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Check List to Take Over An Existing Project
By Atul Gaur

A project manager is not always lucky enough to get involved in a project right from its inception. For various reasons a project manager may have to get involved in a project mid-way or at times even during the last phase of the project. The ownership of the project that is being shifted to a new project manager, may either be a well-managed project or could be the most troubled project being executed.

Projects have a detailed history behind them and with the limited time that is available during handing-taking over of a project it may not be feasible for the new project manager to check and understand each and every detail of the project. Sometimes the unshared information happens to be the most critical aspect of the project and can put the new project manager in very difficult situations.

Experienced Project Managers know exactly what to ask for during these handing/taking over meetings, but there are occasions when both project managers do not have sufficient time to transfer every bit of the knowledge acquired over a period of time. During such situations important information is likely to be missed out.

So, what should a project manager do if s/he has to take over a project mid-way?

With my experience of taking over on-going projects, I have worked out a detailed check list. However, all the points may not be applicable to all; hence I have worked out an abridged version of my checklist. I have mainly handled engineering projects so my check list is directed to engineering projects however, with little modification it can be used for other projects as well.

Contract Management:

  • A clear and well defined tender specifications duly signed by buyer and seller clearly mentioning detailed scope of work.
  • Letter of Acceptance of the Project Order enlisting deviations in the contract if any.

  • List of project deliverable at various stages of the project like engineering, procurement and construction.

  • Project Kick off Meeting Minutes between the project team members.

  • Project Kick off Meeting Minutes between the project team and the buyer.

  • Total no of project change order requests approved by the buyer indicating changes in costs, and project schedule.

  • Detailed Project Costing sheet.

  • Minutes of meeting of all meetings held between buyer and the PM / Project Team.

  • Copies of all project status reports submitted to the buyer.

  • List of major bottlenecks in the project and suggested remedial action.

  • Accepted baseline project schedule indicating critical milestones.

  • Project Communication matrix.

  • List of key project stake holders indicating their influence over the project.

  • Scope matrix clearly highlighting buyers scope during different phases of the project.

  • Project organization Chart with roles and responsibility of each project team member.

  • Project Management Plan if available.

  • Present status of the project cash flow

  • Client accepted billing schedule

  • Details of the total actual costs booked on the project

  • Deviation in planned vs. actual cost booked on the project.

  • Cash flow forecasts.

  • Project close out criteria as mentioned in the tender / contract documents

  • Buyer’s responsibility during the performance trials and handing over of the plant.

  • Copies of all communication sent to the customer.

    Engineering Documents:

  • Client approved drawing and document schedule

  • Check if the approved drawing and document schedule have been incorporated in the project schedule.

  • Updated document control index.

  • List of engineering drawings and documents approved by the customer.

  • List of engineering drawings and documents pending for client approval.

  • List of engineering drawings and documents pending for submission and their revised submission deadlines

  • Check if the approved document confirms to the tender specifications. List deviations if any.

  • List of drawings issued “for construction” to various vendors.

  • Project Quality assurance plan

  • Quality assurance plan of each equipment.

  • Method Statements

  • Bill of quantities for various sections of the project or overall project.

  • Design calculations.

Procurement Management:

  • Client approved vendor list for all streams of engineering like mechanical, electrical, process, instrumentation, automation.
  • List of purchase orders issued and their delivery schedule.

  • List of items pending for client inspection.

  • Manufacturing status of all equipment with various vendors.

  • Inspection schedule at various manufacturing facilities.

  • List of long lead items

  • List of items pending for purchase

  • Are all vendors having the latest version of the approved drawings

  • Are all vendors working as per the approved QAP’s?

  • Have all vendors understood their scope of supply?

  • Any vendor who is unable to meet the delivery schedule and reason for the same.

  • Vendors who have demanded extra cost/delivery time and reasons for the same.

Construction Management:

  • Client approved Construction Plan
  • Construction organization

  • Client approved Method Statements

  • Site Mobilizations Plan

  • Work orders issued till date

  • Work orders pending for issuance

  • Construction SOP’s as enlisted in the contract

  • Client’s Daily Work Permit Procedure.

  • Safety Procedures to be adopted

  • Material storage facility at site

  • Can the stored material be identified and traced to approved engineering documents

  • Record of material issue

  • Record of material damaged at site and replacement plan.

  • Client imposed erection and commission milestones if any.

  • List of activities that have missed the milestone

  • Frequency of progress reporting and progress reporting formats if any.

  • Daily Progress Reports

  • Cost status of construction activities.

  • Deviation in construction cost with respect to the planned.

Not all points have been covered in this check list however an attempt has been made to incorporate as many common points as possible.

Atul Gaur has aggregated over twelve years of professional experience and devoted more than ten years in the field of Project Management. He’s a Mechanical Engineering graduate from Manipal Institute of Technology (Manipal) and has Operations Management qualification from Management development Institute in Gurgaon. You can read more from Atul on his blog.

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