Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Recent Posts

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

3 Valuable PM Lessons I Learned in 2023

The 4 P’s of Successful Modern PMs

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What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

By Peter Tarhanidis, Ph.D.

In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate strategic planning, organizations face the perpetual dilemma of choosing between capital spending for growth—and optimizing operations for efficiency. Striking the right balance amidst economic trends and leveraging organizational strengths becomes paramount when navigating through strategic projects. Meeting shareholder and stakeholder needs, while aligning with the organization's mission, presents a constant challenge.

To anticipate potential initiatives, project managers must consider global macroeconomic conditions and CEO outlooks. A preliminary assessment based on the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects and OECD Economic Outlook reports for 2024 reveals a projected global economic growth slowdown from 2.7% to 2.4%. This trend suggests a delicate balance between slow growth and regional divergences. Key considerations include:

  • Global inflation showing signs of easing from 5.7% to a projected 3.9%
  • Slowed global investment trends due to uncertainties, debt burdens and interest rates
  • Fading global trade growth attributed to shifting consumer expenditure, geopolitical tensions, supply chain troubles, pandemic effects and protectionist policies
  • Notable regional examples include the United States expecting a GDP drop from 2.5% to 1.4%, China experiencing a modest slowdown from 5.3% to 4.7%, Europe and Japan projecting growth rates of 1.2%, and Africa's growth expected to slightly increase from 3.3% to 3.5%

Examining the corporate landscape, a survey of 167 CEOs in December 2023 indicated a confidence index of 6.3 out of 10 for the 2024 economy—the highest of the year. The CEO upsurge assumes inflation is under control, the Fed may not raise interest rates and instead reverse rates, setting up a new cycle of growth. Furthering the CEO agenda, McKinsey & Co. identified eight CEO 2024 priorities:

  • Innovating with GEN AI to dominate the future
  • Outcompeting with technology to drive value
  • Driving energy transition for net zero, decarbonization, and scaling green businesses
  • Cultivating institutional capability for competitive advantage
  • Building out middle managers
  • Positioning for success amidst geopolitical risks
  • Developing growth strategies for continued outperformance
  • Considering the broader macroeconomic wealth picture for identifying growth

As project managers, navigating the uncertainty of economic shifts necessitates staying vigilant. The year may bring variables and predictions that impact the execution probability of strategic projects. Shifting between growth plans and efficiency drivers demands different preparation. To stay prepared, consider the following:

  • Regularly monitor global economic indicators and CEO outlooks
  • Foster agility within the team to adapt to changing priorities
  • Develop scenario plans that account for potential economic shifts
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to gather real-time insights
  • Continuously reassess project priorities based on evolving economic conditions

In an environment of perpetual change, proactive monitoring, adaptability and strategic collaboration will be key to successfully steering projects through the dynamic economic landscape.

How else can you stay prepared as the demands shift on you and your team?

References

  1. JP Morgan: Economic Trends
  2. Economic outlook: A mild slowdown in 2024 and slightly improved growth in 2025
  3. UN: World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024
  4. McKinsey: What matters most? Eight CEO priorities for 2024
  5. CEOs Gain Confidence About 2024 On Hopes Of Lower Rates
Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: January 26, 2024 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Differences Between Feasibility Studies and Business Cases

By Mario Trentim

Before any organization undertakes a new project or initiative, it is essential to first assess the feasibility of that venture. This is done through feasibility studies and business cases:

  • A feasibility study looks at the technical feasibility, financial feasibility and operational viability of a proposed project.
  • A business case looks at the financials of a new venture to determine if it is financially viable.

Both are essential for any organization looking to undertake new projects or initiatives. Let’s look at these more in-depth:

Technical Feasibility Studies
The most common type of feasibility study is the technical feasibly study. Technical feasibility looks at whether a proposed project is achievable from a technical standpoint. This includes assessing the skills and knowledge required to execute the project, as well as the availability of resources. Once all this data has been collected, it is analyzed to determine if the project is technically feasible. If it is, then the next step is to develop a detailed plan and budget for how it will be executed.

Financial Feasibility Studies
Financial feasibility studies assess whether a proposed project is financially viable. To create a solid business case, organizations need to identify the problem or opportunity that the project will address and gather data to understand potential impact. This data can come from surveys, focus groups, interviews and other research methods. Once all the data has been collected, it is analyzed to determine if the project is worth pursuing from a financial standpoint. If it is, then the next step is to develop a detailed plan and budget for how it will be executed.

Operational Viability Studies
Operational viability studies assess whether a proposed project is operationally viable. This includes assessing the skills and knowledge required to execute the project, as well as the availability of resources. Once all this data has been collected, it is analyzed to determine if the project is operationally viable. If it is, then the next step is to develop a detailed plan and budget for how it will be executed.

Business Case
The business case is a document that allows decision makers to determine whether the project is worth the investment. It is essential to project selection, prioritization and authorization as part of a portfolio. The business case usually presents a current business problem and suggests alternatives to solve it. The basic purpose of this document is to justify the initiation of a project. 

In summary, here are the key differences:

  • Feasibility Study
    • Is it viable to intake this project?
    • Analyzes whether a project is executable or not.
    • Prevents undertaking projects that are unfeasible or extremely risky.
  • Business Case
    • Why is the project worth the investment?
    • Describes costs and benefits
    • Identifies the current situation (justification)
    • Defines the desired future state (solution)

Conclusion
Feasibility studies and business cases are important tools that organizations use to assess the viability of new projects or initiatives. Conducting these studies helps organizations make informed decisions about whether or not to pursue new ventures and allows them to plan accordingly so that they can set themselves up for success.

Posted by Mario Trentim on: December 01, 2022 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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