Project Management

Better Project Foundations Through Deal Assurance

Brian J. Odian

While traveling overseas on business, I was seated next to a man who had recently left a government position. Our discussion turned to a large government infrastructure program that had multiple private company stakeholders. He asked me if I thought the program had a chance of succeeding and my response was almost instantaneous: “If they have strong project managers, strong stakeholder management, and a solid program base from the beginning they should be fine.” During my career I have seen many projects fail, struggle, or deliver late because they didn’t start as they should have in the first place—based on a solid foundation. Success is often determined prior to a project being initiated. Allow me to explain this.

Many projects begin with a sale. A service or product is sold and a project initiator, or sponsor, begins the delivery process through inputs to the initiating process of a new project. More often than not, however, during the sales process not much consideration is given to the initiating and planning processes of a project, and project managers are caught on the back foot right from the beginning of the project.

The Issues

Most organizations want to deliver on sales as soon as possible in order to collect the associated income, and, in an effort to win tenders and impress clients, timelines are often kept short. One of the …

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