Discover your project performance maturity score here.
Project controls are processes that help ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget. They are essential because companies cannot afford constant cost and schedule overruns. Nor can a business afford to gain a reputation for delivering projects late or with low quality. However, despite the presence of project controls processes at every projects-driven organisation, projects still fail to return planned value the vast majority of the time.
Instead of considering successful projects a happy anomaly, companies can and should utilise technology to institutionalise best practices from high performing projects and teams, bridge the gap between planning and execution, improve visibility of and access to information, increase efficiency, optimise resources, and apply common metrics across all divisions and departments.
Some Concerning Statistics
Too often, companies take a siloed approach to project management. There may be some project controls in place, but they aren’t used consistently or successfully across the entire organisation. Project management data is spread across many tools and departments. This is pretty easy to see looking at a few project management and budget statistics.
- Less than 6% of projects deliver planned financial returns, while 98% of megaprojects overrun costs by more than 30%.*
- Only about 22% of companies report that they have efficient systems and regular reports addressing corrective actions.**
- 85% of companies say that their projects systems have little to no integration.**
A major cause of low projects performance is that systems are disconnected, and project management processes are inconsistent across project teams, departments, and divisions. Project teams are bogged down in manual, labor intensive, and error prone processes, slowing down how quickly projects are completed. Many documents, reports, and other project data lack version control, increasing the likelihood that the wrong files will be used. This can lead to duplication of work, loss of work, and multiple versions of files and documents, which can further delay the project. Communication tends to suffer from an inconsistent approach, and as a result, change management becomes a real challenge as budgets, timelines, costs, and other important data may not be sent to stakeholders in a timely manner.
Automation and Standardisation
Technology can help enable automation, consistency of metrics, and standardised best practices across your business, helping you get the most out of your project controls, and driving efficiency and predictability across the enterprise. The best way to put project controls in place is to apply them a company-wide for all projects and departments. Focusing on project controls at a macroscopic (instead of microscopic) level makes it easier to track progress, manage resources, and forecast the performance of all projects and portfolios.
Establishing metrics and standardised best practices, even if they must be adjusted on a project-by-project basis, gives project teams a starting checklist so that they can begin projects already knowing what needs to be done. This makes it considerably easier to anticipate needs and plan around the tasks that will take longer. If it appears that something will take longer than expected, teams can begin coordinating with clients to adjust deadlines or to shift planning later in the project.
By applying consistent processes across projects, you can also more easily see when the project is meeting different milestones. Then, you can quickly and easily assess how resources can best be balanced in order to ensure the project progresses unhindered. Automation can also minimise scope creep by eliminating time consuming and error prone processes that might otherwise cause delays.
As managers, teams, and stakeholders get accustomed to these process, it becomes easier to determine realistic expectations while budgeting and planning future projects. Decision making becomes more proactive instead of reactive, ensuring projects stay on schedule. it builds confidence and trust within the group and opens communication. Individual team members are also better able to meet the needs of the project because there is greater clarity in their roles and responsibility.
Expanding Project Controls to Improve Enterprise Projects Performance
Technology has made it easier than ever to achieve better projects performance across your enterprise. Some of the ways that enterprise projects performance software can help improve project outcomes are:
- Integrating critical sources of data, so that all project stakeholders can easily access and report on data at any level of granularity. It also serves as a repository of historical project information for use in benchmarking, forecasting, and predictive analytics.
- Providing greater efficiency and effectiveness through automation.
- Increasing visibility of project and program performance across the entire enterprise for everyone who needs to know.
- Standardising internal and external best practices.
- Tracking progress and enabling early AND accurate forecasting, increasing predictability and giving management more time to mitigate potential risks.
Digital transformation has been a growing trend for a couple of years, but by the end of 2017, the trend reached a tipping point. As projects become more streamlined for those who utilise enterprise projects performance software, it will become harder to compete with them, forcing others to join the trend. Beyond the pressure to keep up with other businesses, a single data focused platform can be an important part to any company’s digital transformation strategy.
Improved Company Image
By streamlining projects, consistently meeting deadlines, and staying within established guidelines, your company creates a positive, consistent image that will inspire confidence from customers and shareholders. A holistic, integrated approach to projects ensures open communication and clear expectations for all departments. As an increasing number of companies realise the benefits of enterprise projects performance software, decision making will be more informed, companies will have more insight into what drive project success, and the performance of the industry will improve.
Where do you stand?
If you would like to see how enterprise projects performance can help your business, use the self-assessment tool to find out the maturity of your current projects performance practice. It will help you determine how a holistic, integrated approach to projects across your enterprise will improve performance.
*Source: Construction Industry Institute, McKinsey: The Construction Productivity Imperative
**Source: Project Controls Survey – Logikal Project Intelligence 2017