Organisations and governments continue to be asked to implement transformations and change faster, better and for less. They are meeting this challenge by adopting more agile approaches to transform front of office services as well as their back-office operations. In doing so, they are building the necessary capability and capacity to respond effectively to future transformational agendas.
Organisational Business Owners (senior responsible owners, accountable officers or sponsors) play a critical role in implementing outcomes that enable organisations to deliver their reform agenda. In many cases this includes delivering agile digital services to improve the customer and/or citizen experience outcome.
To support Business Owners to achieve successful program and project outcomes, assurance review processes provide independent guidance for Business Owners on how to ensure their conventional or agile programs and projects are successful, by focusing on the issues that are most important.
Effective assurance reviews support Business Owners by:
- examining programs and/or projects at key decision points during conception, design, implementation and operation
- supporting (peer review) and looking forward, to consider how the program or project’s current and future plans will deliver the intended outcomes and benefits
- strengthening assurance practices, and building and sharing capability with programs and projects
- using highly skilled and experienced reviewers from the private and public sectors.
What are the key attributes of effective assurance reviews for conventional programs and projects and agile projects?
- Time limited reviews, conducted on an early and regular basis, at key decision points or milestones throughout the life of the program or project. Commonly referred to as ‘gates’ for projects, ‘stages or tranches’ for programs’ and agile assurance reviews (AARs) for agile projects.
- A point-in-time assessment of delivery confidence. For the best results, a review should be carried out shortly before a decision point or stage transition to provide sufficient time for the program or project to make the necessary improvements.
- Cultivating a benefits and outcome led approach throughout the program or project’s lifecycle.
What is the role of the Business Owner in effective assurance reviews?
The Business Owner is responsible for ensuring the full cooperation and support of those involved in the project and should encourage the project stakeholders to develop a productive relationship with the assurance review team. Proactive involvement of the Business Owner throughout the assurance review helps maximise the benefits for the program or project.
In preparing for the assurance review the Business Owner should plan for the time commitment necessary for themselves and the program or project to work effectively with the assurance review team, including:
- providing input on the skill requirements of the assurance review team
- briefing the assurance review team on key aspects of the program or project during the planning meeting
- assisting the assurance review team to gain access to key stakeholders and documentation
- receiving end of day briefings from the assurance review team during the onsite review
- ensuring appropriate steps are taken to address the assurance review report findings and recommendations
- providing feedback on the quality of the completed assurance review and the assurance review team.
The overarching responsibilities of Business Owners
The Business Owner is the owner of the business case and accountable for all aspects of governance. Responsibilities of the role include:
- defining and communicating the vision and business objectives in line with policy
- ensuring the business need is being addressed
- assuring ongoing viability, and if necessary, taking the decision to stop the program or project
- engaging key stakeholders
- providing the team with leadership, decisions and direction
- ensuring the delivered solution meets the needs of the business.
Australia’s leading assurance specialists
PM Solutions is an accredited best practice partner and Australia’s leading portfolio, program and project assurance specialists, who continue to deliver outstanding assurance services and reviews to an extensive array of governments, agencies and organisations, across a broad range of industries. Find out more and how we deliver outstanding assurance reviews at: https://pmsolutionsaustralia.com.au/assurance/assurance-services/