The Simple Definition of Value

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A lot of energy has been spent investigating the "value" of project management. My question is: value to whom? Doesn't it all boil down to what the projects' decision-makers do with their project management information?

Imagine a project manager who pays a very small amount for a very advanced cost and schedule control system, and the system reliably produces accurate information in a timely manner. If that project manager ignores that output, and instead acts out of impulse, then the value of the project management information system is zero.

And, to be blunt, no amount of eat-your-peas hectoring from our side of the debate will lead such a project manager to have an epiphany and turn away from his or her nefarious ways. Conversely, a project manager who pays a great deal for a system that barely reports projected costs at completion and forecasts completion dates, but uses that information to avoid a massive overrun or delay, has an extremely valuable system.

Not to abrogate the debate, but, in my opinion, the value of project management is like the macro-economists say: It's what somebody's willing to pay for it.
Posted by MICHAEL HATFIELD on: May 15, 2009 11:24 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist, PMP
To answer the questions you pose at the beginning of your post, the value to whom does matter and it does boil down to what they do with the information. Value = the desirability or worth of a thing. Given this simplest definition of value it is not a matter of what somebody is willing to pay, it is a matter of who is willing to pay. When folks ask me how to prove the value of any of the processes I evangelize, I tell them their very first step must be to determine how value is defined by whomever is paying for the process. It is only then that they will have any chance of knowing: - if the process value can be determined using the given definition of value - if the process has the potential to deliver this value - if the process, once implemented, is delivering the value As long as an enterprise can define what value means to them, it is possible to establish the governance to determine the value of any process, project management or otherwise. I say "possible" because the severe lack of sound governance in many enterprises makes this valuation elusive, resulting in the scenarios you describe in your post. Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist

Minen Mehta, PMP, CSM, LE, SSBB
In project management, the value needs to be viewed on global level — a bird's eye view, because a project impacts many. The value is never "personal". The value can be seen in every aspects of the project - all nine knowledge areas. And that is what makes it so difficult to visualize the real "value".

The value of the project needs to go through the WBS of identifying activities that are need to be performed. The very first and primary reason for doing a project is that it benefits the organization and the business. For an organization (the management), for-profit in particular views the benefit as ROI. NGO take on projects to gain public appreciation that in return benefits NGO raise more funds.

On a personal level, we do chores because they benefit us through all aspects of our life. Only a simple thing to undersatnd and remeber that benefits can be positive or negative. It only depends on the activities performed. Caveat emptor! As soon as I mention activities and +ve or -ve factors,- nine knowledge areas kick-in.
In my opinion (IMO), I would like to add honest, the ethical value to IMO and prefer to say IMHO : ) - Any activity providing positive positive benefit is of greatest VALUE and the rest is WASTE.

This is scalable from personal level to global level.

Therefore, VALUE = +ve BENEFIT and the payment required is simply +ve activity or you may also say +ve efforts.

Good Luck!

Project Management Software
I believe in specification. I think in project management one has to be a project manager who specifies the whole work in small piece of work and allocated to desire/potential resource.

Project Management
Really true. The more you're willing to pay for the project, the better the result will be. With enough budget, the system could always adopt new strategy that would make the project better and without limiting their task to fit in with a minimum cost.

Deborah Brooks
Project Management Value to an Organization. Many organizations try to determine the value of adding project managers as resources. What value will this add for the organization? How can the organization measure the benefit of having project managers versus non project managers? There is always the measurements of cost, schedule, performance, and defects. However, when asked the question "How does hiring Project Managers versus non project managers really benefit the business in a testing organization?", one starts to ponder. First of all, project managers are more expensive than non project managers which does not benefit the business from a cost savings. Secondly, the non project managers can be trained and will perform as well or better than some project managers. Thirdly, even measurements for implementation of standard processes and procedures would not reflect the savings. So, this leaves one question, "Is there a measure that would show the value of hiring a project manager versus a non project manager?".

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