5 Ways To Act Periodic Project Hygiene Checks in Business

Listen on the go!

Why are IT projects unsuccessful? What could be the reasons for failure? Project failures can be due to many reasons and may vary from several issues ranging from trivial to significant blockers during execution. These impact budgets, deadlines, goals, and not meeting the program’s success criteria or definition of done.

According to a PwC study of over 10,640 projects, only a tiny portion of companies – 2.5% to be exact – completed 100% of their assignments successfully.

A project hygiene check assesses a quantitative decision measure at any point during the project life cycle. This evaluation is a pivotal tool for decision-makers, providing immediate findings that guide planning and execution. Similar to how personal hygiene in food safety promotes long-lasting health, a hygiene check in business is equally necessary. Much like maintaining personal well-being, regular project hygiene checks offer opportunities for improvement, ensuring early detection of issues and optimization opportunities. This proactive approach significantly enhances the likelihood of project success by addressing concerns promptly and fostering continuous improvement.

Why Perform Hygiene Checks?

It’s known that correcting an issue costs many times more than preventing it. Conducting hygiene project checks earlier – shifting left, as they say – helps capture bugs during the early phases of the program and cost-effectively fix them.

So, how does the project team know if the project is healthy or sick? Here are five critical contributors that the project teams must evaluate very often to see the hygiene of the project. Perform the following hygiene project check and assess periodically to increase the chances of a successful project.

  1. Strategy and Implementation
  2. Risk Analysis
  3. Track Project Progress
  4. Resource Allocation
  5. Communication

Exploring 5 Effective Ways of Performing Hygiene Checks

  1. Strategy and Implementation

Ensure that the project team and stakeholders understand how the project contributes to the business strategy and that the priority/value is well understood and communicated. Teams associated with the project must clearly understand the program’s vision, mission, objective, and approach throughout the project life cycle.

  1. Risk analysis

It is critical to perform a risk analysis. The purpose is to identify and rate the likelihood of occurrence, the potential impacts, and actions to mitigate. Not performing risk analysis may lead to the following:

  • Delay in project delivery – Unforeseen risks can significantly slow down the projects. So, early identification of risks is critical to estimate accurately. Teams should spend enough time reviewing and identifying risks, and it is good to include a buffer for high-risk projects.
  • Cost overrun – Risks cost money. Budget overruns happen when identified risks and mitigation are not identified and budgeted. Overspends occur when risk identification is not made at all. The project team should include the cost of mitigation to keep the project cost on track.
  • Unhappy client experience – The customers would be more inclined to know the mitigation plan rather than the identified risks. The project team should involve clients/stakeholders while performing risk analysis so they know the steps taken to protect them to avoid reputational damage. Along with risks and mitigations, it would be good to provide suitable options or solutions for the clients to make decisions to meet the deadlines.
  1. Track project progress

Project teams must track, analyze, and report the progress to elevate transparency and accountability. Periodic project progress tracking against the plan helps detect problems early, which may avoid cost and time overruns. The systematic monitoring of the project allows teams to identify blockers ahead on the critical path activities. A simple and effective way to track progress is using dashboards and Gantt charts.

Involve the team – Every project team aims to deliver a successful project. With that in mind, it is essential to involve the team members in establishing the goals leading to greater responsibility within the team to meet them.

Create Good Goals – Goals must be clear, realistic, and measurable. Ask the following questions to yourself while establishing the goals.

  • Clear: Do we know exactly what we as a team are supposed to deliver to accomplish a particular goal
  • Realistic: Can we accomplish this goal within timelines and available resources?
  • Measurable: Do we have any quantifiable indicators to judge each goal?
  • Project Visibility – The best way to showcase the success or progress of the project is to make it visible to the project team and stakeholders. It motivates the team to see the tasks moving through the phases. Teams can leverage a Kanban board to promote this kind of visibility.

Usage of Reporting Tools – Using a project management tool to track progress is beneficial rather than attempting to calculate percentage completion. Multiple software tools will give accurate information in just a few clicks.

Establish Team connects – Schedule regular connects with your team throughout the project’s life. Check on the goals that you have created for your teams. Do not wait until the goal reaches its deadline; it will be too late to correct if something is built incorrectly. Taking a proactive approach instead of being reactive is beneficial.

  1. Resource Allocation

As a part of hygiene checks, it’s always crucial that the project team works towards assigning best-visible-best-fit instead of first-available-first-fit resources. This can happen through the ability to forecast requirements and develop a strategy to plan, allocate, and utilize the resources and competencies effectively.

Mapping resources into the defined plan is crucial as projects require specific expertise in specific areas of delivery and schedule, depending on the milestones being delivered or the given phase of the project. Project teams should mandate to review the resource plan very often during the project lifecycle.

  1. Communication

Transparency is the key to project success, and that comes through effective communication. It ensures the project team and stakeholders stay aligned with project goals and understands their expectations. It helps build trust and allows the team to work together from inception to closure of the project. Project management software tools clarify communications, keep the progress and impediments transparent, and act as a “single source of truth” for project teams and stakeholders. They help:

  • Understand the goals of the project.
  • Access and use approved project documents.
  • Find, execute, and update their tasks.
  • Track the overall progress of the project.
  • Log risks and issues.

Further Key Hygiene Evaluation Points for Projects

The IT industry has evolved and become more complex in the last decade, and so have our projects. With the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, the project teams may need to catch up on a few checks and balances, leading to project failures (in scope/budget/timeline). We can analyze and assess the project during the life cycle through proper hygiene checks. This helps us identify best practices and improve the overall project performance. The project team can easily see and communicate progress and success through periodic project hygiene checks are in place.

By implementing the above with our customers, we bring high visibility to the stakeholders on overall project progress through status reporting and project management tools. We help them overcome challenges by identifying risks and providing options that empower them to make timely decisions. We have established different communication channels and team connections to keep everyone abreast of the actual state of the project. Finally, we also ensure that the right resources are allocated to the project. All these hygiene check activities have helped us to deliver the best results.

Cigniti has a robust Process Asset Library with artifacts related to processes, checklists, guidelines, and templates that are used to enable efficient Project Hygiene Checks. These artifacts include Software Engineering Process – Agile and DevOps, Risk and Opportunity Management Process, Risk Management Checklist, Risk and Opportunity Management Guidelines, Agile Sprint Dashboard and Jira Dashboard, and Weekly, Daily, and Monthly Status Reports. Furthermore, in collaboration with PMO, we identified and deployed the right skilled resources to the project.

Need help? Talk to our Advisory and Transformation experts to learn more about the effective ways of periodic project hygiene checks for successful delivery.


  • Deepika Bandari

    Deepika Bandari is a Lead Consultant for the Advisory & Transformation Services (ATS) team at Cigniti Technologies. A certified Project Manager and Scrum Master with 13 years of IT experience. An accomplished and committed professional with a proven ability to supervise and lead high-performing teams with expertise in managing cloud migration projects and transforming service providers to follow agile methodologies.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *