Nowadays many organizations are seriously overwhelmed with project portfolios that have dramatically grown in size, sophistication and the number of resources involved. Just to illustrate this point, recently a CEO of a large financial institution mentioned in a private conversation with me, “It seems only yesterday we had a couple of fifty-thousand dollar projects in our portfolio and today we have ten ongoing endeavors ranging in size from $5 to $20 million. We were not prepared for this".
How should these organizations adjust their business models? Many companies are attempting deployments of their own project management frameworks to address the issues above. This article is aimed to provide senior executives of such organizations with the key lessons learned by the author stemming from numerous previous projects of similar nature.
Implementing Project Management
How Are We Doing?
Before we venture into the discussion of the finer points of project management implementation, let us analyze the current situation in the industry and assess our ability to handle projects.
According to researchers 19% of the project undertaken in 2008 were complete failures (i.e. cancelled because of significant cost overruns or being late). Forty six percent represented troubled projects (i.e. significantly over budget and/or late but completed nonetheless). And only 35% of projects undertaken were delivered on time and on budget (give or take a couple of percent here and there).
I don't think anyone would argue that these figures demonstrate that we are a long way from perfection when it comes to selecting, planning and executing our projects.
The Key Steps
Here are some of the lessons learned derived from several successful implementations of project management frameworks performed by Thinktank Consulting at various organizations in Canada, US, Asia and Middle East.
Lesson # 1: Customize Methodology - Never try to impose an "off-the-shelf" project management methodology onto any organization. Instead: