Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is a Project really a Project if it does not Deliver any Beneifts?

Organizations start a project for a variety of reasons, sometimes without any real clear understanding of the outcomes to be achieved. It could be the whim of a senior manager, in response to a ministerial announcement or a belief that implementing a solution will solve a difficult problem.

Project’s managers often go through a prescribed project planning process (perhaps following PRINCE2 ™); they produce sufficient documentation to satisfy audit requirements and then just head off in their own direction. While they always know what it is they have to DO (the project scope), it’s often not until the end of the project they examine what it is they were supposed to ACHIEVE, by which time it is too late.

Of course this is not the case in every project but it has been reported in studies like the Gershon review (2008) that this happens in 95% of projects. The unsettling statistic is that a massive 45% indicated that the project benefits were not measurable. This is extraordinary. It is difficult to imagine how this could possibly be the case.

What does this mean in practice?
Gershon suggests centralizing the co-ordination of projects to establish expected benefits at the outset and identifying ways to measure these benefits.
What it essentially means is that the Government has recognized that an enormous amount of money and effort is put into projects but there is not necessarily much to show taxpayers in terms of benefits delivered for this use of valuable resources.

Read this interesting article by Michael L. Young at:

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