The decision to spend time and money on additional management activity
such as PMA is a crucial one. Sometimes the response is that the
organization already has a financial audit process in place, and
that this should be sufficient. However, the financial audit concentrates
on the use and preservation of the organization's assets in accounting
terms, and so is principally historically oriented. Remember that
little can be done to change the past, other than to apportion blame,
so that the financial audit can be very intimidating. In contrast,
the project management appraisal is broader in scope, more forward
looking, supportive and success oriented.
The intent of the PMA should be to avoid unwanted and unnecessary
costs in the future. Since avoided costs do not show up in normal
accounting procedures, it is often difficult to justify this additional
expenditure until management knows that it is already in trouble!
Nevertheless, deliberate steps can be taken to ensure concentration
on the relevant issues of the investigation, while avoiding those
that are trivial.
The actual extent of an enquiry will depend on a number of factors
- The size and complexity of the project
- Whether or not previous enquiries have already been conducted
- The extent of the concern that management has with the project
- How long the project has been running, and how much longer it
is expected to take to complete.
As noted earlier, the difficulty with any kind of scrutiny, particularly
a formal audit, is that the process can be intimidating to those
responsible for running the project. This is particularly true if
the checkup is not carried out with the right motives, or is not
conducted professionally and with integrity. Such an enquiry may
then prove to be more disruptive than beneficial.
Thus, it is critical to the success of a PMA that it be structured
on the basis of serving to improve the probability of success of
the project, rather than simply finding fault and pointing the finger
at those responsible.