Done right, you can tell which projects are on track, are chewing up resources, or will put the rest of the portfolio in jeopardy.
But that’s the key: “Done Right.”
Often, project managers are asked to track all sorts of metrics…and it takes intense work to get that information collected and formatted for the executive team.
Then, six months later, there’s a new twist, or an entirely new set of metrics to gather. The PMs go crazy trying to chase that new rainbow, frustrated because their project isn’t any better or worse for the metrics they’ve already collected and presented.
What’s going on?
The executive team isn’t being flighty. They’re not trying to give their already busy managers more work.
They’re doing what they can to understand the impact of multiple forces on the success of the company.
And whatever metrics they were using just didn’t provide the answer. Or, they worked for some projects but not others.
Let’s go back to the key: “Done Right.”
It typically comes down to the goals and values of the company, as expressed by the executive team.
And I don’t mean what’s on the publicized mission statement.
I’m talking about the heart of the company. For example, is it a relentless pursuit of growth? Or a cadence of new product releases? Is it employee satisfaction and longevity with the company – or perhaps that of the client?
Even within the C-Suite there could be differing viewpoints. Marketing – IT – HR…they all naturally have a different focus.
Whatever the goals and values may be, they’re not “wrong”.
The struggle comes when they’re not aligned.
Misalignment brings conflicting metrics.
Sometimes “compromise” metrics are added to keep all executive stakeholders happy. When the real corporate goals and values aren’t clearly expressed and shared amongst the executive team, the metrics they choose won’t really hit the mark. They won’t tell the health and trajectory of the projects.
What’s needed is a hard look at the real goals and values of the company before the metrics are chosen.
- Start with the past. What were the most successful, notable projects in the past? Why? What happened with them?
- Look at the stated mission and goals. Did those super-successful projects actually support what’s been publicly posted? How? If not, why not, and what values did they represent?
- Look to the future. What does success look like? Will your current goals and values help you get there successfully?
- Look around you now. Do the current projects fit into this vision of the future? How can you tell?
Past, present, & future. External & internal. Review the company’s goals and values from all angles.
It may not be easy, and it may mean taking a step away from the office with a facilitator to do it. But this clarity is absolutely essential to success.