June 2, 2013 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Portfolio Management
Project Triage During Rapid Business Change Cycles
By Joanne Wortman
A few years ago, we ran a series of blog posts on project triage, diagnosis and rescue:
In much of our work since then, we have been working with organizations that struggle with performing meaningful project interventions to align their project portfolio with sudden shifts in business strategy, or to support their underlying corporate culture as it shifts toward more rapid innovation, originality, adaptability, engagement, collaboration and efficacy.
In such fluid business environments, our original medical metaphor doesn’t fully apply; triage and diagnosis were performed from a perspective of project internals. In today’s world, the old project success indicators can be very much out of sync with the business. If IT projects, the project portfolio, and a PMO are not accountable in terms of their value to the business, it’s time to change the ways we think and talk about projects, and begin to define new KPI’s for success.
- First of all, let’s stop using the term scope creep. To deliver business value, the project organization must be agile enough to rapidly address scope fluidity. Would it make more sense to measure how quickly a project team can replan/re-estimate a shift in scope?
Quality metrics may also need to fall by the wayside. Is the current release good enough to push into production with defects noted, and expectations managed?
In rapidly changing businesses, it’s very difficult to plan out a 12 month milestone plan for IT projects. It makes more sense to define a backlog of objectives at the beginning of the planning phase, and perform rolling prioritization, with the complete expectation that the prioritization will change at multiple points during the coming year. In such an environment, how meaningful is it to judge project success against the old notion of “on time”?
In the context of all of this change, it is no longer reasonable to judge projects based on their internal conditions. The measures of project success in today’s world lie in the greater business context.
- Has the project or project portfolio enabled the business to respond to threats and opportunities more rapidly?
Has it increased our innovation speed?
Even if the application is buggy, has it improved overall efficiency, enhanced the quality of goods and services, reduced operating costs, or improved the business’ relationship to its customers?
While these questions have answers that are less quantifiable, they are certainly more meaningful in today’s business context. How is your business evaluating project success these days?
Joanne Wortman, JWortman@edgewater.com, Director of Consulting, Edgewater Technology, Inc.
Joanne Wortman has been leading complex technology projects, M&A integration programs, business process reengineering efforts and change management initiatives for more than a decade. Her work has been published in Buyouts Magazine and at www.vcexperts.com. Ms. Wortman holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Edgewater Technology, Inc. is an innovative technology management consulting firm. We provide a unique blend of specialty IT services by leveraging our proven industry expertise in strategy, technology and enterprise performance management. Headquartered in Wakefield, MA, we go to market by vertical industry and provide our clients with a wide range of business and technology offerings.