As a PMO project coach, I am often asked to review the time schedule of projects. Some are detailed schedules in MS Project while some are high level (capacity) planning in a spreadsheet. There are waterfallish types of projects, as well as projects using sprint planning, like (Scrum) or Kanban.
Even though few projects are alike, I try to be objective by reviewing the following items:
- Exhaustive WBS and scope: Is there a big chance on surprises or big changes?
- How reliable are the estimates?
- Resource availability checked.
- Any external dependencies?
- Have other risks and risk mitigation plans been taken into account?
The overall aim of course is to improve predictability and coach junior or new PMs with best practices. But all this doesn't come cheap, and I need to be able to scale this process (although the number of projects is growing, current staffing of the PMO needs to remain constant). So short of rebuilding the schedules myself,
- What would be a standardized, minimal and methodical check for a schedule review?
- Would it be possible to assign a score or metric, some kind of quality evaluation of the schedule that could serve as an early warning sign?
- And finally, is there an easier way to compare the original plan against what actually happened (analysing the five bullets above, taking into account the impact of changes and management decisions), without getting lost in the finer details of project life but good enough to be used as Lessons Learned?
Hmm, now that I have written out this question, I am even more skeptical :-).