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Project assurance is a project evaluation technique where a neutral party reviews a project in progress to make sure it is on track to meet stated goals. This can occur periodically during project development, and the neutral party is usually a trained professional with experience in project management and the specific industry of interest. The process can involve a variety of activities and may take place at many levels, from a superficial overview to a deep audit.
Part of project assurance requires the review of documentation associated with the project to make sure it is on budget and on schedule. The reviewer also has an interest in whether the project is meeting the goals set out at the start. During project assurance, the neutral party will look over the development guidelines to see what the goal of the project is and to determine if the project will meet the stated goal. In software development, for example, this process requires evaluating software for signs that it meets the stated need and will satisfy the client.
The process also requires evaluation of the people working on the project. In project assurance, an examiner can interview the members of the development team to see if they are satisfied with their working environment and the quality of the project. The interviewer may assess the project's leadership to determine if another staff member would be a better fit, and can check for issues like burnout, frustration, and depression that might interfere with successful project completion.
An impartial assessment of a project in progress can provide valuable information. The reviewer does not have an interest in a specific outcome and can provide neutral, detailed discussions of various aspects of the project. This information can help the project team determine if it is on track. If it is not, the reviewer can provide advice and recommendations on how to change the working environment to stay on track with deadlines and budgets.
To provide project assurance, it is usually necessary to have training and experience in the field of project management. Colleges and universities offer coursework in this area, and project managers also develop skills by actively working on projects. A résumé detailing specific work experience is critical, and the employer may have some specific questions about how the project manager deals with problems, as this information can be useful for determining whether she would be a good person to conduct a project assurance review.