Project & Business Management have many technical aspects that can easily follow logic. This can also thus be easily learned (business school, conferences, books, memorization).

This leads to many people that understand detailed project methodologies and systems, but don't really know how to link it to Business Success.

They lack understanding in the difference of getting the job done - so you can check off your requirements box  VS  delivering high performance value that leads to making a business impact.

Many businesses identify and assign project/business goals (quarterly/annually), then go into a zombie type of work mode that focuses on "working hard, putting in time, checking the boxes and then getting a bonus once it gets done" attitude. This gets work done and can be perceived as success, but then so much "is left on the table".

The opportunity is that typical businesses lack clarity on definitions of business value and performance and focus too much on requirements. I also think this can in part be attributed to the fact that projects and business involve people and people sometimes do not follow logic.

Solutions evolve and risk events occur continuously (small, large and are cumulative). People are the greatest influence on risk management and they themselves can be very unpredictable month over month based on many, many variables including:

  • things at home, 
  • personal conflicts, 
  • lack of trust, 
  • past history, 
  • variance in knowledge/skills/experience, 
  • culture, 
  • expectations, 
  • vested interest, 
  • personal strengths/inhibitors, 
  • capability performance index, 
  • etc

This is why so many businesses are turning to smaller, more modular projectized environments.  To help get work done try to break down the work and then also the definitions of value/success and performance into smaller, simpler, more manageable pieces. Take shorter term views (temporary with a distinct start and finish) with staged, formal milestones from the very start to very end. Understand there will be uniqueness to the project based on variables of the people and the risks at that given time. Draw upon the past, leverage a common platform from which to work from, but then be agile and open since if a business process is not working, persist, persist, adapt and overcome.

Sample tools include:
1) Intangible Assessment:  once you have the requirements, step back and reassess from the higher level (put your CEO hat on) and question the theory side of things, the value definitions, the justifications. Clearly formalize how you define value, success and performance.  Then understand a process how to adapt if those definitions start to change as the project gains clarity (so if the project changes, then revisit and adapt the definitions as needed - be realistic).

2) Tool Re-Assessment: re-assess the concrete systems, tools, templates and technical practices, confirm if they are well aligned with both the work and the team, understand the difference between policies, procedures and guidelines (which are which)

3) Org Design Assessment: assess the team in place, do not be afraid to change it, it is nothing personal, tooooo often we do not properly allocate the people to the prioritized work, we set the people into their jobs, then new jobs take who ever is available, ensure the culture is open that people will be moving around based on the business priorities and the fit between the job and the people

4) Milestone Check Points:  schedule far in advance (entire project) the milestone checkpoints that focus on critical success factors (CSFs) and have a formalized process to do so. Try to avoid pure gut-feel decisions and utilize graphs to supplement the progress.  Some checkpoints may take days to prepare and execute, other checkpoints may take hours. If things are not working to plan, do not be afraid, you need to understand why (not only what) and then understand who are the right people to involve.  Often the opportunity for improvement (OFI) is with the people and how they understand and respect the processes and technologies they have available - in order to help everyone achieve "Business Success".