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Home > Consulting > Organizational Maturity > Project Audit and Recovery

Project Audit and Recovery

A recent study carried out by the Standish CHAOS Group indicates that the project failure rate decreased from 2000 to 2009 yet remains high (84% in 2000 vs. 68% in 2009). A total of 44% of all projects are completed with cost or budget overruns, while 24% are cancelled at some time during their lifecycle.
It is therefore a real possibility that organizations’ portfolios contain too many high-risk projects. Implementing an audit and adjustment process is one way to reduce this risk.
In general, project adjustments are carried out with a high level of success. Making adjustments to a project includes several measures such as redefining the scope, making changes to the project management team, adding resources or implementing good project management practices. These measures can all lead to the successful completion of the project.


  • Why is this project out of control?
  • What must be done to bring the project back on track?
  • How can risky projects be detected?
  • How can a non-recoverable project be recognized?

Best practices

Projects fail because:

  • They do not achieve their objectives or deliver in terms of scope
  • They do not meet stakeholders’ needs
  • Their benefits do not meet expectations
  • They are inadequately managed or major conflicts divide project teams

Solutions to bring a project back on track When the company determines that a project is off track, i.e., that one of the above causes has been identified, there are two ways it can bring it back on track :

  • Internally, but this is rarely the best solution because it lacks objectivity and may lead to delicate situations with project members
  • With external assistance, which supposes that the organization’s management will need to be supported and that it is not too late to recover the project without incurring additional costs.

How to recognize a non-recoverable project?

  • It will be impossible to achieve the expected benefits
  • The project sponsor is not longer there and will not be replaced
  • The project’s context has changed (appropriateness with corporate objectives and business needs)
  • The project’s technical perimeter has changed significantly
  • There are major issues with the contractual agreement

Key project recovery steps

  • Analysis of the situation (assessment)
  • Adjustments to the project (recovery)

Our solutions

PMGS can assist you with managing your high-risk projects by enabling you to improve the quality of the results they produce.

PMGS takes action with these clients by carrying out an audit of projects at risk and making the necessary adjustments as well as by implementing an internal project identification, analysis and recovery process.

PMGS suggests using the following project audit and recovery process :

Determine the “assessment” project charter
The project audit process is managed as a project, and the project charter is used to determine the process in accordance with the sponsor’s expectations. Furthermore, the charter will delegate authority to the audit project manager, who is usually someone external to the project.

Develop the audit plan
At this stage, PMGS will carry out an audit plan that is realistic and conducive to achieving project charter objectives. Furthermore, the plan must ensure :

  • Accurate analysis results
  • The quickest assessment possible
  • A minimal impact on the project team. Once completed, the plan will include :
  • Assessment objectives
  • Detailed activity planning (interviews, document analyses)
  • The list of project deliverables.

Carry out the audit
At this stage, PMGS carries out the previously developed plan in accordance with three key objectives :

  • Determine the project’s actual status
  • Identify major problems, opportunities and issues that prevent the project from going ahead
  • Analyze the necessary resources to ensure the success of the recovery effort. Once all results have been documented and validated, they are presented to the main stakeholders who will be called upon to determine if the project requires adjustments.

Develop the recovery plan
If a decision is made to recover the project, PMGS can help you develop your recovery plan. Whether in execution or coaching mode, our consultants have the necessary expertise and hands-on experience to help you produce a plan that :

  • Is aligned on the project’s purpose and goals (whether initial or redefined)
  • Will review the project’s scope, budget and timeline
  • Proposes a fool-proof solution as there will not be any second chance
  • Clearly establishes the actions and processes that need to be implemented to ensure the successful completion of the project
  • Maintains project team spirits

Carry out the recovery plan
More than any other project, the recovery plan must be perfect and depends on good project management practices to correct the shortcomings identified during the audit. It is subject to particular attention, and the project team must be ready to defend every action it takes or decision it makes as part of the project. PMGS can help you pilot the recovery plan by coaching your project team members to implement the recovery project. PMGS has you benefit from its network of project management professionals and selects consultants who possess the professional, leadership and interpersonal skills that your recovery project’s specific context commands.