Project Portfolio Management

The Specter of Organizational Change

The numbers are in, and they tell an interesting story about the risks faced by business today. As Elizabeth Harrin relates in a blog about the 2014 Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit in London, the nature of risk has shifted since the 1990s. Project management, initially flagged as the most significant risk to businesses, has been replaced by organizational change.

Numbers Speak: The Perceived Value of IT Services

What this means, statistically speaking, is that today’s perception regarding the value IT projects deliver focuses mainly on five categories:

  1. Needs identification
  2. Transparent investment
  3. Business process re-engineering / organizational change management
  4. Application delivery
  5. Measurement

These are the things that project managers must do well to execute projects successfully and to impress stakeholders. Yet Harrin cites a statistic by Richard Gartner that reveals a lack in these five areas. For instance, most project members follow up on promised delivery only 70% of the time. What this means is that 30% of the time projects are not on scope, on budget, or on time.  

Avoid Labels, Seek Improvement

Mark Langley, president and CEO of PMI, warns that too much focus on labels (PMO, Lean PMO, Agile PMO, etc.) can confuse rather than clarify a PPM’s position. According to Langley, what’s important is what’s in the contract. He goes on to state that:

Most of the things that organizations do…are the things you do already. Only 22% of work, according to the McKinsey research [Langley] cited, is about increasing your portfolio or development work. That’s not a lot, but it seems…that if we can improve that 22% then proportionately we’ll be making a massive difference to business results.

If the numbers are any guide, there’s plenty of room for progress towards delivering value in today’s changing organizational landscape. To this end, Gartner’s and Langley’s recommendations are constructive. Of course, putting these suggestions into practice is a different story. 

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