I have done many project health assessments in my career. That is, I have been asked to come in and evaluate a troubled project to identify risks/gaps and recommend solutions to mitigate them. I have also been on many projects where auditors or consultants do the same. The approach is always the same, which is to ask the team members what the problems are and then organize them into themes.
This approach of assessing projects is not some secret and magical approach and therefore all of us should be able to step back on our own projects and view ourselves as an outside auditor. We all know the problems on our projects but, what I believe happens, is that we get too “comfortable” in our projects and familiar with these problems as just “par for the course.”
Therefore my advice is this – don’t get too comfortable. On a regular basis step back and consider the challenges of your project and document the recommendations as if you were that outside consulting company. How would you solve the problems? What would you tell senior management? And then look to implement these recommendations.
By constantly introspecting on your program you won’t tolerate things that you may have become used to. So start getting uncomfortable…