Project Management

How to Express a Project Manager’s ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is the bottom line in business, the punctuation mark, the yea or the nay. But how can project managers express the ROI that they themselves bring to a project? In a post for Voices on Project Management, Dave Wakeman shares three tips to keep in mind when looking to prove your worth to the business:

  1. It is all about the outcomes.
  2. Ask the hard questions about intended impact.
  3. Measure your work in a meaningful way.

The Worth of a Manager

The actions a project manager takes ultimately mean nothing if the desired outcomes do not come to fruition. The goal is to produce a project that is valued by the organization and, more importantly, the client. This value cannot be realized by looking at a list of activities. There is a significant difference between droning off the tasks you have completed and asserting the things you have accomplished.

There are several situations in which project managers find themselves disrespected and their input shot down and ignored. This is terrible and should not stand. However, if the problem is that the project manager is not asking good questions, then the situation can resolve itself with better intended thoughts. The questions asked should be focusing on the intended impact of the project. Questions such as these will enable project managers to acquire more valuable knowledge, as well as open a door to communicate what they need.

The final action is to measure work in a significant way. In order to speak of ROI, the project manager needs to have their own data measurable in a similar fashion. The stakeholders are looking for a project that is better, faster, and cheaper, so show them this! Wakeman provides a couple examples:

  • Because of these improvements in processes and decision-making, we saved 5 percent on costs and came in 3 percent earlier than expected.
  • By making the decision to fast-track this part of the project, we were able to free up these resources, and that enabled us to realize a 10-percent gain in productivity.

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