Continuous Assurance

"The cost of fixing a problem always exceeds the cost of preventing it."

Dominic Frost, CEO, PM-Partners

Continuous Assurance breaks the cycle of cost overruns and delivery failure by driving an ongoing program of improvements to the way you deliver.

Every delivery team runs into challenges at some point. Added to these challenges are today’s complex, changing and ambiguous work environments. When not addressed, and without a system of early warning, impending issues become serious and expensive and can be difficult to rectify.

PM-Partners' Continuous Assurance service is a proactive approach to identifying problems earlier in the delivery lifecycle and preventing them from reoccurring. Leveraging best practice assurance methods and more than 25 years industry experience, we connect a regular cycle of assurance outputs with ongoing delivery improvements. This approach drives down risk and costs and treats the root causes of poor delivery performance, increasing potential benefits over the long term.

Quickly and objectively identify issues with actionable feedback before a situation escalates.

Assurance framework
IT projects are notoriously difficult to manage. A survey published in HBR found that the average IT project overran its budget by 27%. Moreover, at least one in six IT projects turns into a ‘black swan’ with a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%.

What we offer

Continuous Assurance reduces risks and costs.

PM-Partners' Continuous Assurance drives continuous improvement and allows you to track how this improvement translates to outcomes. Unlike spot-checks or one-off engagements, Continuous Assurance creates a culture of improvement inside your organisation, and offers the potential to effectively address the capability gaps that contribute to poor delivery performance. 

Our approach

As external partners, we provide an ongoing and independent review of project, programme and agile delivery practices.This objective view helps to ensure that issues are surfaced and lessons learned are applied unimpeded by internal politics.

Rather than being seen as an audit or inspection, our approach is to drive improvements in collaboration with your delivery teams. The focus is on providing pragmatic and practical advice, updated regularly to ensure alignment with international best practice standards.

What is included

PM-Partners' Continuous Assurance service covers a package of assurance activities which flex to your portfolio requirements and priorities. 

Set-up for Success Review

detailed review before you kick-off, preventing delivery issues before they arise. 

A Set-Up for Success Review ensures all the components for delivery success are in place before you kick off.  From our long experience in delivery, a consistent learning from all our customers is better preparation equates to better results. 

By initiating a Set-up for Success Review, you can find gaps and opportunities in critical areas such as scope, business case, resourcing and governance.. The outcome provides an actionable report with prioritised recommendations to ensure the initiative kicks off with the greatest chance of success. 

Health Check

An objective, non-intrusive and independent review to identify actionable recommendations.

Early detection of delivery issues results in increased project success rates and return on investment. A Health Check provides an objective view of where the delivery is going wrong without any finger-pointing, or it can simply provide peace of mind for executives by adding rigour to high-risk initiatives.

By completing health checks, you can capture and resolve issues and non-compliances in a cost-effective way, which can be applied to future delivery. The outcome provides an actionable report with prioritised recommendations and trend analyses in cases where multiple reviews are undertaken.

Post Implementation Reviews

A Post Implementation Review (PIR) assesses delivery success after completion. This independent, scalable review will capture lessons learned and benefits, ensuring accelerated outcomes for future delivery efforts.

Typically completed at the end of the project, a PIR focuses on identifying strengths and challenges, and provides a list of actionable recommendations to assist subsequent initiatives.

Engaging independent consultants to conduct PIRs ensures the results, benefits, and lessons learned are candidly captured and the project's success is validated. This gives stakeholders the confidence that the intended objectives have been achieved.

Capability Assessments and Uplift

At the heart of any delivery is people Ensuring your people have the right capabilities, the right climate, and the right clarity is critical for both delivery success and their personal success. 

PM-Partners’ Capability Assessments provide a wealth of data and information on how your team are working individually and together across best -practice delivery areas such as Agile, Project Management, PMO, Business Analysis and Change Management. 

This information helps support Continuous Improvement by pin-pointing skills and capability gaps within the team, providing opportunities to improve delivery and engagement via upskilling, coaching and mentoring.

Improvement Recommendations and Roadmap

Continuous Assurance drives Continuous Improvement.  As part of the service, PM-Partners will drive a roadmap of delivery improvement in your organisation. 

This breaks down into: 

  • Lessons learned workshops, based on findings from Set-up for Success, Health Checks and Post Implementation Reviews – supported by Capability Assessment data and insights 
  • Improvement recommendations which can then be prioritised and agreed upon.  Examples could be process changes, skills up-lifts, reporting improvements, vendor engagement improvements, changes to templates. 
  • An Action Plan, which PM-Partners will help drive, to make improvements to delivery capabilities within your organisation 

From PM-Partners’ experience, this is the missing link in delivery improvement and success, by connecting assurance outputs to delivery improvement, organisations can drive down costs, reduce risk and improve employee engagement. 

Why Continuous Assurance?

Because it delivers continual improvement.

The main difference between Continuous Assurance and traditional assurance is the outcome – continual improvements. Many organisations invest in assurance (often after a failed project or overrun agile initiative), they will then have a list of recommendations to consider - some of which they action and some of which they don't. More typically, any improvement is short-term.

With Continuous Assurance, the improvements are driven continuously with an on-going roadmap and put into action as new projects or Agile initiatives are stood up.

Continuous Improvement Roadmap

Continuous Assurance turns a 'point-in-time' review into a commitment to driving continual improvements in the way that projects and products are delivered – driving down costs and risk while improving employee engagement.

Continuous Assurance is Continuous Improvement

At PM-Partners, we believe the missing link to reducing delivery overrun and risk, as well as minimising employee burnout is improving your delivery capability. Assurance gives you the insight and reasons for delivery challenges, so not acting on outputs is throwing organisational ‘IP’ and learnings away.

By taking the lessons learned, creating a set of improvement recommendations – then prioritising and actioning these steps, organisations can drive continuous improvement and make positive, long-term changes to the way they deliver and the outcomes they achieve.

Delivery success cannot be achieved with assurance alone. In fact, a well-thought-out plan relies on an effective setup for success check - it's essential. For this reason, we offer an optional add-on to our continuous assurance service, which you can learn more about here.

Setup for Success

Conducted in the early stages of a project, a Setup for Success check ensures all critical resourcing, planning, analysis and estimating aspects have been appropriately completed.

  • Is the right structure and delivery model in place?
  • Is the business case robust?
  • Is the project set up to deliver on stated objectives?
  • Have you filled your key roles?

How continuous assurance works

Financial benefits

Quantifiable results that show tangible return

Like any assurance service, it is easy to apply hindsight “we didn’t need the service because nothing went wrong”. Assurance by design, however, is implemented to reduce negative impacts before they occur, removing or reducing the risks that cause overrun and failure. With PM-Partners' approach we will ensure the budget holder who invested in the service can demonstrate the value of the investment.

In order to fund a business case, the ROI for the service is transparent, click here to see an example of what this might look like.

The fixed price annual contract provides assurance across the organisation's delivery portfolio to:

CASE STUDY

Sydney Trains Rail Operations Centre was a $276M programme for an integrated, state-of-the-art operations centre at Green Square in Sydney and an indispensable element of Sydney’s future transport strategy. PM-Partners was called in when the setup of the new Rail Operations Centre was challenged (including building, business, IT and processes).

PM-Partners' Continuous Assurance provides peace of mind throughout your delivery calendar, offering an objective lens and, most importantly, a process that drives continuous improvement. Contact us today to discuss your projects, programmes, portfolio, products and release train assurance.

Customer success

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