The three questions to ask in a project review

Welcome to the new website! Replacing an old site with a new one is like any project. You need to know why you want to change it, what the current site does well and where things need to improve. You need a clear vision and goal followed by a plan. Then you need to do it followed by a review. So for the first blog of the new site it seemed like a good idea to use this as a sort of mini case study for doing an effective review, but without all the detail.

A good review covers three main areas:

  1. To what degree did we achieve the goals of the project?
  2. What did we learn?
  3. What else do we still need to do?

To what degree does this new site achieve the goals set out?

We wanted a site that would form part of our offering to a business community in organisations of many different shapes and sizes, who were busy improving things now, or planning on improving things in the future. We wanted a site that enabled us to connect to people who like us understood that if you want to improve something you need great processes, well trained and capable people and a culture that supports the behaviour you need.

In order to do this we came up with a set of things the site needed including access to free resources such as blogs and articles, a way to access low cost online courses, the functionality for people to book onto open ProPeC® training programmes and information about ProPeC® operational excellence consultancy services. The good news is that those things are in this site and as time goes by more resources, more training, more discussion, more videos, etc will become available.

Ultimately though the success of the site is not about the design itself but about how useful it is, how many people access the resources and how much people involved in change come and use it. That will take time to measure and so we will of course have a set of metrics and key performance indicators that we will be using to get feedback on how useful our visitors find it and to what degree it fulfils its role. But that is the subject of another blog!

What did we learn?

More confirmation than learning, the first stand out observation is to get good people to work on the project and we were very happy with the team we employed to design the site, not just the competence but the fit. When partnering on a project it’s important not just to think about the price or even the skills of the service provider (important though they are) but also the cultural fit - do they have the same outlook in key areas? Do they share a similar way of working? Can you communicate effectively?

Another learning point that is relevant to so many projects is that things take longer than you expect especially when working in domains where you as the project manager have limited experience and this was certainly the case with this project. We tend to underestimate the time things will take and one of the big reasons for this is that we don’t accurately assess how busy we are going to be with other things.

This brings us to the final question.

What else do we still need to do?

The answer is of course, lots! Over the next few weeks and months you will see a steady flow of new resources on identifying and delivering process improvement projects, training and developing people to possess the skills and knowledge needed to deliver business objectives and lots of stuff about the question of organisational culture and individual behaviour.

There will be guest blogs from industry experts, templates, memory joggers, PDF guides, short videos, new training courses and news about some exciting upcoming events working with our partners throughout the UK. Access all this valuable content - just sign up to the newsletter and keep in touch.

Are you carrying out a project review?

If you are about to embark on a project or are doing a review download a free ProPeC® Project Review Template. This will help you ask the right questions in order to understand the three areas above. It also makes sure you review not just the process changes you have made but also addresses the work you have done on the knowledge and skill of the team as well as behaviour and culture.