Is your company an IT project management champion or underperformer? In their Pulse of the Profession Report for 2017, the Project Management Institute surveyed more than 3,000 project management professionals across a broad range of industries.
The report found that companies could be classified into two different groups based on their project outcomes. Champions are those companies who meet their business goals at least 80 percent of the time. Underperformers are those who achieve their project goals only 60 percent of the time.
What separates a project management champion from an underperformer? The Project Management Institute report listed a number of factors that were common among high-performing companies. Although the list comes from a broad range of industries, many of these factors are critical elements to IT project management success.
Are you lacking in these areas in your IT projects? If so, it may be time to rethink your project management process. You may even want to work with an IT partner who can help you maximize your project results.
1. Waste reduction
According to PMI, nearly 10 percent of all dollars invested into projects are wasted. However, champions waste 28 times less than underperformers. Clearly, waste reduction is a primary goal in all projects. But why are some companies more effective at minimizing waste than others?
Waste reduction starts in the planning stages of an IT project. Far too many companies jump straight into the project itself without spending enough time on the planning and documentation. A detailed, comprehensive plan can put constraints and protections in place to limit scope creep, cost overruns, and other forms of waste.
A detailed plan should include a project definition document that formally defines the goals, scope, risks, and limitations of the project. It should also include a project horizon that lays out the projected schedule, as well as a procedures document that details how the team will handle issues as they arise.
Finally, a good plan is only as effective as its implementation. Any variance from the plan — no matter how small — deserves attention. Small variances have a tendency to snowball. Before you know it, a series of small deviations have directed you off-course and over budget. Take action early and often to stay within budget and the timeline.
2. Strong sponsorship
The PMI study also found that champions had strong sponsorship, particularly from C-suite executives. In fact, 62 percent of survey respondents said that project sponsorship was a driving factor in their success. That’s up from 59 percent in 2016.
While a signature may seem like an unnecessary step, it gives the project man
ager the influence they need to keep all team members moving in an aligned and unified direction. Project managers can take action as needed to reign in the scope or budget and can implement steps to course correct if needed.
3. Investment in talent and training
Another critical element to success mentioned in the PMI study is an investment in training and talent. Specifically, survey respondents from champion companies reported heavy investments in technical training and leadership training for their teams.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to any seasoned project manager. The outcome of any project is dependent upon execution. A talented, experienced, and knowledgeable team is likely to execute better than one that is lacking in those areas. Technical training is especially important when managing global teams working in different languages and cultural environments.
Fortunately, you can leverage a talented team without making a heavy investment in personnel or training. One effective solution is to work with an IT partner that can handle management of your project on your behalf. You benefit from their experience, knowledge, and skills, which they use to solve problems and keep your project within budget and scope.
Project management is about planning, execution, and adjusting to overcome challenges and obstacles. An experienced and skilled team can help you develop and implement a strategy to help you reach your goals. If you’re struggling to see the outcomes you want from your IT projects consider partnering with an IT project management company. They can help you make the leap from underperformer to champion.