Project Management

Looking Beyond the Project

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

This month’s theme is sustainability. That’s an interesting topic, and one that is pretty broad. It gives me a chance to think a little more laterally in the topics I write about, and in this article, I want to consider something that you might not naturally consider when you think about sustainability. That is the cost of projects after they are finished. Or more accurately, the costs created by those projects in ongoing operations.

When a project is approved, the financial and effort costs of delivering that project form part of the business case, as does the benefit that the project is expected to generate in terms of revenue, cost savings, risk reduction, etc. I’ll even accept that those benefit projections consider the ongoing financial implications of achieving those benefits—software maintenance, cost of sales, etc. That may be a generous thing to accept; I have seen many business cases that fail to accurately reflect those ongoing maintenance expenditures, but all organizations at least recognize that those elements should be considered.

But there are a lot of less direct costs that come about as the result of projects that impact the organization’s ability to sustain performance—to consistently achieve the expected outcomes promised by the project—and to avoid undermining those outcomes through …

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"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

- Winston Churchill