A project audit is one of the most important parts when executing a project. To review the project and to make sure it is effective and up to the quality criteria, you will need to make sure that you carry out the project audit carefully.
Often, we miss out on some of the most crucial things to keep in mind while doing a project audit. These are the 11 tips for a successful project audit. You can apply it to your next project audit or pass it on to the audit department.
1. Define the Goals
One of the most important things that you need to do is define your goals. It is important to have the outcome in your mind when you are doing an audit.
Your goals should be crystal clear and accurate. The vague goals will not take you anywhere as you don’t know what is the end thing that you are expecting.
When the project manager is clear about the goal, they can also guide their team in performing better. So, having clear goals is the first thing that you should keep in mind during an audit.
Communicate with the team and ask questions for better productivity. This will help you in eliminating the last-minute surprises and will make your work better.
2. The Scope of the Project
Once you have planned and define your goals, you need to define and understand the scope of the project.
Your goal as a project manager should be to achieve more by doing less. For that, you need to find a strategy. To find a strategy, you need to make sure that you know about the scope of the project.
While you are understanding the scope, you also need to see how some minor changes or the proposed changes will change the budget and how much more time it will take. This should be done before you plan on implementing it. This will give you a better idea about the deadline and project.
You should create proper documentation of all the goals here. It should include all the deliverables, functions, features, costs, and you should also keep a track of the budget. In this way, you can understand the scope of the project.
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Defining and understanding the scope of the project is just as important as doing the proper planning.
3. Documenting Activities
If your boss or client has assigned an audit of an ongoing project, you need to document all the activities.
During the project, many changes are made. You need to keep track of all the activities along with the audit.
What programs or activities are discontinued? What are the new changes made in the project? Did the structure change? What are the changes in the strategy? How will it affect the deadline and the budget? These are some of the questions that you need to ask during the audit.
If one of the team members has been changed or replaced, make sure you have noted all their past activities and work done by them. Also, make sure you have the proper planning for the new team member.
Make a note on all the activities. You also need to communicate with the team to stay updated with the process.
4. Create a Timeline
A timeline will help your team in knowing what they want to do. A project management timeline will help you in increasing productivity as well as the efficiency of the project.
The project timeline is nothing but the order of all the events in a chronological way. It will give the complete idea of the events to the team.
This will make the audit more effective and easier. There should be assigned tasks to all the members of them and have small deadlines to complete the task.
It is necessary to allow adequate time for the entire review and then modify the changes whenever necessary. Giving lesser time to the audit will only make things worse.
The next task is to assign responsibility based on the work they do. To tackle any difficult task, you should assign the most time-consuming tasks first.
Create proper documentation and note all the things in the timeline.
Lastly, the audit department should implement the same thing in the audit. When doing a project audit, there should be a clear timeline of what needs to be done. It should consist of the duration and the deadline.
The main goal here is to keep everyone informed about their role in the audit. The audit manager should know the exact role in every stage of the project.
The timeline should be made in such a way that all the series of the task are listed here along with the duration. Everything should be in brief. The audit team should know what needs to be done by just a glance. This is not a huge plan but a small summary of the task.
5. Communication is the key
We have told the same thing many times even in the above steps. One of the most important parts is communication.
It happens when the audit work is unclear or the auditor in unclear, you need to ask the questions whenever you have doubts or queries.
There should be regular meetings held which can decide what needs to be done and what you should do next. The audit department should be able to communicate with the team members to make things clear. Being a project manager, you should have a proper idea about what’s going on.
Whether it’s an audit or project management, the work will fail if there is no proper communication.
The next thing is availability. Just like we have an open-door policy at the CEO’s office, there should be an open-door policy between the audit team and the technical/development team.
Not to mention, you should not schedule any personal work during the fieldwork. Postponing some of the things will pause the work of the entire team. This will delay the entire project execution. Therefore, do not delay things.
6. Improving the Project
Your next job is to improve your project audit and management. Technology is always bringing new opportunities to us.
There are many new audit tools that you can try out to make things better. The same goes for project management.
So, instead of sticking with the same tools and the same way of working, you should go one step ahead and use technology is the best possible way.
Implement IT in project management despite your industry will help you a lot. Today, thousands of tools available will make the audit and management a lot better.
For instance, some tools will help you in communicating with the team, clients, and keeping a track of all the things. The good thing is that all the things are saved in the cloud. So, you can access it anywhere you want.
Therefore, you need to use the latest technology in your project audit. The main goal here is to improve your project management practice. It could be in any way but you should always progress.
7. Organize your Data
Now that your work is almost over, you need to organize all your data. Till now, we have created a lot of documents and there will a lot of notes.
Of course, while doing an audit, we would have made many rough notes that can help. Now, it is time to keep all things in proper order.
For a long-term project, this is a part which shouldn’t forget at any cost. You might not need this now but after a few months, you might want to recall something. For that, you will need one of the old notes you made.
An effective way to organize your audit data is by putting all the data category-wise. You can create different categories such as finance, development, marketing, and all the data similar. If you are auditing a long-term project, you should also organize it according to the date and time. So, whenever you need any data shortly, you can find it with ease.
There are also many tools available that can help you with the organizing part. The tools will help you in keeping all the things in order. So, you can also use one of those tools.
The next thing you can do is conduct a self-review. Everyone in the project management team should do a self-review before they submit their work.
The project manager should check all the paperwork, time, and schedule regularly. In the same way, the development should check the work before submitting it.
Lastly, the same thing applies to the audit team. Each of the team members should do the self-review of the task assigned to them before they submit.
Self-review is the best way to speed up the entire process. As the work is already verified by all the members, it will save time in the final audit. There will be lesser changes. This will make sure that the delivery time and the budget will stay intact.
Therefore, you need to ask all the team members to start doing self-review before they submit the final work.
9. Time, Budget, and Quality
The three things that you should never lose track are time, budget, and quality. You need to make sure that the project duration or final delivery time stays intact.
If there are new changes to be made, you need to make sure that the costs are least. This will help you in managing the budget.
Sometimes, due to the work-pressure, we do things in a hurry. This will make you compromise with the quality of the final delivery. You should never do that.
When doing a project audit, quality assurance is the primary thing that you should focus on. If you lose track of the quality, the entire project will be not performed.
Therefore, the three most important things that you should keep in mind are the time, budget, and the quality of the project. Your boss or client should be totally satisfied with the final delivery you have made. No matter how many changes you made or how many extra things you added. The final product should be in the standard quality.
10. Evaluating Results
So, you completed the audit and think the work is over?
Well, probably not. You need to evaluate the results before you make the final audit report. You need to check the results again to see if any changes can be made anywhere.
Make the proper improvements wherever needed. For that, you will first have to identify the improvement. Evaluating results is the best way to find out what improvement you can make in the project.
Evaluating consists of analyzing the complete data. All the documents that you maintain throughout your audit should be audited here. There were many stages where we suggested to keep a note or to create a document of the events. You need to check it to make sure the results are as expected.
The final report should be made after checking out all the documentation and evaluating results. You should also create a small summary of the evaluation of the final results.
If you are the project manager, you should keep a meeting regularly where you can discuss the final results. If it is a long-term project, a meeting would help you in making the next phase of the project more effective.
11. Final Audit Report
Your work is almost over. Now, it’s time to create the final report. Every company has a different format for the audit report. So, you will have to follow the guideline given by the project manager. Make sure you add the summary also. Don’t forget to miss out on important points in the report.
If you are creating it from scratch, it’s always a great idea to take one of the report samples from the internet to make sure you don’t miss anything. Use proper font style and font size in the audit report.
To conclude, these are some of the important tips to do a successful project audit. You need to make sure you follow all the 11 tips.
Along with this, you also need to focus on your health. The work-life balance should be made while you are working on a long-term project.
Also, if there are any stakeholders in your project, do not forget to keep them in the loop with your project.
These are some of the ways to successfully manage a project.