The Project Notebook

Its All About Value

Last night I just started reading Creating the Project Office: A Manager’s Guide to Leading Organizational Change by Englund, Graham, and Dinsmore. One thought that immediately struck me is many organizations are looking at Project Offices to cut costs rather than for the value they can bring to the organization. Making improvements and ultimately changing the way an organizations does business requires an investment before the value can be realized. Eventually reduced costs will be an outcome, but not before other value is obtained.

I was part of a similar discussion a few weeks ago. The discussion centered around the value of Project Management. One participant in the discussion indicated that colleages should downplay the discussion of the value of Project Management because there are only a few academic studies supporting the idea. He further went on to say that some studies only showed that Project Management mades schedules and budgets “more predictable”.

I was stunned because there is huge value right there. If I were able to predict the outcome of horse races and other sporting events, I could immediately become a millionaire. Likewise, if I were better able to predict the outcomes of my projects I would achieve value for my project sponsors. Resources would be better utilized, flow of funds would be easier to manage, and I’d better know when to “pull the plug” on failing projects. While this might not equate to direct costs savings, the value generated could be huge and ultimately, I would be saving money.

So if you are thinking about initiating a Project Office, key benefits would include the value it would bring to the organization. There is not a set model for a Project Office and they can be tailored to the needs of individual organizations. The idea is to do fewer projects well, making sure there is a solid business case for each one.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP