Preface

Why this Book and why Now?

You can’t read any project management publication or business trade journal these days without seeing references to the astronomically high failure rates for projects. It’s common to see project failure rates being reported as high as 60%, 70% and even up to 85%! These failed projects, consequently, result in billions of dollars of wasted money. It’s also common to see business leaders commiserating around water coolers about their out of control project costs and the negligible business value that results from all this spending. It pains me to see such staggering statistics and discontent from corporate leaders because I know it’s not due to the lack of effort or competence of project professionals around the world. There is something inherently flawed in the way projects are being managed and executed at all levels of organizations to have so many of them result as failures. These flawed approaches have to stop if we are to prevent this disturbing trend from continuing.

I don’t lend much credence to all of those alarming statistics regarding the costs and percentages of failed projects and I won’t definitively quote any of them throughout this book. But one thing is for sure, there are a lot of project failures occurring out there and this is not good. We need to stop wasting our valuable time, money and efforts on failed projects. There are too many skilled and dedicated project and business professionals to allow this trend to continue.

Why do so many projects fail? Quite simply, it’s because they don’t deliver the financial value or business benefits they are set out to deliver.  At best, they deliver a fraction of their targeted business outcomes. What’s truly unfortunate is that project professionals often execute these projects flawlessly and receive sign-off and approval from satisfied stakeholders, and yet these projects still don’t deliver the expected results. A strong emphasis is placed upon project delivery, but the focus on value attainment is seriously lacking.

The transformation from project management to project value management is long overdue. All levels of organizations must embrace this transformation if they are to turn their project failures into project successes. Project investments can only be successful when they deliver their expected business returns. By embracing and implementing business-focused, value-driven project processes and techniques, organizations can consistently achieve optimal and sustainable business returns from their project investments. This book shows how organizations and individuals can make this transformation.

 

Who is the Target Audience for this Book?

Projects are financial and strategic investments implemented to produce maximum financial returns and beneficial change in order for organizations to maintain or increase their competitiveness in the marketplace. Projects are instrumental for a company’s long-term success and even survival. It is imperative, therefore, that corporations achieve, and even exceed, the desired results from their project investments. In order to achieve these strategic results, all levels throughout the organization must play active roles in project selection, execution and value attainment efforts. With any project, important decisions are made, funding is provided, resources are allocated, change is implemented, resistance is overcome and behaviors are modified. It takes more than just the project manager and core project team to perform these critical activities, but requires active involvement from practically all areas of the business. For this reason, the target audience for this book is anyone involved in the end-to-end delivery of project investments, from project ideation to value attainment. We are embarking upon an organizational transformation, not just a project management one.

Professional Development Game Plan for Success

Organizational transformation begins with individuals, and this means you! At the conclusion of each chapter, you will find a section called, ‘Professional Development Game Plan for Success.” Warren Buffet, a man who knows a thing or two about investments, says, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”  In order to transform ourselves and those around us into business-focused, value-driven project professionals, we need to invest in our professional development to enhance our knowledge and capabilities in key areas of project value management. Irrespective of your title or role within your organization, you, undoubtedly, have some involvement, authority, influence, decision-making abilities or input into one or several projects. By following the Professional Game Plan for Success at the end of each chapter, you will enhance your knowledge and capabilities considerably in value attainment processes and techniques and, as a result, will be able to positively impact your organization and the outcomes of all of your project investments.

They say that knowledge is power, but knowledge with action is even more powerful. For this reason, you will not only be learning, but will be taking action as you navigate the Professional Development Game Plan for Success. I will be asking you thought-provoking questions to stimulate your mind and to help you determine your appropriate courses of action. I highly encourage you to take the exercises seriously and put forth the effort to learn from them and apply them to your jobs. Too often, we read books and immediately forget about what we just read. The Game Plan for Success will prevent this from occurring. I will be asking you to revisit and scrutinize some of your prior project deliverables to solidify what you’ve learned in the chapter. I will also be asking you to develop strategies and action plans for your current or future projects based upon the lessons that you learned from the chapter and your prior projects. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of writing down your findings, conclusions and action plans! Writing down this information will set your development efforts in motion and will create the roadmap to your eventual success.

You can record your information however you see fit, but we’ve provided a downloadable, easy to use Professional Development Game Plan for Success template at www.jross.com for your convenience. This template is designed around the questions and action plans set forth at the end of each chapter and can guide you through the process. You can print the template and write down your information the old fashioned way, or you can do it on your computer. It doesn’t matter, as long as you just do it. Let’s get started. Go ahead and download this template and be on your way to becoming a business-focused, value-driven professional who delivers maximum and sustainable business value from all of your project investments!

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