Consistent planning and business strategy implementation are essential for any organization; from keeping up with competitors to adjusting to market trends and just about any other business-related functionality in between. However, studies show that there is a worryingly high failure rate when businesses go from forming a strong PPM project management strategy to successfully implementing it.
An Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report published at the end of last year found that 61% of companies often struggle to bridge the gap between project management strategy formulation and implementation, and that only 56% of strategic initiatives that companies put together are successful. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at what’s causing such unflattering results, glean some insights from the issue and provide guidance so that your company ends up on the right side of these numbers.
Good project management strategy is a priority for any company – certainly in the above report, where 60% of those surveyed said improving their project management was a high or very high priority. And yet, the ability to recognize the importance of something doesn’t automatically mean you can implement it well, it seems. Comparing the figures, there is a real disconnect between project portfolio management as a priority and being able to implement best practices when it comes down to it. So, what gives?
With the best intentions, the actual practice of project management is a long way off the expressed intentions of those in the corporate driving seats (i.e. the C-suite). While senior management say they are prioritizing strategy implementation, few are actually doing so successfully. For instance, 10% of companies have conflated portfolio management with their strategy implementation, and a further 10% broadly align the two. Worse still, 19% don’t use portfolio management at all, and 34% use it in a sporadic and inconsistent manner. The Project Management Office (PMO) for these businesses are, it might appear, relegated to paper pushing, and generic report generating.
Yet, it’s not as if business leaders are attempting to deceive when they seem to be saying one thing (aspirational) and doing another (practical limitations). One of the main reasons for poor project management or reasons why well-intentioned strategies fail, comes down to poor resource management. PMOs have cited resource management as one of its biggest challenges, and unsurprisingly resource management is indelibly linked to project management. It sounds obvious, but it’s worth pointing out that any project conceived by a PMO – or equally any strategy thought up by a business – requires the right resources to implement correctly. When those resources are not managed correctly (or aren’t available to begin with) projects become hamstrung.
Essentially, companies are still using tools such as Microsoft Excel that they have long outgrown. The amount of content, data and other information that most companies have to deal with, and are generating themselves, these days is way more than this kind of tool can cope with.
No Project Manager goes out to fail on purpose, but because of the tools they are using, miscalculations happen. Lack of visibility occurs. The inability to view project portfolios holistically hinders the work, and resources are mismanaged. It turns out that 50% of projects are not resourced properly – in fact, 20% of all projects should never have been started in the first place.
Your company needs to have a clear vision and mission, for sure. Best practice PPM can help you implement your strategies. But moreover, you need to actually view your projects on a collective basis, as part of an overarching plan. A lot of projects are linked and related to one another, and so a key move is to see them all in the context of the others. Without this, project teams may be unaware of how their project fits into the overarching strategy.
A lot of the time when we think of resources we think of the right employees being given the right tasks, or a big financial budget to play with. Often, however, the root of resource management issues can actually be found in the tools businesses use to get their work done.
Insufficient resources and the wrong tools lead to a breakdown in the chain and that is a big reason why the gap between strategy and implementation exists for many companies. And it’s here where Tempus Resource comes in.
Designed to be used by companies of any size, Tempus Resource is a powerful project management solution that pulls in and uses data to give you clarity over your resources and helps you make expert decisions over your organization’s project portfolios.
Your data can be entered directly to Tempus Resource or imported from existing tools like Microsoft Project Server and Project Online, so you can forecast and analyze current projects or run ‘what if’ analysis on future projects and see where your resources should be focused. By using Tempus Resource, you can realistically bridge the gap between project management strategy and implementation.