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Project / Programme Assurance is the specialized discipline and practice involving independent and objective oversight, specialized experience, and audit skill sets to assess risk, finance, accounting, compliance, safety and performance for any major capital expenditure, or major infrastructure investment.
Project / Programme Assurance value is improving performance and efficiencies; cost avoidance and recovery, and risk avoidance and management according to pre-defined success and failure factors to improve delivery confidence for the project/ programme stakeholders.
Project / Programme Assurance professionals typically serve and report to the Board of Directors of private companies and publicly held companies, governmental bodies, banking concerns (development, investment and commercial banks), insurance, surety companies, and any other entity that is responsible for mega project investments that often exceed $1 billion.
The concept is used by PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE) – a project management method in an attempt to address the need in project organisation for monitoring all aspects of the project’s performance and products independently of the project manager, and an eight-step assurance procedure is outlined in a 2013 paper produced by the BT Centre for Major Programme Management at the University of Oxford. According to the OGC, Project Assurance helped manage risk and improved delivery confidence. Project Assurance supported SROs and others responsible for successful delivery whilst providing funders and other stakeholders with the confidence that the project could deliver to time, budget and quality. This they called the Project Assurance Function.
The term has expanded in its use to a more complete solution. It is now recognised that a review of hard disciplines (methods, tools, processes) and soft skills (leadership, people management) need to be extended to include elements such as the context, content and complexity of a project and its environment - with appropriate levels of granularity and precision – to identify critical success factors and barriers to success.
- Bent Flyvbjerg, 2013, "Quality Control and Due Diligence in Project Management: Getting Decisions Right by Taking the Outside View", International Journal of Project Management, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 760-77