Project Management

What A Waste

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.

Project Management Institute’s 2021 Pulse of the Profession found that the amount of investment wasted due to poor performance was 9.4 percent, down about 1.5 percent from the year before. Over the past decade or so of these reports, though that number hovers consistently around 10-12 percent. I applaud PMI for continuing to raise this issue, but organizations clearly have to do more to solve the problem. Close to one in every 10 dollars spent on projects is wasted due to poor project performance!

And that’s just projects. Let’s consider all the other areas of business. Is there any reason to think that performance there is any better? Not really. And the real issue is that a lot of this wastage isn’t identified, which means it can’t be addressed. At the macro level, organizations will consider which projects were successful, and increasingly that measure of success is based on performance against objectives, but there isn’t consistent understanding of why investments fail to produce, or where the losses occur.

Instead, it’s too easy to blame bad assumptions, projections, execution or all of the above. Operational areas are often treated the same way, even though it should be easier to identify issues where work is more consistent.

Part of this is human nature. We’ve all seen those TV commercials about how much money the average consumer wastes by overpaying on …

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Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

- Robert Frost