It is important to make sure the Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) does not devolve into a business management only meeting. If that happens you run the risk of the review being too focused on the processes or not keeping the focus on the real objectives of the IBR. To make sure this does not happen you need to make sure the right people from both sides of the table are engaged in the IBR process and engaged early.
The table below has the different roles and responsibilities for both the customer team and the contractor team:
The Program Manager and their key support staff (Deputy PM’s, PAPM, Contracts lead) from both the customer and contractor teams need to be at the IBR. It seems obvious, but if they do not understand that the IBR is more than an Earned Value review they could consider it something less valuable and not attend. From the customer side it is important that the PM set the tone for the IBR. That is that it is not an audit, they are not there to beat up the contractor, they are there to learn and help drive the quality of the PMB. This role can go a long way in setting the right tone for the IBR up front. On the contractor side, the PM typically will kick off the meeting and deliver the program overview.
The Project Management Office (PMO) and business management support from both the customer and contractor sides will have played a big role in preparing their respective teams for the IBR meeting. During the actual IBR meeting, their role will be less in focus, but they still play key roles. From the customer side, the PMO support will take the lead on asking questions about the processes and data quality. These topics typically span the entire program versus individual control accounts so they are the logical owner of those questions.
On the contractor side, the PMO, project controls and business managers will typically deliver the process overviews and may even brief the meeting on the overall program performance numbers (if it hasn’t been done by the PM). Key though is that these folks from the contractor side should not replace the CAMs during the interviews. They can support the Control Account Managers (CAMs) during the process (help navigate the schedule to look at particular area, answer process rationale questions, etc.) but they should not be the people answering the questions. For example, if a CAM is asked to describe the process for updating their Estimate At Complete (EAC) the CAM needs to be able to answer that. If the PMO team has to answer, it is a sign that the processes are not being used to manage the program.
The technical leads from the customer and the CAMs from the contractor will be the primary participants during the IBR. The customer’s leads need to have done their homework coming into the meeting and should have a deep understanding of the data related to the control accounts that affect them. They should ask the questions to help clarify the technical scope associated with the different control accounts and what assumptions were used in planning. The technical leads will be actively involved in identifying risks and opportunities. Conversely, the CAM from the contractor will be providing the overview and details of the control accounts for which they are responsible, demonstrate knowledge and use of the business processes in place, demonstrate an understanding of the cost, schedule and scope considerations for their control accounts and discuss any assumptions and risks.
Finally, it is a good idea to designate someone to facilitate the IBR. This person may fill another one of the roles mentioned above but if the review is large, it may require someone who is not filling another role. The facilitator keeps the meeting on track and the focus on the key objectives of the review. It is easy to go off on tangents when diving down the rabbit hole of the technical scope covered by a control account. Having someone a bit removed from that conversation can do wonders for keeping the review on track by knowing when enough is enough.
Bottom line is all of these roles need to be involved for a successful IBR and they need to be engaged early and often in the process. They should all be active participants in the review as well. The review will have a lot more value if the ownership can be shared across multiple folks instead of just assuming the earned value or project controls lead will cover everything.
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