Archive for category Project-Based Solutions

Counterpoint: PPM and the Project-Centric Approach

In response to our series on the Project-Centric Approach, Philip McGuin makes several interesting points in his blog post, Challenging the Project-Centric Approach. However, he seems to believe that most, if not all, organizations have already adopted a project-centric approach to their business. This could not be farther from the truth. After over ten years of research on this subject, I find that most organizations, unfortunately, do not view their work as “project-centric.” Taking a project-centric approach is just the first step in running a business more efficiently and effectively. And as Mr. McGuin states, “project portfolio management” is the end goal.

But before implementing PPM there are several other issues these organizations must address. The first is to develop a project-centric approach to organizational work, and have that thinking permeate throughout the organization. Taking this step also requires organizations to look at how they set up projects, and to standardize and structure projects so that they can be analyzed to determine their overall value to the organization. At a minimum, these organizations must organize projects and determine their:

  • Strategic and tactical value to the organization,
  • Risks associated with completion time, cost or not initiating the project at all,
  • Project cost,
  • Resource requirements,
  • Project schedule, and
  • Project return on investment.

It is with this basic information (and there is certainly much more that should be captured) that organizations can begin to evaluate their portfolio of projects using PPM.

The purpose of this counter-argument to Atlantic Global’s PPM Blog is to make what I believe is an essential point: A PPM solution can only be effective after the organization has taken a project-centric approach to its business. Then, they must use the information they gather from their project-centric practices in a structured and standardized way, so that PPM technology may truly add value to the organization. Companies that believe that PPM will cure what ails them, without changing the way they approach their business, are greatly misinformed.

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The Project-Centric Approach, Part 3

Projects Aid in Strategic Thinking
by R. David Hofferberth, Service Performance Insight

In Part 2, I explained that projects allow companies to do a much better job of prioritizing their investments. It follows naturally that the ability to prioritize work—just like prioritizing any other investment—has strategic benefits.

The detailed information that comes out of the project management process is critical for management and shareholders as well, because it shows how the organization invests resources, and how the investments align with the corporate strategy.

Taking a project-centric approach also provides the management team and staff throughout the organization with the information to show how the company is meeting its strategic goals, and other areas for potential improvement.

There could also be circumstances where the corporate strategy has changed just enough to reprioritize the project portfolio. By taking a project-centric approach to the work, executives can learn the impact the changes in strategy will have on funds and staffing, and ultimately the profitability of the organization. With this information available to all key decision makers, the organization can run more efficiently, and with greater commitment to meeting the overall goals and objectives of the company.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how the strategic thinking, enabled by a project-centric approach, helps the entire organization run more efficiently.

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The Project-Centric Approach, Part 2

Deliverables and Outcomes are Well Defined
by R. David Hofferberth, Service Performance Insight

In my last post, I explained that businesses are starting to think more and more in terms of “projects” instead of just “work.” The first key benefit of this approach is that when deliverables and outcomes are better known, the ROI on “work” is much better understood.

Prior to project approval and initiation, executives must have all of the information necessary to determine whether a project should be considered and funded.  At a minimum each project in consideration must provide:

  • Strategic and/or tactical importance of the project
  • People and skills required to complete the work
  • Project schedules with delivery dates
  • Costs with pre-determined budgets and specific times of fund allocations
  • Potential risks to the project and their associated impact
  • The probable project benefits (qualitative and quantitative)
  • A project return on investment (ROI)

This detail will help establish the framework by which projects should be considered. Executives will now be able to consider each project as part of a portfolio of work, and thus determine which projects can be funded and their associated priority and anticipated delivery date.

This information highlights gaps in staffing, financial resources, and strategy, which can then be addressed by the executive team.

In my next post, we will go into more detail about the strategic benefits of the project-centric approach.

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Take A Project-Centric Approach To Running Your Business

Part 1: “Projects” are Hot
by R. David Hofferberth, Service Performance Insight

Organizations of all types have begun to take a project-centric approach to running their business. Competitive pressures, shareholder demands and regulatory scrutiny are merely the tip of the iceberg in explaining why this is occurring.  Executives are utilizing project management discipline to manage and control their business with greater precision. Articles printed in every leading business publication affirm that the demand for project management skills is on the rise.

This new tactic is not just about classifying work as “projects” as some arbitrary metric used to show the amount of work undertaken. It really means taking a standardized and structured approach to work, with a suite of evaluation criteria used to determine the relative importance and priority of the potential work—prior to any allocation of resources.

In the next few posts on this topic, I’ll explain some of the specific benefits that a project-centric approach has for businesses.

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