The Cost of PM Efficiency

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You don’t need me to tell you that the world of project management has been on a continuous drive for efficiency in recent years. Organizations are looking to deliver more projects with fewer resources, and this has led to significant change in the life of PMs. Some of those changes have delivered obvious benefits--the increasing availability and functionality of project management software has reduced expensive administrative overhead, for example. However, in some cases the efficiency gains that an organization has generated are coming at a very high cost, and those organizations may not even know that those costs have been incurred.

I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t real opportunities to improve the efficiency of one or more elements of project execution in most organizations--there undoubtedly are. What I am suggesting is that sometimes organizations push so hard for efficiency that they ignore the potential impact, and that’s when the problems start.

The Fundamental Problem
When we look for ways to improve business efficiency, we consider two primary factors--the cost associated with the area that we are looking to improve and the benefit associated with that same area. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about an employee, a process or some other aspect of project execution, we can always distill it down to cost and…

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"Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining."

- Jeff Raskin

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