four yellow rubber ducks in a row
Project managementQuality Assurance

How to get through a project assurance audit in one piece

Psoda blog author avatar
17 May 2016

I’ve been (un)lucky enough to be involved in project assurance audits as both the auditor and auditee. It’s a situation that’s almost always stressful, but a few simple things can make the process go more smoothly for all concerned:

  1. It’s not personal

When you’re being audited it’s difficult not to take it personally. Just remember the auditor is there to check that the processes are working properly – they’re not there to judge you.

  1. Be prepared

It always makes things go more smoothly if the people involved in the audit are prepared. In the case of the project manager that means making sure you have easy access to all the project documentation and other associated paperwork.

  1. Say you don’t know

If you’re asked a question that you can’t answer or don’t have the paperwork requested, it’s OK to say you don’t know. A good auditor isn’t going to hold that against you. In fact, it can make the auditor relax as it shows that the project is actually being managed by a human.

  1. Be concise

An auditor’s trick to get you to reveal more than you want to is to ask a question and then stay silent. Make sure that you only answer the question you are asked and avoid unnecessary waffle.

  1. Be personable

There’s nothing worse than trying to interact with someone who is hostile, uncommunicative or rude. When faced with an auditor, treat them how you would like to be treated. After all they are just doing their job, as are you.
As much as you may wish to avoid an audit, they are a fact of life for project managers. So I hope these tips will help you sail through the experience with your senses intact.
And while Psoda can’t help you get on better with your auditor, our tools can certainly help you get all your ducks in a row so you start the audit off on the front foot.

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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