The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 155: The Auditors Are Coming! The Auditors Are Coming!

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This episode is sponsored by http://www.pducast.com:
The PDU Podcast

Kristine Hayes Munson, PMPLet me ask you this: What would you do if the auditors came tomorrow to look at your project and check, if you are following all the best practices, standards and policies? Would you run and hide or are you confident that your project would withstand their scrutiny?

Kristine Munson, PMP is in a similar situation. She knows that her auditors will show up every two years and look at all the projects throughout their complete division. And it's her job to make sure that they pass the audit with flying colors. How does she do it? Meticulous planning, impeccable execution and 10 years of lessons learned that are used to prepare for the auditors' visit. This interview will give you a new sense of what dealing with the auditors means for a project manager.

In this episode, we are giving away 1 license to www.projectmanager.com - please go to our Facebook Fan Page and look for the giveaway notice. Leave a comment on facebook to participate.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. 

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: This is The Project Management Podcast™. We bring project management to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at www.pm‑podcast.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #155. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.

Here’s an interesting question for all you project managers out there: What would you do if the auditors came tomorrow to look at your project and check if you are following all the best practices, all the standards and all the policies that you should be following? Would you run and hide or are you confident that your project would withstand their scrutiny?

Kristine Hayes Munson, PMP is in a similar situation. She knows that her auditors will show up every 2 years and look at all the projects throughout their complete division. And it's her job to make sure that they pass the audit with flying colors. How does she do it? Well, meticulous planning, impeccable execution and 10 years of lessons learned that are used to prepare for the auditors' visit. This interview will give you a new sense of what dealing with the auditor means for a project manager.

Today's episode of The Project Management Podcast™ is sponsored by our sister podcast, The PDU Podcast™. Are you a project manager and you have certified PMPs reporting to you? Well then, help them get the most of their certification with The PDU Podcast™. Every month they will find one new video webinar on their iPod and that does 3 things: (1) It teaches them a challenging project management concept; (2) it earns them at least 1 PDU for the PMP re‑certification every month, but most importantly, (3) It keeps them out of your office. Take a look at pducast.com - that's p-d-u-c-a-s-t dot com.

Alright! We have just one more item before we get to the main interview. In our last episode, you heard the Gizmo about www.projectmanager.com and at the end you heard me say "thank you" to Jason Westland for the 2 licenses of www.projectmanager.com that we can be giving away here on the Podcast. Well, this giveaway starts today. As always: 1 copy is reserved for our premium subscribers and 1 copy is for our free listeners.

So if you would like to take a chance and win your copy, you can do two things: First, obviously you can become a subscriber to the premium Project Management Podcast and you will automatically be entered into all our prize drawings. And second, please go to www.facebook.com/pmpodcast, find the announcement of this license giveaway and simply add a quick comment. You can either tell me how great you think the podcast is or just say "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" or something along those lines and you will be entered into the drawing.

And now, our main topic, the interview with Kristine Hayes Munson whose project management experience includes a wide range of business process improvement and information technology projects in the finance, printing, and construction industries. Currently, Kristine leads an IT risk and compliance program for infrastructure, development, and application support teams located in multiple geographic locations. The program involves ensuring that the teams with which she partners comply with information security standards and identified regulatory statues. As part of the program, she oversees project management methodology development, project portfolio demand management, resource utilization reporting, outsourcing vendor relationship management, standard operating procedure documentation, and senior management reporting.

Enjoy the interview!

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature interview: Today with Kristine Hayes Munson, PMP.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Kristine, welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™!

Kristine Hayes Munson: Thank you for inviting me again, Cornelius.

Cornelius Fichtner: Absolutely! I think you and Margaret Meloni are my #1 guests in terms of numbers that I’ve had you on the program.

So we want to talk about a recent project that you have completed. You work in the financial industry and as it is normal in the financial industry, there are a lot of audits going on and you completed a project of preparing for and then executing in audit in your division here. So set the stage for us. What exactly was the project for that you had been working on?

Kristine Hayes Munson: The friend that I work for has a really rigorous corporate audit process. We look forward with mixed set of feelings about having corporate audit come. I always compare it to having my mother calling me queen for weeks and weeks and weeks prior to my mother coming and then she comes in and she cleans your house the next day because it didn’t meet her standards. So we always have had healthy respect for our corporate audit team and our corporate audit teams’ goal is to do a rigorous and thorough evaluation of the various business units here in the firm to make sure that we have a good control environment; and ‘controls’ meaning processes and procedures to execute our various functions so that we could theoretically withstand an examination by the Federal Reserve, the SCC, whatever type of governmental agency may come and decide to look at us.

And their goal is to have done a thorough and rigorous enough audit of the business units so that we can hopefully avoid having for example the Federal Reserve come and look directly at our specific business units. So we really do respect the thoroughness which corporate audit examines our individual business units.

Corporate audit comes approximately every 2 hours to the various business units and we, here at our location, are one of the biggest audits that they do. The reason for that is the firm generally is very siloed so there’s an email team somewhere, there’s a Windows’ team, there’s [Pleth] web development teams and each of these silos get audited individually but because of how our business use it is set up to support our external client, we have everything under one roof. We basically have a divisional CIO who has responsibility from everything for the network, the email, the Windows, the Unix, the database, as well as all the development structures. So they do what is really in their line of work multiple sleeves all in one big audit so it’s a huge undertaking for everyone involved.

And we have had over the years mixed success with corporate audit. Sometimes they’ve come and we’ve had smashing successes. And sometimes, we’ve had little bit of improvement. So we wanted to make sure as a management team that when they came this time that we could demonstrate that we were in a control of our environment and that we were worthy of higher scores that they would issue so they could give a favorable report back to the board of directors and then when the Federal Reserve review their audit papers later, they can also reflect favorable back on us. So it was a big undertaking and it had a lot of visibility, a very senior levels of management back at our corporate headquarters because they understood the importance and the complexity of this audit.

Cornelius Fichtner: Who was the sponsor?

Kristine Hayes Munson: The sponsor was an EVP who is based in our corporate headquarters so several layers up from the person who actually manages the Technology Division here so it’s very visible. He is one of the firm’s CIOs direct reports so it’s very visible corporate audit.

Cornelius Fichtner: And the team you had working with you, how many people were on this team?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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