This article describes the importance of project audits and the role of the PMO in ensuring their success. PMO project audit governance takes ownership of organizational level audits in identifying the audit type, candidate projects, and audit report analysis.
What Is the PMO?
The PMO (Project Management Office) is a key agency in a software development organization that handles multiple projects concurrently. PMO project audit governance plays a vital role in ensuring that projects are executed successfully. The PMO performs project initiation, project closure activities and project execution monitoring in association with the SPM (Software Project Manager). Project audits are an excellent tool in ascertaining the project health and the PMO has a significant role in it.
Project audits verify records to ascertain the level of compliance by the SPM with organizational processes, including software development process, project management process, verification process, validation process, etc.
Audits are conducted at the project level and at the organizational level. Project level audits conducted are normally initiated by the SPM. At the organizational level, audits are conducted in a periodic manner covering multiple projects at a time. An organization may also order special audits of such projects, such as a project that was grandly successfully or one that came in way behind schedule.
The PMO is concerned with the organizational level audits. The organization conducts vertical audits, horizontal audits and investigative audits. Vertical audits focus on all aspects of the various projects that are in a state of execution. Horizontal audits focus on one aspect of a number of projects. Configuration management audits are an example of horizontal audits. Investigative audits go beyond the usual depth to get at the root causes for the special event that triggered the investigative audit.
Role of PMO in organizational audits
Organizations conduct vertical audits periodically, once in every two to three months. If the audit schedule is set to occur once in every three months, the PMO selects a minimum of 25 percent of the projects in execution so that every project will be subject to at least one audit in a year. Additional projects would be included for audit based on considerations including whether it is being completed before the next audit cycle, behind or ahead of schedule. The PMO analyzes the audit report of the cyclic audit to uncover projects that are tardy, that have received more than normal non-conformances, any common non-conformances, and opportunities for improving organizational processes. It will coordinate with concerned organizational entities to implement necessary corrective and preventive actions as well as implementing the feedback in the organizational process.
PMO identifies opportunities for conducting an organization-wide horizontal audit from the audit reports of periodic audits. Then, it plans and coordinates the horizontal audit; analyzes the audit report and implements the audit feedback in association with concerned organizational entities.
In consultation with senior management, an investigative audit to uncover the underlying reasons is organized. The underlying reasons are brought to the attention of the senior management and also assist the SPM to either correct the situation or receive a reward for exceptional performance.
The PMO forms the backbone of software project development organizations. PMO project audit governance is the minimally invasive tool or process utilized to ascertain project health and the level of compliance of the project teams with the organizational processes. The PMO takes ownership for organizational level audits for ensuring that they are planned and conducted. It carries out analysis of the audit reports to uncover opportunities for intervention and improvement. With an effective PMO, project audits produce effective results for the organization.