Project assurance is one of the least appreciated parts of project management. Too often it is seen as a police-like activity, rather than something designed to improve the project.
In one of my PMO roles a few years ago, I established a quality management framework that allowed regular assessments of projects without impacting on the project managers. Although it worked well from a PMO perspective, the project managers felt excluded from the process and from the results.
As a result, I decided to ask the project managers to complete the same assessment form that I did and we then sat down and discussed the results. This led to a number of benefits I hadn’t expected, such as:
- I found that by being completely transparent with the project managers, they were more open to accepting the results and were more willing to engage with the deeper health checks
- It improved the overall relationship between the PMO and project managers – I think because they saw us as more approachable and willing to listen
- The PMO was approached on more than one occasion to help get a project or part of a project back on track before it became obvious that there was a problem, because we were trusted
- As the project managers were speaking positively about their interactions with us, the wider organisation took a greater, and more positive, interest in the wider programme of work and we had more positive stakeholder engagement
So to answer my question in the title, yes I do think project managers should be responsible for doing some form of quality assurance on their projects.