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Project technical reviews are formal decision meetings between team members and a panel of subject matter experts. The purpose is to review the technical approach, technical documentation, the solution to technical risks, and to approve technical results.
When to use
Technical reviews are conducted at technical milestones when a key technical deliverable has been completed. Examples would include a concept selection, the completion of design or coding, or the completion of verification testing. Depending upon the project, there may not be any technical reviews or there may be as many as a dozen. Technical reviews are normally held as a single meeting, but for large complex technical projects, there may be interim reviews leading up to the final review or the review may be divided into subgroups.
Meetings occur for one of three purposes. They are to convey information, solve a problem, or make a decision. Most technical review meetings are to make a decision about the technical approach or solution used in the project. . Be careful not to mix purposes within a meeting unless you have clearly explained what you are doing. Otherwise, some meeting attendees will be confused and unprepared.
- Use organizational templates and checklists to prepare for the review.
- Identify and invite an independent panel of technical experts – either in-house or industry experts.
- Collect the technical documentation supporting the deliverables that are to be reviewed.
- Provide the documentation to the panel before the meeting so that they have time to review the material. (If material is classified or confidential, be certain to provide appropriate protection.)
- Schedule enough time for the meeting to allow the panel to review and comment on all information.
- Start the meeting by reviewing the technical requirements and appropriate standards.
- Review a summary of technical documentation in a presentation.
- Review the details of the actual technical documentation – break into smaller subgroups if appropriate.
- Collect the findings from the panel and clarify whether the review is complete or needs to be repeated.
- Assign action items and follow-up with the panel as actions are closed.
Hints & tips
- Prepare for the meeting. Review your documentation to be sure everything is ready.
- If you have known risks or open issues, prepare a discussion to address them. Explain the issue, options, and your proposed path for resolution.
- Let the core team member with responsibility for the area being reviewed lead the presentation and discussion of the topic. Include extended team subject matter experts.
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