Essential IBR Process Training
Are you facing an Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) any time soon? You’ll probably know that it’s important to make sure that the IBR team are able to identify and assess risks relevant to the project so they can be ready for the review.
In fact, if the whole IBR process is new to all or some of your team, it’s worth investing some time in post-contract support so everyone has the same expectations and training about what is required.
Preparing the team through IBR process training is a comprehensive process – because the review itself is comprehensive. It is designed to ensure that the schedule is robust and will meet the earned value management expectations on both sides. Here are 15 things to cover in your training.
1. Objectives for the IBR
It’s probable that some people on the team will not have gone through the IBR process before, so spend some time explaining what it is and why the organization is going through it. As an organization, your objective is probably to sail through it and generate the minimum amount of action items!
Generally, objectives are to ensure that the work is fully covered and consistent, that there is an appropriate schedule and resources, along with a sensible approach to task management and the underlying processes to support project success.
2. Expectations and next steps
Next, explain the process for this particular time. Detail the approach the organization is taking to carrying out the IBR and the expectations of each team member. If it helps, cover roles and responsibilities so everyone on the team is clear.
3. Overview of EVM and relevant processes
There are many business processes involved in the IBR, including, of course, the earned value management processes themselves. Staff training should cover how each of these relate to the others and how they are involved in or impacted by the current exercise.
4. Project overview and objectives
Recap the statement of work or statement of objectives so that everyone is aware of what the project is all about and why it is happening. Talk about how success will be judged and how objectives flow down into individual areas of responsibility. This part of the training doesn’t have to be long – it just needs to provide adequate context for the individuals in the team, especially if they are new to earned value management or the organization as a whole.
5. Risk identification
Another aspect of IBR prep is helping the team understand the risk identification process and the documentation required to go alongside it. This may or may not be different to the existing process you have for identifying risks in your current project management methodology.
6. Managing risks
Identifying project risk is just the beginning of a comprehensive risk management approach. Your training should also look at the full risk lifecycle from appropriate responses, creating management plans, monitoring and controlling the work and closing risks when they are no longer relevant to the project.
7. Baselines for budget and schedule
Your project or program will have budget and schedule baselines. It’s worth the team knowing what these are and how they have been created, as their work going forward will determine how closely these are managed. Ideally, they will have had input into the activity planning and will be able to see how their estimates have influenced the baseline creation.
8. Maintaining the baseline
Again, baselines are not a one-and-done activity. They need to be maintained. The right people on the team should know how to do this and what needs to be done when the time comes.
9. Work breakdown structures
We could spend several days delivering training about work breakdown structure creation, managing the dictionary, traceability and creating a matrix. You might not have that much time, and it’s also important to tailor training requirements to the needs of the individuals in the room. They may not need that level of insight, or they may already have it from past projects.
The training should ensure everyone is at the same knowledge level – and appropriately prepared to use the WBS processes on the project.
10. Authorization and approvals
What work authorization documents exist or are going to exist? Getting work approved and signed off in a timely fashion is important to keep the project on track and to maintain an audit trail of what decisions were taken when.
Help the team understand what the authorization processes are going to be for this project and who is responsible for what.
11. Control account planning
An earned value management environment relies on controls account and control account management. Again, there’s a lot to learn here and you’ll have to select the right kind of training for the relevant team members to help them pick up the right skills for their role.
Control account managers will need more detailed, extensive training (if they are new to the role). Others on the team may simply need an overview of what control accounts are and how they are going to be managed on this project.
Funding cycles influence the schedule and contract management. Depending on the audience for the IBR prep, it could be useful to cover where funding is coming from and the timings and requirements around that.
13. Management reserves
Similar to the funding position, take some time to brief the team on the available management reserves and what they are for. Talk about criteria for using them and how they should make the wider team aware of the recommendation to use them if they feel that is appropriate.
14. Managing subcontractors
Not everyone on the team will be directly involved in subcontractor management, and you may not have subcontractors on the project at all. If you do, use the IBR training time to talk about how those relationships are going to work. You may also want to extend some training to the subcontractors where appropriate so they are briefed on your ways of working.
15. Glossary of terms
Finally, consider providing delegates with a glossary of terms and acronyms relevant to your business, the project and earned value management. This can be a handout or something attendees take away with them; you don’t have to dedicate classroom time to it if the content is covered in other sessions.