The Project Health Scorecard Part 1: Schedule Health

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Schedule Health:

Your Schedule Health is Green if:

            • You have a schedule
            • It is actively managed
            • The forecast matches the published completion date

Your Schedule Health is Yellow if:

  • It is early in the project and you don’t have a schedule but are working towards one, or…
  • You have a schedule and the forecast has a greater “live date” than the current published date but corrective action is defined and probable
  • The schedule is not being actively managed.

Your Schedule Health is Red if:

  • You don’t have a schedule, or…
  • You have one but the published live date cannot be met.
  • Red can turn back to Green when a new schedule is approved and base-lined.

The Project Health Scorecard: Overview

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Some years ago, a company I worked for invested in improving our Project Management practices. They engaged with IBM professional services for 6 months to guide and mentor the in-house Project Managers. The first thing the IBM consultants did was establish a baseline that would be used to measure success at the end of the engagement. This baseline was “The Project Health Scorecard” (aka “PHS”). The PHS was measured at the beginning and end of the engagement as evidence of progress in our project management practices. I am a big fan of this concept and now use it on my project dashboard for all of my projects.

The PHS is an “early warning system” for potential project trouble. In that sense it is a child of Risk Management. Because of its condense and concise nature, it is appropriate for use in Project dashboards as well Project Portfolio dashboards, where you can see the health of all active projects at once. I typically update the PHS weekly in the regular project status meetings.

The PHS contains six key measures of project management best practices. Each measure is given a status value of “green”, “yellow” or “red”. I will present each of these measures along with the guidance for status values in a six part series as follows:

  • Part 1: Schedule
  • Part 2: Budget
  • Part 3: Scope
  • Part 4: Value
  • Part 5: Resources
  • Part 6: Risk

Risk Management Deeper Dive Part 7: Risk Monitoring

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

In this final part of “Risk Management Deeper Dive” I will briefly discuss “Risk Monitoring”. Monitoring your risks involves the following:

  • Conducting regular meetings (as outlined in the Project Management Plan) where the risks and risk plans are reviewed. I recommend every week or every other week depending on the levels of risk exposure.
  • The Risk Owners, the Project Sponsor(s) and the Project Manager(s), at a minimum, should be present at the meetings.
  • In the meetings you should review the risks in order of risk exposure, with the highest exposure risks addressed first. In case your meeting time is limited, this ensures the most important risks are discussed.
  • The risk probabilities and impacts are reviewed and changed as needed.
  • The risk triggers are reviewed to ensure reliable monitors are in place. Any triggers tied to a near-term upcoming date are reviewed in detail.
  • Risk mitigation plans are reviewed to confirm the plans are being executed.
  • Risk contingency plans are reviewed to verify the plans are still valid.
  • New risks are raised and discussed. You can continue to use the Risk Hierarchy chart to help identify new risks.

After each meeting, the updated risk plan should be posted to the project repository. Open high-exposure risks should be highlighted in the project status report.

Risk Management Deeper Dive Part 6: Risk Ownership

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

A Risk Owner must be assigned to each risk. The Risk Owner for each specific risk is responsible for identifying and executing all parts of the Risk Management Plan related to that risk. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to regularly review the risk with the Risk Owner and update the plan with new information. The Project Manager should also make suggestions and act as a “sounding board” to assist the Risk Owner.

Here are some questions to ask the Risk Owner:

  • Probability/Impact/Exposure – Have the mitigation plans reduced the probability and or impact? Have other conditions changed that have raised or lowered the probability and or impact?
  • Trigger – Has the Risk Owner assigned someone to monitor the risk trigger? Is the method of monitoring adequate? Will the risk be detected in time to react?
  • Mitigation Plans – Are these plans still adequate? Has the Risk Owner started execution of some or all of these plans? Are there additional plans that can be added?
  • Contingency Plans – Are these plans still adequate? Are there additional plans that can be added?

It is important that the Risk Owner understands their role. Some may assume the Project Manager is taking care of it for them. Make sure the roles and responsibilities are clear to all parties.