OnPoint, LLC

Project Governance – It’s Okay to “Just say No”

According to a 2014 report “Project Smart” by The Standish Group (https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/white-papers/chaos-report.pdf), only 16.2% of projects were on-time & on-budget, while 52.7% were challenged, and 31.1% were impaired or cancelled.” Why were so many projects considered unsuccessful? Here are some of the top-ranked reasons:

  • Lack of executive support and user input or involvement
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Technology incompetence and lack of resources

If a projects lack executive support, are unrealistic and the teams are inadequate, why were they approved?  Perhaps they were launched under the radar.   Maybe it was approved because a politically powerful executive thought it was a great idea, but lacked the time to provide executive sponsorship.  It’s possible that organizational cultures value boldness and eschew prudence.

The impact of these project failures extend throughout the organization.  Project team members feel responsible for the failure and morale takes a hit.  Talented leaders are blamed for the failures and some feel compelled to resign and others become overly risk-averse.

The solution is effective portfolio management and governance processes that result in more than just rubber-stamped “yes” decisions.  Portfolio management and governance must also result in “not yet” and even “no” decisions.

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