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Audit of project management of Fort McMurray continuing care facility highlights importance of planning for large capital projects

Report of the Auditor General — February 2020

An audit of Alberta Infrastructure’s project management of a continuing care health facility capital project in Fort McMurray highlights the importance of good processes in the planning and design phases of a project.

Report Highlights
Alberta Infrastructure had adequate project management systems to manage the planning and design of Willow Square, however it can improve certain project management processes and project performance measures.

As of June 2018, health facilities was one of the largest portfolios of capital projects managed by Alberta Infrastructure, involving 20 health facility projects with a total approved project budget of about $5.4 billion. To assess the capital planning and design processes of these facilities, Auditor General Doug Wylie examined the project management processes for the $110 million Fort McMurray Residential Facility-Based Care Centre, Willow Square. As research shows that planning is associated with a project’s success, the audit focused only on the planning and design phases for the Willow Square facility.

The audit found Alberta Infrastructure had adequate project management systems in place for the planning and design phases of the Willow Square facility, however it can improve certain project management processes, including:

  • Improving the robustness and timeliness of its project management plan to guide the project
  • Ensuring key stakeholders formally approve critical project deliverables used for managing scope

“While we did note that Alberta Infrastructure has made several improvements to its project management processes in recent months, the recommendations made in this audit, when implemented, will improve Alberta Infrastructure’s project management processes and performance measurement system for its portfolio of capital projects,” Auditor General Doug Wylie said. “As the Willow Square facility is expected to be completed in 2020, Alberta Infrastructure can apply the key learnings from this audit to other capital projects it manages.”

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