Do you add value?

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Introduction

Despite its many merits, one of the pitfalls of Project Management is that we find its breadth allows us to work on a wide range of tasks and lose sight of the real purpose of adding value. As Project Managers, we are most comfortable working for management teams that have processes and are themselves controlled. The real question is not whether support is backed top-down or if it comes from grassroot-level efforts; the question is whether value is being added or not. Discerning project leaders are able to distinguish when it is proper to comply with established practices and alternatively can sense when a casual, informal process is more appropriate. As such, the best Project Managers are those that challenge themselves to continually align with their customer's pains and deliver excellence. This paper accomplishes two objectives. First, it provides an informal self-assessment to help Project Managers survey their ability to provide value, and secondly, this paper introduces and describes the Project Management Value Model (PMVM) that can be used as a basis of discussing Value Management and generating higher levels of value. This paper addresses professionals who directly or indirectly operate within some type of Project Management framework.

Self-Assessment

Attribute a maximum of ten points for each of the following questions based on the following scale: 1=Never, 3=Rarely, 5=Sometimes, 7=Usually, 10=Always. A higher score likely indicates that you add value, whereby a lower score may indicate your need to focus on improvement. Consider the PMVM as a tool to help you steadily increase your value to an organization.

1.   Management and customer satisfaction surveys that you receive reaffirm that you are doing the right thing. Moreover, you consistently receive “green light” messages from non-verbal communications.

2.   Your project makes sense. You've made sure that it aligns with a business strategy and you work with your business customers so that they anticipate a business improvement and return-on-investment.

3.   Team members and management values your counsel, and they find it easy to approach you. You are selected as the Project Manager of choice for large, high-profile, or troubled projects.

4.   Customers and team members are enthusiastic about your project, and they support you without hesitation. Sponsors and other key stakeholders are genuinely interested in your feedback.

5.   Because you tend to have a very low tolerance for bureaucracy, stakeholders recognize that the “right type and amount” of Project Management methods are effectively applied.

6.   There's recognition that your personal efforts are meeting a legitimate need that help the project team. They petition your service as a mentor, but you also have a trusted mentor. Candid feedback that you receive from your mentor is supportive.

7.   You are able to effectively keep the project on track, yet are flexible to changes from the customer. Your approach to project delivery meets or exceeds expectations.

8.   When finishing a project, you conduct and document lessons-learned exercises that dig deep. You contribute project insights to a knowledge base to help future projects succeed. You also use it when starting new projects.

9.   You practice risk management and other key controls routinely throughout the life of the project.

10. You work within a ‘larger organizational synergy’ that consists of established guidelines, configurable process frameworks, prioritized portfolios, and project reviews.

The Project Management Value Model (PMVM)

Project Management is a multifaceted discipline of science and art. Generally, the vocation attracts personalities that lean on the scientific aspects of processes and rules. However, enough can not be said about the strong influence that the intuitive art has in determining project success. “Art” is not exclusively centered on interpersonal and relationship skills, but also includes having timely insight for the style and type of leadership employed. The Project Management Value Model (PMVM) is a simple tool that can be applied in the context of any experience level. The greater that it is applied, the greater the chance that high value will result.

In Exhibit 1, the model consists of two concepts that emphasize the continuous maturity of Project Management practices and Project Management relationships. Project Management practices is centered around three primary components: Prevention, Preparation, and Performance. Prevention focuses on the tasks that prevent problems and detracts from eventual project value. Preparation focuses on tasks related to planning that cultivate value into the project. Performance encompasses control and execution phases of the project lifecycle, inclusive of team performance and project closure. These three components depend on the alignment of three organizational dynamics: the competencies of the Project Manager, the Project Management Organization that the project exists within, and the corresponding relationship of Customer Teams. The tighter these align, the more likely it is that project value will ensue.

The Project Management Value Model

Exhibit 1. The Project Management Value Model

This paper does not imply that value occurs only when perfect alignment of Practices and Relationships exist. However, it does suggest that the highest value possible is derived when these factors align. This paper steps through the PMVM Practices, the PMVM Relationships, and concludes with a summary of research that has been published which examines the benefits of Project Management within companies that have applied it.

Project Management Practices: Prevention

Encourage leadership.

People follow leaders. Project Management Organizations should work to develop the caliber of their staff, making assignments based on their demonstrated abilities to lead. Their leadership may begin with simple steps such as making sure that their team is focused, or that key documents are developed and reviewed. Organizations look to the Project Manager to provide leadership and effective Project Managers do not abdicate that responsibility hastily by seeking permission without legitimate cause.

Overall, leadership as defined to the Project Manager includes three primary elements: attitude, ownership, and skill. The attitude of the Project Manager sets a tone that either repels or attracts. People buy into the leader, and then the vision of their project plan (Maxwell, 1998). The Project Manager must “want to win” and feel a personal sense of ownership not only with project success but also with constructive development of their team members and of their customers’ business (Arthur, 2002). The third element, skills, is reinforced by the commonly held belief that project success is determined from the expertise employed by the Project Manager (Winters, 2002).

Leadership may be as simple as acquiring training. According to a survey administered by Interthink Consulting, one in seven (14%) of Project Managers have no training (2002). A different study from Athabasca University in Canada observed that 58% believe that Project Managers have little or no formal training (Thomas, Delisle, Jugdev, & Buckle, 2002). Continual achievers are never content with the status quo and always seek to improve. Managers with conventional training in Business Administration or with related experience should not assume that they are as qualified to practice Project Management as effectively as those that have acquired additional training. The best maintain an edge by scanning for opportunities to effectively apply newly learned best practices.

Position strategically.

Though sometimes convenient, Project Managers perpetuate a negative perception when they are inserted into crisis situations where the management team wants a quick-fix reactionary function. However, to generate sustainable maturity in your organization, focus on strategic value through alignment of business needs (Thomas et al, 2002).

According to the PMI Fact Book (2001), it has been estimated that there are as many as 4.5 million in the US that regard Project Management as their profession of choice, and 12 million worldwide. Project Management is here to stay, although at times Project Managers operate with short-term thinking. Fads come and go, but hype should not be confused with value. The long-term credibility of the Project Manager is threatened if they subscribe to short-term fads because these can cause the business to refocus from important marketplace objectives. As such, the Project Manager should define his/her mission wisely and recognize that not everything is a project. Exhibit 2 distinguishes between types of work associated to projects, as opposed to processes (Martin & Tate, 2001). Further project definition could be drawn for instance by projected cost or criticality.

Comparison of Project versus Process Work

Exhibit 2. Comparison of Project versus Process Work

Manage the unexpected.

Wacky things happen. Project Managers should conduct risk management, inclusive of a Disaster Response plan for fallback options. In addition, they would benefit to build a contingency plan and workflow diagram that could be used if larger threats occur. These documents should be reviewed periodically by team discussion to rehearse, discuss, and solidify response plans (Mallak, Kurstedt, & Patzak, 1997). Project Managers should give attention to matters that are important but, moreover, are not yet urgent. See Quadrant 2 within Exhibit 3 (Covey, 1989).

Steven Covey's 7-Habits of Highly Successful People: Time Management Matrix

Exhibit 3. Steven Covey's 7-Habits of Highly Successful People: Time Management Matrix

Utilize project knowledge bases.

Typically, a greater level of investment is made into acquiring lessons-learned insight than in actually reusing the knowledge on future projects. Studies show that when lessons-learned are applied proactively, projects have up to a 15% chance of finishing earlier than other projects that don't (Cooke-Davies, 2002). Leveraging lessons-learned information is a sign of a learning organization.

Project Management Practices: Preparation

Align with business needs and apply the right level of rigor.

A comprehensive study reported that the number one factor in determining buy-in from executive management is the value-proposition of efficiency and effectiveness that Project Management provides (Thomas et al, 2002). Value is clear when the right requirements are being addressed. Brainstorming techniques such as the Nominal Group Conference is a powerful way to solicit requirements, identify risks, and solve problems.

Business cases and due-diligence exercises can help substantiate the “right level of rigor”. However, since this term is rather nebulous, we present a variant of Nike®’s famous branding campaign: Just do it, if! That is, this describes an approach to the design of a Project Plan that bases itself on the highest value that can be derived. Consider:

  • If the risk of failure is high, then formally document risks.
  • If the project spans across multiple business units, then formally document a communications plan.
  • If customer satisfaction is critical, formally document a quality plan (Weiss, 2003).

Regardless of the degree of documentation applied, two other components should be considered. First, Project Managers should get matters in writing. As the axiom goes, “it doesn't exist until it's written down.” One way to demonstrate the value of documentation is to communicate why each artifact is needed (Phelps, 2002). Secondly, before the project is underway, the Project Manager should work with the customer to negotiate what Project Success looks like by defining primary and secondary acceptance criteria as viewed by key principal stakeholders.

Cultivate relationships and develop partnerships.

Project Managers should strive to get skeptics onboard first, not last. One way to turn criticism into an asset is to reduce project risk by involving skeptics early through risk management meetings that capture their concerns (Martin & Tate, 1998; Juliano, 1995). A survey of 186 PMI IS professionals found that partnering with customer teams early in the project lifecycle was a significant factor that improved project performance (Jiang, Klein, & Chen, 2002), as was involving the Project Managers early in the process (Jiang et al., 2001; Ibbs & Kwak, 2000).

Select project size carefully and schedule effectively.

Thought should be given to the size of the project and whenever possible, election should occur in favor of a shorter approach that is phased in, versus one that is a “big-bang” (Vandersluis, 2003). Regardless of project size, delivering iteratively increases the likelihood of aligning with originally-stated business needs and pleasing the customer. However, certain conditions require the existence of large-scale projects and in such a case, breaking the plan into 30, 60, and 90 day increments may be a possibility to consider (Chaudhuri & Hardy, 1998; Whitten, 2002).

Project Managers are sometimes pressured to provide “dates”. Commitments should not be made unless they are backed with credible scheduling logic. A schedule is at a higher risk when it is finalized too early, when a project is more complex, when details are discussed only at a high level, when an optimistic bias is present, and when there is clear overuse of fixed dates (Hulett, 1995). Plans are often optimistically constructed upon the learning curve model, which essentially progresses from easier tasks to ones that are higher risk. However, by using risk management techniques to candidly address “the possible dark side” of the project and then bringing higher risks to close first, the feasibility of the project is considered earlier and the confidence level of the rest of the project schedule increases (Kroll, 2001). Setting the right trajectory from the start can make the difference between success and failure.

Another approach to consider when planning medium to larger projects, is to work with a fixed-rolling window schedule. Fixing only the near-in goal date and planning longer term flexible milestones is a planning technique that gives real-world latitude to both the customer and the Project Manager, as long as the agreed-to vision and budget are upheld (Abramovici, 2000).

Iteratively estimate.

Project Managers that refine their projections as well as hone their own skills are more likely to earn credibility from their stakeholders. Suggestions from The Juggler's Guide to Managing Multiple Projects (Dobson, 1999), follow:

  • Research knowledge bases and involve experts; factor in their optimism and pessimism, as well as environmental noise. Give more attention to tasks that could have an impact on the project outcome.
  • Undergo daily training to improve. Taking notes about how long things will take and comparing it to the actual time is one way to do this.
  • Know the general rules of thumb for an industry. As an example in the IT software industry, planning consumes about 33%, coding about 17%, component testing about 25%, and system test about 25% (Brooks, 1995). Support costs are generally at least twice as expensive as initial development costs.

Project Management Practices: Performance

Nurture the team.

Among all of the levers available to Project Managers, people matter most. Moreover, their level of focus and energy is amplified when they understand their sense of purpose. Purpose motivates. As a WWII POW, Victor Frankl (1984) noted that despite the harsh treatment they received year-round, deaths by natural causes occurred frequently when the prisoners felt abandoned - more often around the Christmas timeframe than at any other.

Another study of 650 projects from multiple industries cited “people factors” for 47% of the variance in determining project success (Cooke-Davies, 2002).

Effective Project Managers provide feedback and mentoring. Mentors should be sincere and listen to the protégé as if he/she was a hero. Although students learn more from actions than from words (Erman, 2000), protégés learn from receiving feedback when it is specific and descriptive, is well-timed and constructive, and is appropriate to their needs and desires; this is according to research based on 25 years of experience and over 500 studies (Smith, 1995). Project Managers can benefit by leveraging fundamental insights from Frederick Hertzberg's Hygiene Factors. He noted that employees are generally more satisfied when certain workplace factors are present such as achievement, recognition, growth/advancement, and job interest (Cunningham, Griffin, Martin, & Violette, 2002).

Yet, we know that conflict is a normal part of team formation. Conflict behavior has five predominant modes, only one of which is constructive: collaboration. This mode alone has a high desire to satisfy the concerns of both parties. This is untrue for conflict that is competing, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating (Pinto & Kharbanda, 1995). When developing the team, the chance of conflict can be reduced by defining rules-of-engagement that could include: roles and responsibilities, a “no surprises rule”, customer acumen, and perception management.

Measure progress.

If a project is six months late or 100% over budget, it became that way one degree at a time. Project Managers add value when they anticipate negative trends early and articulate alternative response plans to stakeholders. Establishing objectives and measuring progress adds value because it's not possible to fix what can't be measured. Project objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Accepted, Realistic, and Time-based (Smith, 1995).

Finish.

Clearly bringing the project to closure is a prominent way to show value. As part of the closing process, the Project Manager can align to the subsequent set of customer goals and assist team members in the transition to their next assignment. “Finishing” need not apply to the final project milestone. According to one study, 26% of those surveyed perform lessons learned throughout the project at regular review meetings, and 31% perform it during the project life cycle as needs arise (Kotnour, 1999). Above all, teams should celebrate not just upon final delivery but in step with the achievement of other significant project milestones. When done well, these can be motivational.

Project Management Relationships: Competencies of the Project Manager

Excel at the fundamentals.

Most contests are won because the contestants demonstrated superiority of the “basic blocking and tackling” of their trade. Project Management is no different. One very basic attribute is integrity and more than anything else, Project Managers should serve as the model. The Project Management Top 500 Benchmarking group recognized that the very best Project Managers demonstrate truthfulness (Cabanis-Brewin, 2003). Vocabulary is also important. Working with terms that the stakeholders can identify with is obviously useful, but often overlooked. In fact, using simple, clear language was cited by 87% surveyed as a strong factor in how successful Project Management is sold to others (Thomas et al, 2002). Project Managers would do well to select terms wisely and not accidentally distance stakeholders with special lingo.

Have fun!

Where one finds gold, another is encouraged to dig. If Project Managers enjoy their work, they would do well to let their face know so that it can smile! Despite the nature of Project Managers to seek stability and consistency, the organization should encourage humor to reduce stress levels. Kidding aside, Cartoonist Scott Adams (Dilbert®, “Don't”, 2003) suggests situating employees together so that there is some fun in the mix. Another common trait found in winners is that they forget they're competing because of their love for the game.

Reflect on the most valued characteristics.

Project Managers must command a careful balance of business and technical skills. Business skills include a functional appreciation of financial and business acumen, along with political savvy. According to an informal 2003 PM Network® poll (2003), the most important leadership characteristics of a Project Manager were cited as having soft skills (69%), a strategic vision (19%), a working technical knowledge (6%), and industry experience (6%). A 1998 study cited the top characteristics of an effective Project Manager as: leadership by example, visionary, technical competency, decisiveness, good communication and motivational skills, able to stand up to upper management when necessary, is a supportive team member, encourages new ideas, has high self-esteem, and is trustworthy (Zimmerer & Yasin, 1998). The Center for Business Practices (2003) polled 103 executives and listed superior traits required of Project Managers as goal achievement skills, speed, efficiency, effectiveness, an analytical approach, people skills, and an environmental awareness (Foti, 2003). Project Managers add value when they think “outside of the box”, do their homework, take chances, persevere, and make improvements.

Don't trivialize the importance of good communications.

Effective Project Management communications means varying the style and depth of reports and messages, according to the needs of the stakeholders. Some need only to be aware, others require deep levels of feedback (Juliano, 1995). Captain Abrashoff of the USS Benfold explained the dramatic turnaround of morale on his ship, from last place in the fleet to the first, merely by engaging in aggressive listening. He defines this as treating everyone he talked with as the most important thing at that moment (2002). Generally, Project Managers do not have difficulty in conveying their messages because this is a part of a systematic process. However, the same can not be said for the average skills with respect to listening. Project Managers can be even more effective when they listen well (Kemp, 2001) per habits identified by the International Listening Association in Exhibit 4 (Anstruther, 2003).

Summary of Listening Habits

Exhibit 4. Summary of Listening Habits

Consider a sixth sense: intuition.

Intuition involves “deep listening”. It begins with rule-of-thumb heuristics, but doesn't need to end there. When we trust our instincts, we are not mystic or spooky. As evidence, we ask the reader to consider their intuitive response to each of the following statements:

  • A team member says that their delivery will be ready this weekend. This is something you've heard every Thursday for over a month now (Whitten, 2002).
  • During a risk management exercise, you think “I have a bad feeling about this one”.
  • You've seen team members have epiphanies or Ah Ha!s such as “I just had a great idea, let's change it all!”.
  • You hear someone on your team say “He/she gives me the creeps”, or, “I can't explain it, but he/she is the right person for the job” (Cabani-Brewin, 2002).

Intuition doesn't defy our rational nature, rather, it complements it. As a case in point, consider Chess champion Gary Kasparov. His decision to make a particular move stems not from his capability to derive exact quantitative precision. In fact, by comparison to a supercomputer, Kasparov can only calculate up to three moves per second, versus IBM‘s Deep Blue which can calculate 200 million in the same time (“IBM”, 2002). Figuring an average move time of three minutes, Kasparov's 540 possible moves pales to Deep Blue's 36 billion (Peterson, 1996). Like Kasparov, our intuitive abilities are seasoned from our own intelligence and experience.

It need not be constraining to recognize that Western society plays to our scientific, tangible, and rational thought processes. According to the Institute for Management Excellence, intuitive personalities are those that live their lives from a strong belief and value system, and are able to laugh at themselves (2003). It's been said: “Trust your gut.” Trusting our instincts may lead us from well-established processes into no-man's land and so this takes courage. As Project Management consultant Neal Whitten states: “The person who consistently displays bold behavior will far outperform the other. A behavior of boldness helps propel a person beyond what he or she might otherwise achieve” (1997, 2000).

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Maxwell, 1998) suggests three levels of intuitive abilities: those that naturally see it, those who are nurtured to see it, and those that will never see it. When depending on intuition, effective Project Managers carefully consider which of these apply in their case and act wisely, not with mystique.

Project Management Relationships: Leadership of Project Management Organizations

Garner buy-in.

Based on findings from an informal PM Network® survey (2003), the most important factor in promoting organizational Project Management commitment is support of executive champions (64%), business alignment (27%), and use of established success stories and consistent methods (9%). Developing a strong alliance with customer stakeholders is clearly important to project success. Numerous formal studies reinforce this.

Establish consistent practices.

Project Managers have a greater potential for value when organizations provide support and treat it as serious and as credible as other professions. Some examples along these lines include establishing career paths, publishing operational policies (Fusco, 1997), and providing support organizations such as a Project/Program Management Office or Knowledge Center. Like individuals, organizations learn as well. However, organizational inconsistency is a primary source of struggle for Project Managers according to another informal PM Network® poll (2003). In that survey, 36% rated it as the number one concern and 42% of those polled said that a related factor also contributed: unrealistic (a.k.a. forced) estimates. Project Management is a journey and management would do well to recognize the Virtuous Cycle of Project Management, illustrated in Exhibit 5 (Ibbs & Reginato, 2002).

The Virtuous Cycle of Project Management

Exhibit 5. The Virtuous Cycle of Project Management

Continually mature both organizationally and individually.

A study published by the Center for Business Practices reported that half of the Fortune 500 companies represented said that they have a centralized project office (PMO), and they consider the trend to be on the rise (“Pinpointing”, 2002; “Organizations”, 2003). However, according to Computerworld® (2003), the reputation of most PMOs is non-constructive as “process cops and report makers”.

Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets in Project Management and the popular Maturity Model paradigm is no exception (Kerzner, 2001). Even as valuable as these models are, focusing on Maturity Models alone emphasizes explicit science and not on important factors that are intangible (Jugdev & Thomas, 2002). Much has been said about Organizational Maturity Models, but managers would do well to develop an Individual Project Manager Capability Model along side (Sauer, Liu, & Johnston, 2001). Exhibit 6 illustrates a powerful idea that guides the Project Manager from static rule-based thinking, to method-based, objectives-based, and ultimately, to dynamic value-based thinking (Seely & Duong, 2001; Hauschildt, Keim, & Medcof, 2000). As the world becomes increasingly more complex, the controls that we institute become a part of the problem rather than the solution (Cooke-Davies, 2002), but project leadership that is based on objectives and values is more likely to select a methodology that is flexible to the meet the dynamics of the business (Manmaster, 2002).

Individual Project Manager Capability Maturity Model

Exhibit 6. Individual Project Manager Capability Maturity Model

Execute strategy and manage the portfolio.

A 1997 Ernst & Young study revealed 275 portfolio managers valued execution of strategy more than quality of strategy. Yet, Fortune® magazine (1997) noted that only ten percent of strategies effectively formulated are effectively executed. Strategies convert to operational realities by managing portfolios of projects; Portfolio Management is a technique that enables the business to focus on top priorities across the enterprise. Aligning the portfolio to the business strategy is a certain way to infuse long-term value (Foti, 2002).

Start with the leading indicators.

There are literally hundreds of possible starting points for organizations to adopt when striving to improve their Project Management practices. According to research conducted by Interthink Consulting (2002), if an organization focuses on certain disciplines, then many other aspects of Project Management naturally follow suit. The leading indicators include meeting project goals, driving higher customer satisfaction, conducting project assessments, having a base for estimation support, using formal project completion processes, managing risk, being able to manage resource assignment responsibility, and having a technology for metrics and planning,

Project Management Relationships: Customer Responsibilities

In addition to time, scope, and cost, many experienced Project Managers believe that the triple-constraint of time, function, and cost has at least two other dimensions: customer relations (Pitagorsky, 1998; Volckmann, 1997) and expected quality (Plummer, 1999). Study after study shows that projects succeed if stakeholders get involved and if executive management supports it (Scott, 1996; Tan, 1996). Therefore, it is important to briefly mention the key responsibilities of customers.

Primary duties of an effective project sponsor include obtaining approvals, generating support to other key stakeholders, ensuring strategic significance of the project, resolving conflicts, supporting project communications such as period reviews, and encouraging recognition (Whitten, 2002). Duties do not include bringing forth half-baked ideas (“Project”, 2001), merely talking the talk, spearheading a project without any legitimate backing, circumventing processes to rush things along, nor excusing poor Project Manager performance. Customers are ultimately the ones responsible for knowing ‘when to say when’ it's time to cease further investment (Foti, 2002). It may benefit all parties to discuss myths and misconceptions that pertain to the effectiveness of Project Management.

It's clear: Project Management can make a positive difference.

Research reports continue to show the value of well-applied Project Management practices. A sample of recent findings is highlighted below.

  • In a study encompassing 136 projects from 23 organizations companies, evidence shows that the effects of Project Management are the same, regardless of the industry. However, good practices do make a difference. The same study reported that project schedules ranged from 40% late or 18% over budget when poor practices were employed, to six percent early or 4.5% under budget when good practices were used (Davies, 2000).
  • According to an exhaustive study led by Athabasca University in Canada involving 1,868 responses from 25 industries, 82% indicated that Project Management is used to increase the likelihood of delivering successful projects, 73% said that it enhances customer satisfaction, and 67% said that it improves financial measures (Thomas et al, 2002).
  • The Interthink Consulting Organizational Project Management baseline study (2002) reported that the average rate of improvement with Project Management in place was 37% for customer satisfaction, 30% for employee satisfaction, 54% for financial performance, and 22% for productivity and customer service combined. The same study reported that companies using Project Management processes exceeded delivery goals by ten to 25%, and routinely went under budget from ten to 25% of the time. Highest areas of impact were accredited to risk management, technology, and organization (“Delivering”, 2003).
  • Dr. Harold Kerzner, a prominent professor on contemporary Project Management practices, observes that the productivity gains increased 35%, pre-test defect discovery increased 22%, post-release defects decreased 39%, speed in time to market decreased 19%, and the average return on each dollar invested was five-fold (2003).
  • According to the Center for Business Practices’ February 2002 report, Project Management makes a positive impact across the board: quality was up more than 31%, staff productivity was up more than 22%, time to market, up more than 21%, and defect rates improved by more than 12% (“Methodology”, 2003). In that study, it also provided supportive data that improved: project and process execution of 50%, financial performance of 54%, customer satisfaction rates of 36%, and employee satisfaction rates of 30%. This study saw over a ten-fold return on dollars invested in Project Management. ROI was up 88%, return on capital employed was up 25%, productivity increased 61%, and customer retention improved 22%.
  • According to the Standish Group, project success increased 60% from 1994 to 2000 (“Methodology”, 2003). Coincidentally, during that same time, the Project Management Institute grew from 12,062 in 1994 to 70,035 in 2000 (PMI, 2003) and is on a track to double that figure only a few years later.

However, as with most things in life, more is not necessarily better. Experience shows that when too much is invested into Project Management, the returns slow down, stall, and can even be subtractive. The right balance of investment is achieved by organizations that carefully consider how best to implement it into their organization and avoid the law of diminishing returns on their investment.

In summary, Project Management is most impressive when it is applied well, with the pursuit of value forefront in the mind of the Project Manager, the Project Management Organization, and the benefiting customer teams. This paper presented and described a simple construct called the Project Management Value Model that can be used to engineer value into the business. It highlighted but did not attempt to define every conceivable tool that exhibits value, but rather, it sets a tone for Project Managers to adopt so that when any tool is used, a higher value is produced.

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Proceedings of PMI® Global Congress 2003 – North America
Baltimore, Maryland, USA ● 20-23 September 2003

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