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Why Projects Succeed – Articulating the Value of Project Management

heroEarly in his career, Roger Kastner was accosted by a product manager for putting a higher priority over a once-a-week report instead of a discussion about issues. Kastner understood the report as a requirement, something that needed to be completed no matter what. The product manager reminded Kastner that the report was just a rehash of information he already shared with the stakeholders: if they missed a single report, it wouldn't destroy the project, but not addressing issues would. Taking that lesson, Kastner now has a different understanding of value within project management.   He moved from an understanding that project management was effective because of the visibility it achieved to a more complex reason: 

Even though projects that are delivered on-time and on-budget may make a PM's bonus bigger, that act of delivering the product of a project does not necessarily generate expected value for the enterprise in and of itself. I've worked on a few products that were on-time and on-budget, but because they failed to gain the commercial success anticipated by the product managers, those projects sure do not feel like successes, i.e., no one would feel comfortable wearing the project celebration t-shirt anymore. So how can project management drive value? It's based in the tried and true concept of Return on Investment (ROI). 

Kastner now understands that articulating the value of project management (all of the tools, processes, and best practices used) is important for showing the strength of project management for business alignment. This articulation also illustrates how healthy project management helps meet stakeholder's expectations and product delivery.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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