Close the Loop
Once a project is approved and funded, two tasks remain. One, the portfolio management team has to provide oversight throughout the lifecycle of the project. At key points, it may be necessary to consult with the project sponsor, update the schedule, revise the budget, or reexamine the business case. Upon re-evaluation of all this newly available information, the decision-making body (i.e. the project portfolio management body) can determine if the investment is still sound, the priority still high and the risks and costs still within acceptable parameters.
The second task after deployment is to measure the value the new solution is adding to the organization and compare it to what was projected in the business case, cost versus benefits. If it turns out that the investment was not sound, determine what went wrong. Ask questions like:
- Was the risk too high?
- Was it a runaway project that cost much more than projected?
- Once deployed, did the new solution cost too much to operate, eating up all the benefits?
Asking and answering questions such as these is the final link in a mature closed-loop system that ensures that projects add value.
No Pain, No Gain
Start today. Take an honest look at the organization's current portfolio of projects. Are the projects that are being done really the ones that should be done? If not, expect the process of turning the mix of projects upside down to be extremely painful, particularly when it comes to the killing of favorite "pets."
Under the guidance of the executive team, organizations must be very strong and diligent in making sure each project has a business case and is aligned with a clearly communicated mission, vision and guiding principles. When that diligence occurs, change happens. But it will not happen overnight.
As I said: "Start today!"