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The importance of a thorough project health check

When it comes to project management, Agile methods have revolutionised how we work. However, even the most flexible of approaches can benefit from a regular project health check. A fixed period review can serve a purpose but they can be too rigid which means that critical developments can be missed between milestones. This is why project health checks are important whatever the type of project you are running. They offer a proactive and dynamic way in which a project manager can make sure their project is okay.

What is a project health check?

Let’s take a brief look at what a project health check actually is. A project health check is flexible and lightweight, unlike the more scheduled formality of milestone reviews, and it should be conducted during the life of the project at strategic points. A project health check assesses key areas which are important to the particular project. For instance, a digital marketing project may benefit from an SEO heath check to ensure key performance indicators are improving month-on-month. Or a construction project may benefit from a financial health check to ensure budget is still within constraints.. It can also offer important insights before some of the issues you might encounter can get out of hand.

Health checks can be a game-changer

There are a number of reasons why embracing health checks for your project can be so important:

Early detection means early correction

When you wait for milestones, this can mean leaving problems for longer. A health check should uncover any red flags earlier and allow you to address them promptly in a cost-effective manner.

Make adjustments that are targeted

Unlike formal reviews, a health check will focus on more specific areas of concern within the project as identified by your project team. This allows you to create focussed conversations and then work out more targeted solutions, whilst avoiding any tangents that are not productive.

Continuous improvement

Ensuring that you undertake regular health checks will help to create a more transparent culture where there is effective communication. This will also allow your team to become more accustomed to identifying and addressing challenges in a proactive manner. Furthermore, it will promote the idea of continuous improvements being made at every step of the project journey.

Increased adaptability

Agile loves adaptation, and health checks offer a framework that is more flexible regardless of whether you are adapting to market trends, stakeholder feedback or changing circumstances.

Enhance team morale

When you address concerns early on you can openly foster an environment that is proactive and supportive. This means that your team members will feel heard and thus empowered to tackle any challenges as a cohesive team, which will boost both overall morale and also engagement.

The project health check should not, however, be considered to be a replacement for formal review. It should instead be something to compliment it. Milestone reviews offer checkpoints that are more formal while a health check is adaptable and agile as a project management approach. A project that is thriving and evolving is almost always a healthy one.

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