In my last post, we looked at how two sponsors and their stakeholder team took a risky but potentially lucrative undertaking from inception to profitable conclusion by focusing on incremental value and delivering one step at a time.
In this post, we’ll look at the damage a CEO inflicted on his organization when he failed to fully assess a vendor’s claims and refused to listen to and act on the facts when the purchased solution failed to deliver to expectations.
Thanks to reader P.A. for providing the details on this case.
This mid-sized general insurance company supported its core personal and commercial insurance lines on decades old mainframe applications that had been modified and added to over the years to the point where they were costly to operate, difficult to change and slow to respond to new opportunities.
If you recall from Part 1 of our article series, a successful project benefit validation infrastructure depends on some key elements that span throughout the project governance process. Let’s explore those elements.
Project Benefit Validation Guidelines
Developing rigorous Project Benefit Guidelines is key to a successful project benefit validation process. It is within this development exercise, and subsequent guideline implementation, that all the project benefit rules are defined and set. The guidelines house the benefit definitions, project categories, examples, tools and templates needed to execute a strong project benefit validation process. While a certain set of guidelines for an organization can be lengthy, understanding the foundational definitions that are core to the guidelines are crucial. Those definitions should be defined as Tangible and Intangible, replacing the typical industry standar definitions of hard and soft benefits.
Over the past decade or so, I have been involved in project work performing a variety of roles. I have led the enterprise PMO and played the role of an executive sponsor, yet there still exists a wide spread perception that executives do not do enough to support the delivery of projects.
The gap between perception and reality regarding strong executive sponsorship for project work is closing but not fast enough. I’ll be the first to admit that executives can do much more to play an instrumental role in seeing projects through to the very end. But project teams must appreciate and understand that executives have a tough job at hand.
In addition to project work, C-level executives in general have to manage corporate strategy and departmental plans, commercials and contracts, financials and budgets, people and technical resources, administration and logistics, and last but not least office politics. Striking the right balance between project sponsorship and these activities is extremely demanding, and all too often the work load takes its toll.
Nonetheless, this should not serve as a pretext for executives to become inactive spectators when sponsoring projects. On the contrary, it can be argued that by managing the company’s work in terms of projects and programmes, executives can optimize how to manage their work load better.