Managing Business Value by Projects

Many organisations are today managing their business by projects. Project management is being applied to both traditional and non-traditional projects.

In 2008, I worked for a global financial services firm where project management was applied to every non-traditional project with profound effect; even those projects effecting change across business areas and domains, such as marketing and customer services. The driver for this major step was the successful rollout of a £60 million business critical programme where traditional and non-traditional projects were driven by identical project management governance, a new approach by the Bank. As a result, the 55 projects (with complex interdependencies) were delivered on schedule, within budget and immediately delivered business value to the organisation.  Although there were challenges, especially around the inexperience of those areas working to the rigours of a project, the projects were delivered efficiently and effectively.   

Other businesses have discovered, especially in such times of competitive challenges, the rigours of project management can be applied to many initiatives with great effect. Enabling organisations to adapt more quickly to rapidly changing business environments, one where globally dispersed competition erodes away at traditional marketplaces and regulatory dilemmas constantly increase business processes and administrative burdens.

Senior management have begun to view projects differently. Encompassing traditional and non-traditional projects they are expecting one thing, business value. No longer satisfied with viewing project success as delivering the project on schedule and within budget. Today, it is about delivering efficiently and effectively and above all providing business value.

It is becoming more common where a project is cancelled midstream. Where senior management doesn’t see how a project will deliver business value, even if it is meeting time and budget constraints, then the project is cancelled or put on hold until a time when business value can be delivered.

Project managers are facing big changes. Future success will not be achieved by successfully completing the project within the traditional triple constraints (time, budget and quality). Future success will be realized when the planned business value is achieved within the imposed constraints and assumptions.

3 responses to “Managing Business Value by Projects

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  2. Excellent article! (related comments below)
    I have found there to often be strong emphasis placed on ensuring that Project Managers receive solid project methodology training and are provided with tools and resources to support working to standard practices; however there is little recognition of the need to ensure that Project Boards work effectively and efficiently, providing the necessary direction on projects. (Prince2 terminology).

    I would dearly like to see industry in future adopting the terminology “Project Governance” when it would often have used “Project Management”; this would allow the emphasis for project control to correctly be seen to be shared between Project Boards and Project Managers. This might allow the term “failed project manager” to be more correctly replaced with, “failed project organisation”. A project can succeed with a weak project manager and a strong project board; however the converse, a strong project manager and a weak project board has little chance of reaching a successful conclusion.

    I totally agree that we should be considering the delivery of business value, efficiently and effectively, as providing project success, rather than the conventional view of delivering to original cost and timescale constraints. To do so in my organisation however, requires some serious change in thinking at the programme/portfolio and project board levels. Unfortunately, my senior management do not have as healthy a view of projects as yours appear to have, and from learning at Prince2 re-registration training I recently attended, I’m not sure many organisations out there do!

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