The global recession and how to cope with it will inevitably dictate the business and IT agendas during 2009. While the general consensus is that IT budgets are likely to remain relatively flat overall, circumstances will vary from industry to industry, with sectors such as financial services and travel being hardest hit. Government and utilities will see investment remain relatively buoyant.
We normally define project failure in terms of time, money and specification. A typical end-of-project report will state that the project was late, cost too much or failed to meet the users’ requirements. The National Audit Office reports on public sector projects that fail to meet these criteria.
Tracking the progress and activity of your projects provides useful data that can be used to assess the efficiency of IT operations and improve your PMO. Nayan Patel, corporate manager of portfolio management at Baylor Health Care System, uses this information for the following purposes:
• Identify projects that need attention: See which projects have slowed down or haven’t had much work put into them. Are they still a priority? If not, reallocate resources and attention to more pressing needs.
• Cross-analyze IT departments: How are they doing? How much effort are they putting in? What are their costs like? Determine who’s doing what and to what extent to improve management quality.
• Assess the data overall: By watching trends in resources, workload, activity and cost, you can provide valuable information for future management decisions. — KC
The key point that I draw from both these articles, as well as from our own recent research on PMOs and Resource Management, is that the PMO is a powerful nexus of people and processes; companies that use this organizational structure wisely can invest wisely, cut costs wisely, preserve valuable resources wisely … and avoid the worst dislocations of recession.
Every organization wants to effectively execute strategies, but many struggle to implement a process for doing so. This struggle is one reason that the Balanced Scorecard has had such a wide following and impact on business. Simply put, the BSC emphasizes the linkage of measurement to strategy. For the first time, the details of the project portfolio (what the Balanced Scorecard creators call “strategic initiatives”) become important to a company’s strategic thinkers. Companies that have implemented this model have seen measurable bottom line successes, according to research by Scorecard creators Kaplan and Norton.
Turning around failing projects … faltering organizations … struggling industries … a challenged economy … for CEOs and CPOs, it’s a great opportunity to put the logic of project management into play. Where old-school management and processes have failed us, it’s time to put some new thinking in place. That should be every leader’s game plan for 2009.
In the current economic climate, great ideas have the potential to make a big difference and dispel some of the doom and gloom.