The 2015 Pulse of the Profession® in-depth report on Capturing the Value of Project Management Through Decision Making, recently released by Project Management Institute (PMI), reveals the importance of a sound, formal decision making process in the management and implementation of projects and programs. According to the report, when decision making is approached with discipline, 79 percent more projects meet original goals and business intent. That discipline includes ensuring decision makers have the right information to make decisions and are familiar with organizational strategy.
Projects fall short of their original goals for many reasons. Pulse research has identified a number of contributing factors and the percentage of projects they impact including: ineffective communications; poor requirements management; and disengaged executive sponsors, the senior responsible owners of projects and their outcomes. The research shows that disengaged sponsors make poor decisions and contribute to unsuccessful projects. In fact, nearly half of unsuccessful projects are impacted by poor decision making, according to this report.
“Informed decisions guide projects and programs through planning, implementation, and completion,” said PMI President and CEO Mark A. Langley. “To achieve business goals, organizations need to proactively empower project teams by consistently providing the right information to decision makers at the critical points in the project lifecycle.”
One of the biggest roadblocks to good decision making is a shortage of actionable information available to key project players at the point of decision. According to the report, decision makers in 81 percent of organizations don’t always have access to what they need. In fact, they often lack even the most fundamental information, such as risk assessments (46 percent), insight into available resources (40 percent), and full knowledge of project requirements (35 percent). Only two in five organizations believe they have adequate risk management in place to support the organization overall. And only half believe they have adequate risk management relative to project- and program-related decisions.
Another significant challenge faced by project decision makers is a disconnect between project-level actions and high-level organizational strategy. Only one in five organizations report decision makers at the project level are always familiar with strategy and how projects support it. That means most are missing out on the efficiencies good decisions deliver, because when decision makers are familiar with organizational strategy all the time, an average of 78 percent of their organizations’ projects meet original goals versus 43 percent who aren’t familiar with strategy.
The report identifies three practices for overcoming these challenges:
- Foster a culture of transparency that ensures the people making decisions understand and can connect their work to organizational strategy.
- Establish a process to provide people making decisions with access to the right information at the right time.
- Employ a formal approach for managing risk in the decision-making process.