Why Are We Doing This Project?

Mike Peterson

Organizations can greatly improve the odds that business goals turn into reality by establishing formal processes for reviewing, approving, controlling and reporting on projects. But executive management has to get involved, asking tough questions throughout the lifecycle. Here are some practice-proven guidelines.

Organizations undertake projects all the time. But how often is the decision to undertake a project based on a strong business case? How often are proposed projects reviewed and approved by executive management? How often does management review the purpose, direction and progress of a project during its lifecycle? How often does management end up asking itself "Why did we take on this project in the first place?"
 
The answers to these questions, respectively, would probably be: "Rarely," "Sometimes," "Occasionally," and "Because it seemed like a good idea at the time." No wonder that many organizations have difficulty turning their business ideas into reality.
 
These days, the traditional measures of a project’s success extend well beyond "On time, on budget, and to specifications" to include such criteria as "Delivery of anticipated benefits, engagement of stakeholders, and organizational adoption." Easy to say, of course, but hard to do in practice.
 
In project management, the metrics of time, budget and quality are dependent variables. For example: a …

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"Only two things are infinite, the Universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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