Do you feel overwhelmed after meetings with your independent verification and validation (IV&V) or quality assurance (QA) consultant? Do your IV&V or QA reports look like a long laundry list of all the things that that might go wrong with your project? Without clarity on the most important risks usually the entire list ends up getting ignored. Too often, IV&V and QA consultants believe their role is to audit the project, documenting all possible risks regardless of probability, or to cite best practices, even when these practices are not practical in a particular situation. Sometimes consultants are on autopilot just working against their checklists.
IV&V or QA reports should get to critical information quickly and show you how the pieces impact the whole. The top three to five risks requiring immediate attention should be highlighted in the first pages of the report. These risks should be prioritized based upon a clearly defined rationale—usually magnitude of impact, likelihood of occurrence, and immediacy of risk. The report should provide pragmatic suggestions for resolving or mitigating identified risks that empower and inspire your project team to take action.