“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”
– Albert Einstein
As a global practice, project delivery is rife with methods, practices, templates, and training courses. At Transforming Solutions, we also have a framework for effectively delivering on projects. However, we understand that in the end, it is not about the framework, the certification, or the method of delivery. It is all about providing value.
Several years ago I was privileged to contribute to Dr. Harold Kerzner’s Project Management Best Practices book. Kerzner, professor, and Senior Executive Director at International Institute for Learning (IIL), developed some key thoughts on delivering value. Kerzner has written, spoken, and blogged on numerous topics, including delivering value. I found these seven to be revealing.
I’ve adapted the list from Dr. Kerzner:
1. It does not matter how well or how poorly a project is executed if you are working on the wrong project
Seems like common sense, right? Yet, we see many organizations work on the wrong project or work on a project that their organization is not yet ready for. In an effort to help combat this, we offer approaches for project prioritization and selection. In addition, we can help your organization understand if it is ready for change.
2. Being on time and on budget does not necessarily equate to success
Imagine, you’ve completed your project. You came in on time AND on budget. That is the definition of a successful project, right? Not necessarily. Successful projects should be measured on the value they provide to your organization. Have you aligned to all your stakeholders’ needs? Were all the appropriate requirements delivered? Is the organization set up and prepared for ongoing management of the post-initiative delivery (i.e., are supporting organizations ready to stand up and deliver once the project team goes away)? These, and a host of other questions, should be considered before claiming success.
3. Completing a project within the triple constraint does not guarantee business value.
Related to number two above, what is the end-state the initiative was designed to create? You may have managed well inside the lines of the triple constraint, putting in a new student registration system. However, if students are challenged using the new system and administrative staff cannot get the information they need out of the tool, you are not ready to celebrate yet. The end-state after all was not to “put in a new system,” but more closely aligned with to “enable student registration to be more complete, seamless, and accurate”.
4. Having mature PM practices does not assure business value will be there at the end of the project
Unfortunately, I have worked for too many organizations that invested in very heavy project management processes; however, they are still unable to deliver. One IT organization created a checklist of 140 required project management deliverables. This heavy-handed control culture did not add value to delivery. In fact, quite the opposite. Project managers were so consumed with completing administrative tasks that they had little time to focus on the outcome of the product deliverables.
5. “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get” – Warren Buffet
To paraphrase Mr. Buffet, the project cost is simply the price that you end up paying. The value, on the other hand, is what your organization ends up getting from the successful completion of the project. Do you have a measure for the value of your projects, beyond the cost you paid or the savings you realize?
6. Value is what your customer perceives is worth paying for.
The value of expense is often calculated by doing a cost-benefit analysis. Sometimes value is left out of the equation when one seeks to find the cheapest solution. Before starting an initiative, work to make sure you understand what your constituents are willing to pay and why. A project manager should remember that value is a perception of one’s stakeholders, not how well they think we are doing.
7. Success is when value is achieved
Wrapping it up, one is not done until a value is realized. And, that value is recognized by the stakeholders (not the implementation team). If one attains the nirvana state of delivering value, then it is time to take a moment, celebrate your team, and get ready for your next trial. Since you’ve demonstrated success, folks are bound to come and ask you to replicate it.
At TSI we are always focused on delivering something of value. Remember Einstein’s words above and strive to be valuable. TSI wants to enable and support your success and we are ready to partner with you to deliver the value you need.
Contact us to learn more about getting value from your delivery initiatives.