In 2009, I wrote an article titled “The Death of Projects”. In it, I talked about factors that negatively impact project ROIs, Timelines, Contingencies, Completion, etc. Here is an excerpt that describes the progression of typical improvement activities at most companies:
“Improvement teams were formed and regular team meetings commenced. Data was collected and analyzed to confirm each problem. So far…so good! But…when action plans were proposed to fix problems that had been identified, cooperation between departments began to fall apart and commitments were made that were not kept. Completion dates for several projects were moved forward by several months; eventually, the status for these projects was changed to “inactive” and all work on them stopped. Some managers had experienced this phenomenon earlier in their careers, so delayed/stalled projects were accepted as “part of the improvement process”. New projects were added to the Project Report, but many would have the same fate. In the meantime, the Board of Directors was losing patience as the management team reported slower than expected progress quarter after quarter. What was wrong with this scenario?”
Many projects require the cooperation of other departments to improve efficiency and bring the dollars to the bottom line. Unfortunately, obstacles created unintentionally within the management system prevent or discourage the kind of cooperation needed to increase project ROIs, accelerate project timelines and reduce contingencies. The value associated with department relationships is seldom quantified or recognized, but it can EQUAL the value that projects are trying to capture. Some projects are designed to save millions of dollars in cost or increase profit margin by millions of dollars. What if management was more aware of the connection between project-related gains and the relationships between the departments they manage? What if they changed the way they managed their departments to intentionally capture these gains? Management has TOTAL CONTROL over this dynamic – all they need is a process to follow to dramatically increase project returns AND profit. The first step in this process is raising awareness about management’s role in change.