— Harvey Firestone
A compliance project must have a concrete plan. You may put all fringe and vigor into your project, but without a solid base, you’ll end up with nothing but offscourings that will lead you back to the drawing board.
Going beyond the Planning Phase to Delve into the Project itself
When you decide to go beyond the planning phase of your compliance project to start the execution process, you are demonstrating your proficiency. You exemplify the fact that you’re psyched up for the task, have your resources gathered, and a sound plan in place for project consummation. Rushing the project without adequate planning risks failure. Delaying its execution could result in loss of resources, overage budgeting, and delayed milestones. For successful outcomes on your compliance project, ensure that you roll out your project at the right time.
When carrying out the execution phase of your project, there’s no definitive cut-off point. This is the time when you put your strategies on course. The period of confirming resources and verifying the scope of the reviews and objectives is over, and it's time to deploy your resources. You’ll venture into the assessment of the competency and efficacy of your outlined plan and procedures. At this point, you must be assertive of your project plan and the laid procedures as you batten down for any contingencies that may emerge.
Sharing Information with All Project Stakeholders
Communication is essential, especially now that many people are involved in the execution phase. The project’s effectiveness should start with you holding a meeting with your team to review all the outcomes of the planning process and contrive a way of relaying the project details to your audience. This will also help to identify any flaws or risks that that may not have been mitigated. It’s a great way of streamlining your entire planning process. Communicating the project’s scope, timeline, and your team to stakeholders will highlight your expertise, conscientiousness and the ideas you infused into the project.
Your announcement officially introduces your compliance project to your company, and it goes beyond the people involved in planning your project. It is an added victory, though small, indicating the milestone of your project.
Whether you’re conveying your annunciation via email or open meeting, your message should incorporate the following:
- THE NAME OF THE PROJECT: Remember, the name you of your compliance project will act as your brand. Incorporating your project name in all your communications will make people associate the project and its goals with you and your team. Its success will be attributed to you.
- DETAILS OF YOUR TEAM: You should identify your project team and their roles. You can name one responsible person to oversee the entire project if it’s small. More extensive projects will require you to name the whole team or second level team members with key roles in the project.
- THE TIMELINE OF THE PROJECT: Every project must have a completion date. Inform your audience when to expect the final results of the project. Include specific dates when the project will be completed.
Doing the Heavy Lifting – Working on the Project
For the whole of the execution phase, you’ll be busy working on your project. This includes taking an analysis of all transactions for possible noncompliance occurrences, testing the red alerts if any, and interviewing stakeholders of the compliance process, among other tasks.
The following standard components are a must have for any properly-managed compliance project:
- External Project Tracking – This is essential especially if your focus is on reporting the aesthetics of your compliance project. External tracking will report the project’s progress to your stakeholders. All the information regarding the budget-to-actual comparisons and project deliverables status related to the time and capital invested in the project will be traced shared. Include standard KPIs in your project management reporting because they apply to most projects. They include variance reporting on schedules, costs, and resources, the achieved and overdue deliverables, and the current percentage of the budgeted cost and time invested.
- Internal Project Reporting – This reporting is straightforward and flows naturally into all the deliverables discovered from your external reporting. It is more detailed and is often built on the sub-deliverables that directly connect to the external reporting deliverables.
- Tracker for Project Issues – Do you want to know what's not working properly? Has the testing for a prospective noncompliance item failed? Or did one of the team members discover a bug in your compliance report automation? List all the issues as they emerge and prioritize the most urgent.
- Regular meetings for reviewing the status and findings of the project – Regularly updating your stakeholders will boost the success of your compliance project plan. Status updates will show your progress against the budgets and milestones created in your plan. The stakeholders will see the completed small subtasks as detailed in your project plan and there your small accomplishments will be highlighted.
The nature of compliance projects in our careers vary. This post is intended to guide all types of compliance projects regardless of their scope or style. The best practices for executing compliance projects may take numerous forms. But one theme remains mandatory for any project - the need to develop and retain successful project execution evidence. The form taken by such evidence will depend on the project and the required work input.
Here are the execution components that every compliant project requires:
- Testing – It explains whether testing was done during the execution phase to confirm that your client accepted the project and that your new system will function as per your project plan. It also gives a detailed list of every transaction made for compliance. Include all the essential details of what was tested, the method of selecting the items for testing, the source of the testing documentation and the end-results and conclusion of the testing.
- Interviews – This shows who was interviewed, the time the interview was conducted and what the interviewee had to say. You’ll also explain the findings and conclusions derived from these discussions.
- Analysis of data – During data analysis, you'll need to clarify if you analyzed the entire population. If so, provide your sampling methodology and the dates of testing. Then expound on your findings and give a conclusion on the same.
Whether the objective of your compliance project is to augment PCI compliance or strengthen the KYC procedures of your AML program, a concrete execution based on an impregnable plan is needed for successful fruition. As Harvey Firestone said, having an idea is the only asset you need to develop a plan that will be solidly executed. With a well-calculated idea, the subsequent activities of the project will fall in place without many risks and wastes on deliverables. Implementing the project will be a smooth process considering that you have all the tools at your disposal to keep you within the budget and schedule of completion.