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Project management: 7 steps to on-time, on-budget, goal-based delivery

Moira Alexander | Sept. 4, 2017
Project managers who follow these seven high-level project management tips will achieve on-time, on-budget, goal-focused delivery of high-profile projects, thereby increasing their project success rates and career prospects.

“Benefits realization management (BRM) is a powerful way to align projects, programs, and portfolios to an organization’s overarching strategy. But the discipline has intimidated many because there is no single, widely accepted BRM process to follow. Despite that, more organizations are taking steps to establish procedures for identifying benefits and monitoring progress toward achieving them throughout the project life cycle and beyond. In fact, 31 percent of organizations in our survey report high benefits realization maturity,” says the PMI survey.

Benefits Realization Management determines the “how” of connecting your project with strategy. As part of its leadership series, PMI has established a(pdf) to help:

  • “Identify benefits to determine whether projects, programs and portfolios can produce the intended business results.
  • Execute benefits management to minimize risks to future benefits and maximize the opportunity to gain additional benefits.
  • Sustain benefits to ensure that whatever the project or program produces continues to create value.”

3. Bridge the gap between strategy formulation and execution

 

The next thing that needs to be tackled is how to execute company-wide strategy. PMI’s survey shows that over the past 12 months, only 60 percent of organizations know how to bridge the gap between identifying strategy and executing strategy. This can involve everything from identifying talent and resources, gaining buy-in from executive sponsors, teams and stakeholders to selecting the right tools or methodologies among other things. Determining how to execute strategy is an important step. This is a good stage to slow things down and ensure all of these factors, among others, have been taken into account and carefully planned out. The risks of missing this step can become costly in many ways down the road.

 

4. Gain (and maintain) executive sponsorship

The role of executive sponsorship is to support all company-wide projects and to establish the link between projects and company goals. Executive sponsors also champion projects, reinforce engagement, assist in conflict or issue resolution, provide guidance, and establish the budget and resources required for success. Corporate culture is also determined at these executive levels and determine team culture and collaboration levels.

Imagine the negative impact on projects without sufficient sponsorship. PMI’s report indicates that “actively engaged executive sponsors continue to be the top driver of whether projects meet their original goals and business intent. That fact was not lost on survey respondents, who revealed an increase in the percentage of their organizations’ projects with actively engaged sponsors compared to last year — an average of 62 percent compared to 59 percent, respectively.”    

 

5. Hire (and retain) the right talent

Projects are primarily successful because of people who execute them. Talent selection, training and development, mentoring and trust are essential to how individuals and teams interact and execute projects. Companies that are considered “Champions” are prioritizing the development of technical skills (76% versus 19% of underperformers), leadership skills (76% versus 16% of underperformers), and strategic and business management skills (65% versus 14% of underperformers) — all critical areas. When investment in people occurs, it increases the chances of buy-in. As a result, individuals believe their contributions are key to goal attainment and are more likely to apply their knowledge and skills fully.

 

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