Project Management

Conclusion: This advisory is the fourth in a series which discusses the value proposition for conduct of project assurance through gate reviews for high-value projects, health checks of projects in trouble, key processes, and control mechanisms. Included in the first three parts of this advisory series was a discussion on the need for maturity in project management, the need for a mature project management framework, and a mature project management office (PMO) to support success in completion of projects.

Without effective project assurance, through external review of high-value projects at key gateways in the life of each project, and health checks of processes and controls, organisations run the risk of not fully understanding the impact of the project’s progress on their business objectives.

Conclusion:

This advisory is the third in a series which discusses the value proposition for the project and/or programme management office (PMO). In the first and second parts of this advisory series, we discussed the need for maturity in project management and the need for a mature project management framework (PMF) to support success in the completion of projects.

Effective project management requires an effective PMO to achieve the controls necessary to manage the processes within the PMF, and to ensure the delivery of each business outcome is prioritised to meet the desired business objectives.

Without an effective PMO, your organisation’s ability to track business performance against delivery of new or enhanced capabilities being delivered by projects will be limited or potentially catastrophic.

Conclusion:

This advisory, as the second in the series, will address the necessary inclusions in your project management framework (PMF) and the value of developing a community of practice (COP) to ensure continuous improvement. In addition to these foundation stones of good project management, IBRS takes a pragmatic view of how the choice of methodology used for each project impacts the organisation’s approach to its PMF and the value proposition of the COP.

The key to predictable outcomes is to make sure the processes and products of your PMF are of value to both those executing the project and those overseeing the development of each capability. Too often, poor take up of an organisation’s PMF, and the subsequent increased risk of failure of a project is a result of a bureaucratic and overly complex framework. The keep it simple principle is essential so that compliance with the PMF can become routine.

Likewise, the COP is key to learning, improvement, and ownership by those involved in your organisation’s capability development and project management. An effective COP will look to improve skills, apply lessons learned, and improve the PMF processes, outputs, and tools.

Conclusion: This advisory will be presented as a series of five instalments, culminating in a Webinar. This first instalment will focus on an introduction to key concepts in project, programme and portfolio maturity. The next instalments will address:

  • the necessary inclusions in your project management framework (PMF) and the value of developing a community of practice (COP) to ensure continuous improvement,
  • a discussion on the value proposition for the project and/or programme management office (PMO), and
  • a discussion on the value of project assurance.

The final instalment will be a Webinar, which will both present the findings from the three instalments and provide an opportunity for subscribers to question the findings.

The ability to provide consistency in the management of projects and programmes is a reflection of the organisation’s maturity. Whether your organisation runs waterfall, agile or a mix of both, the need for effective project and programme management processes and effective governance is essential for success.

Organisations that are not mature in their approach to projects often find themselves in difficulty resulting from inconsistency in application of management practices, reliance on individuals that represent single points of failure, and ineffective governance that is unable to meet its responsibilities.

Conclusion: 

Project management in organisations is commonplace. Reviews are often undertaken at the end of the project to gain insights for future projects. Project reviews completed during the life of a project need to ensure that they are inclusive of appropriate stakeholder groups, and assessment is targeted at the appropriate focus areas. Active and inclusive review and assurance activities need to be well understood and supported within the organisation so that it is not viewed as an exam that needs to be prepared for and passed. Applying reviews and assurance as a process checkpoint only, is ineffective and will not ensure quality project delivery.

The Latest

20 January 2021: In its 2020 Q4 quarterly earnings report, Citrix announced it is buying Wrike, a Cloud-based, collaborative project management service, for US$2.25 billion.

Why it’s Important

The market for collaborative workforce management tools has grown sharply in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, products such as Write were generally procured by business stakeholders. The ICT group’s ability to mandate a specific collaborative workforce management tool was limited due to the ease of acquiring such tools, strong user preferences based on past experiences with tools and waves of vendor’s branding activities. As a result, most organisations have a myriad of collaborator workforce management tools, including: Wrike, Monday, Trello, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Planner, Plutio and others. 

However, as outlined in IBRS’s whiteboard session on Disruptive Collaboration, this situation is unsustainable. These Cloud-based tools can not only create pockets of documents and sensitive information, but also act as barriers for different teams to work together when they each have different tools. 

Citrix’s acquisition of Wrike is a sign that the market for such tools may be starting to consolidate.

However, for existing Citrix customers and for Wrike customers, the acquisition will have little direct impact at this time.

Who’s impacted

  • Project managers
  • Business stakeholders involved with workforce management / project delivery

What’s Next?

  • ICT groups should seek out which workforce collaboration tools are in use across the organisation. Longer term, plans should be in place to begin limiting the number of tools in an effort to improve information management and compliance, collaboration between disparate teams and reduce the security footprint.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Disruptive Collaboration (whiteboard session)

Conclusion: Many organisations are engaged in implementing digital transformation programs to provide enhanced customer services, e. g. with new products or to reduce operating costs, or both. Unfortunately, many programs fail, sometimes repeatedly, until they achieve their set objectives. What is important though is when failure occurs, use the lessons learned to try again.

Delivering a transformed organisation is hard as it is inevitably accompanied by:

  • Redesigning business processes to meet today’s business imperatives
  • Implementing enhanced information systems
  • Encouraging employees to acquire new skills and be innovative
  • Actively minimising the business risks

Conclusion: The coming global recession will see ICT budgets cut, or at least constrained, in the 2021 financial year through to 2023. CIOs are now inundated with advice that boils down to this singular direction for efficiency and mostly, for survival. Although sound, this advice does not take into consideration that many CIOs have long been practising cost-efficiency. Many IT shops are already cut to the bone.

IT projects will be on the chopping block. Hence, it is crucial to prioritise now – before the cuts are mandated – which IT projects can be shelved for a few years without unacceptable risks to the organisation. It is important to note here that postponing or cancelling projects is being framed as a business risk decision. The CIO’s role is to put forward the risks of delaying or killing off a project, not to be the sole arbitrator. 

Conclusion: Estimating the workdays for an agile- or waterfall-based IT project is not a simple task. However, with effort and a disciplined people-focused approach, it can be turned from an art into, as close as possible, a science.

When the effort is made, management will become more comfortable with the resources needed to complete projects and avoid the unpleasant task of asking for more resources than expected due to flawed estimating.

Conclusion: Projects in trouble or failing need to be assessed with two main possible outcomes: rescue or discontinue. Organisations should carefully consider whether shutting down a project is a better outcome. If the decision is to discontinue then it should be done in a careful and controlled manner which considers the impact on stakeholders, team members and any residual value that can be extracted.

 

IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

Conclusion:

Many organisations have implemented frameworks and methodologies, increased internal project management and improved project governance in an effort to improve IT project success. The Standish Group report on project success has shown considerable improvement over the last 18 years. However, projects still do fail, and organisations can improve their preparedness for projects and change programs by spending time undertaking a business readiness assessment (BRA) before they begin any new change initiative.