• Mats Berger, Director |
3 min read

I recently reflected on the challenging year of 2023, during which many organisations experienced turbulence. However, what seems to persist year after year in most organisations is the challenge of funding, managing and realising the expected outcomes of projects according to strategy and business case.

Too often, I observe projects being postponed, necessitating major changes, experiencing scope creep, with delivery phases prolonged for months, requiring extra funding for 'unforeseen' issues and encountering indecisive steering committees. It's as if a slight derailment of the project causes it to fall apart. Suddenly, the project loses priority with the steering committee and is perceived as a cost rather than a change enabler. Why is this?

I believe two primary reasons contribute to these issues:

Reason 1: Project execution and project portfolios are not linked to business strategy

Very seldom do I see a linkage between corporate strategy and the transformation roadmap as defined by the CxO or business owner of the projects. Questions such as 'How does this project increase our ability to sell?' or 'When will the project outcome of xx million Euros in CAPEX reduction reflect in our financial balance?' or 'Will the run-budget decrease as planned based on the outcomes of the automation project?' often go unanswered.

Due to this lack of linkage, it becomes challenging for stakeholders to argue for the correct urgency of the projects.

Reason 2: Project funding is inadequate

Don’t get me wrong; the agile way of working is great. However, sometimes, when we employ agile development methods, we tend to scope the initiative too small. We focus solely on the first Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and fail to secure the organisation's commitment to the full scope of transformation. Consequently, the funding received is often just sufficient for the initial change, leading to a loss of momentum when additional funding is required, which hasn't been secured or allocated.

Financial project management is rarely neglected in projects (in fact, today's project managers often find themselves doing more financial administration than actual project management, but that's another story). However, it's often disconnected from the necessary business transformation and strategy, resulting in low transparency and inadequate funding.

One source of truth for the overall lifecycle of delivering on strategic priorities

A tool is never the sole answer to a business challenge, but it can be an enabler for eradicating the worst practices I see in projects, such as the ones I have mentioned above.

The value chain from initiative to strategy, roadmap, project, implementation and finally delivery with the required value is a lengthy process involving multiple stakeholders, different budgets and numerous processes and tools. When the discipline is complex, we need a platform to ensure that we can track and report on data and decisions throughout the initiative. This enables us to make the best decisions based on business priorities and ensures that we make informed decisions regarding the need for extra funding.

My colleagues and I have successfully transformed the Project and Portfolio Management discipline for many clients, resulting in on-time and on-track projects that are aligned with business strategy and investment funding.

Feel free to reach out if you are interested in learning how we have achieved this, have any questions, or would like me to delve into other topics.

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