A new program from Sensei Project Solutions performs automated project checks for governance and compliance. Sensei Portfolio Advisor works on projects maintained in Microsoft Project Online and Project Server. Versions are available for both individual users and enterprises.

The application performs a set of checks based on industry standards and best practices, including the Project Management Institute’s practice standards for Work Breakdown Structure and scheduling, as well as Sensei’s own scheduling methodologies.

The compliance-checking function examines projects for four categories of guidelines: work breakdown schedules, schedules, resources and links. In the first release, there are 29 compliance checks, and the company reported that more would be added over time.

Governance checking categories cover standard and advanced aspects of the program, such as project-level exceptions, ranging from schedules where the status has not been updated or published, to missing timesheets, overdue risks and issues, and incomplete work in the past and actuals tracked in the future. There are 12 standard checks in the first release of the application with more planned for the future.

The program ranks problems in order of severity:

  • A “problem” has a high impact on the project and could lead to an inaccurate forecast or problems in maintaining the schedule or tracking progress.
  • A “warning” could also affect the project negatively and should be reviewed to assure “the most accurate forecast,” the company said.
  • A “message” points out some aspect of the project that won’t necessarily impair the scheduling but could improve its quality if addressed.

Any of the checks can be ignored if they’re not relevant to the organization’s standards.

A “Compliance score” provides a numeric measure of the quality of individual projects as well as the overall portfolio. By default, only problems count towards the score, but warnings and messages could also be considered through changes in program settings.

Various reporting pages show overall compliance scores and offer a “leaderboard” to rank all projects being tracked in the organization by level of compliance and governance.

“Data quality is incredibly important in any PPM system,” said Kenneth Steiness, Sensei CEO, in a prepared statement. “So the ability to monitor quality objectively and ensure compliance is critical. Otherwise, executives are making decisions from bad data.”

The Sensei Portfolio Advisor app is available for individual subscribers in the Microsoft Office Store for $99.99 per month; organizations can purchase an enterprise license directly from Sensei Project Solutions.