Augmented Competitiveness: 9 "deadly sins" to avoid in projects
Projects are a central step in the value creation process between the identification of a business opportunity and its transformation into a commercial success.
Yet, a lot of projects fail to capture all the potential value contained in the identified opportunity or have eroded a great deal of it by the time the opportunity has become the successful product or service it was meant to be.
Cross-industry project performance benchmarking studies in capital intensive projects, following traditional management methods (e.g. waterfall, linear phase-gated approach, detailed upfront planning followed by execution) benefit from a long legacy of project effectiveness metrics and show a relatively consistent pattern of root causes behind the inefficiencies and flaws leading to underperformance.
They boil down to causes that will impact the “doing the right project and doing the project right”mantra.
Amongst these, the most prominent ones are:
So does it mean that they suffer from a different set of inefficiency causes?
Attempts to record performance metrics in projects delivered following the “agile” methodologies have also started to emerge in project management literature. They tend to focus on:
1) The estimation of the required effort (time and budget)
2) The productivity of the team
3) The progress against lead times and queue depth
4) The ability to handover a product meeting the end-user quality requirements
5) The business value to the customer
6) The requirements misinterpretations and problems with “stories”
7) The issues faced by the team
The focus of these metrics show a close similarity with the leading performance indicators derived from benchmarking in capital intensive projects, hinting at the fact that what causes agile-based projects to underperform is likely to be rooted in the same type of issues (see “deadly sins” table above).
As a consequence, it should be possible to grow project management skills, which minimise the negative impact of these generic underperformance factors, irrespective of the delivery approach used.
Indeed, they ultimately relate to the competitiveness of the project, which depends on the correct definition and understanding of value, scope and risks, on the one hand, and on the effective use of the available resources, including team organisation and its leadership, on the other hand.
These skills combine experience, mindset and attitudes. They require a practice-based approach to develop the behaviours enhancing the outcome of the opportunity realisation process, through a more competitively designed and executed project.
In order to acquire these skills, ALL4ONE consulting has designed a serious game, re-creating project design situations in environments closely similar to competitive business contexts. The “ALL4ONE TROPHY” simulation, based on offshore sailing race scenarios, offers the same level of constraints, risks, competition and dynamics, as in a typical business project and requires the adoption of an approach minimising underperformance root causes.
This experiential learning platform can be used to boost project competitiveness during a one-day training session or integrated into a more comprehensive team building programme.
Picture credits: © Dongfeng Race Team