Each of the hidden benefits overlap creating synergy for expanding value to your organization. This second hidden benefit of improved business-driven project capabilities provide the environment for the first – Strategic Opportunity by Reducing Drag.
Observing this benefit is challenging because many organizations excel at minimizing waste within business workflows and in reacting to issues that arise. But that is not what I am writing about here. Many of these organizations can still make significant gains.
The proactive and targeted approach of excellent project capabilities ensures that only truly valuable projects are executed and thus reduces drag on an organization in three ways:
ELIMINATE UNNEEDED PROJECTS – Some projects look important and valuable, but if adequately scoped before approval, are revealed as not needed or not a current priority. You avoid wasting resources and time that can now be used for needed, priority projects. Additionally, the results of an unneeded project (support, maintenance, training, adoption) cost time and money and efficiency. Unneeded projects may cause more harm than good, and even hinder strategic growth because no one wants to throw away the effort and dollars spent to implement the project. What would be the value to your organization to eliminate even one unneeded medium-sized project per year? What other project(s) might you do instead that would provide greater value?
EXAMPLE: Upon scoping a VP pre-approved project at a healthcare organization, the PMO identified problems with the project that would significantly reduce its value. It just wouldn’t address the need, and cause more problems than it would solve. They cancelled the project. The organization saved over 2000 man hours of work – easily $100,000 of work, and avoided great frustration with the staff. Instead, other key strategic projects were inserted. And two years later, a vital project was initiated that DID address the original need in a different and FAR BETTER way.
ELIMINATE UNFEASIBLE PROJECTS – When projects are attempted that actually aren’t feasible, most organizations either cancel the project mid-way or try to salvage the project with inefficient work-arounds. This robs the organization of precious time and resources that could be used for other strategic and doable projects. What would be the value to your organization to not ever start a project that you could not successfully complete? What could you do with that time and money?
EXAMPLE: At one organization, what looked like a great project to automate a workflow to address some manual workflow challenges, upon scoping by the PMO, ended up being unfeasible. The new system would automate as promised by the vendor, but the organization would need to re-engineer facilities and add staff, which were both not feasible. When identified, they canceled the $300,000 contract with the vendor and never started the project. In the end, the organization would have had to spend over $500,000 to try to make this project work – and even then, it would not have solved the problem well. The organization developed a less elegant, but workable solution that cost NO money, and the budget was freed up for other strategic projects.
REDUCE NEED FOR DUCT TAPE – When projects can’t be implemented as originally planned, many organizations will scramble to find manual work-arounds and use duct tape to get the project finished. This robs the organization of precious time and resources that could be used for other strategic projects. And wherever manual work-arounds and duct tape are used, there will be process inefficiencies and a future need for re-engineering and/or rework. These project results just keep on giving and giving… trouble! How much duct tape are you dealing with right now? What would be the value to your organization to significantly reduce duct tape and not ever start a project that you could not complete as designed? What could you do with that time and money? How much more efficient would your organization be?
EXAMPLE: Numerous times, at one organization while scoping requested projects, a PMO routinely caught issues with system interfaces and workflows. New system implementation projects were often rejected or put on hold until vendors could demonstrate interoperability between systems and shared workflows. This organization avoided expensive (and often barely useful) custom development and/or manual work-arounds that cost time, dollars and ongoing drag and frustration. Over a one year period, where duct tape was nearly non-existent, the organization easily saved $300,000 in man hours and avoided custom development costs.
With just these three examples, the improved business-driven project capabilities saved over $700,000 – simply by STOPPING projects from happening that would have been a drag on the organization and a waste of resources and dollars. But without these capabilities, these companies would have never known that the opportunity for savings even existed.
Many organizations are great at REACTING to the issues that arise among projects. They can quickly pull together decision makers and tackle any challenge with skill and acumen. They can adjust expectations, timelines and resources on the dime and keep on moving. Few build the PROACTIVE processes, roles, tools and culture to anticipate and catch challenges before the projects even start.
Want to learn how improving your project capabilities will help you eliminate drag and provide greater opportunities for strategic projects? Contact us for a free one hour consultation to explore your needs and opportunities.
Read about the other hidden values…