are not there to instruct the project steering group members on how to do their jobs any more than a financial audit is instruct a financial director on how to do or is.

Neither should you give instructions to the project manager; remember that her boss is the project steering group, not you.

You can report problems or errors that you discover in your audit checks, but it is for the management of the project to take any necessary action.