Ensuring The Correct Project Scope

There are two current common practices that are at the heart of project scope problems. One common practice is the dissection of organizations into silos (functional areas) combined with the initiation of projects that try to optimize within a silo. The damage can be illustrated with two real-life examples. In one case, the company had many sales campaign projects that brought customers into their shops and call centers requesting new, advertised products. At the same time, due to poor distribution logistics, the shops were often out of stock of the advertised products. Due to inadequate order entry systems, any customer that wanted two or more products had to wait while the salespeople re-entered all of the same customer information, often infuriating the customer to the point of canceling the transaction.

In another example, a procurement manager claimed to save over a million dollars per year in material costs while, at the same time, production stops due to the new materials were causing lost throughput of $100,000 per week. Every two weeks, the company was losing more than the annual savings from material cost reduction.

The portfolio manager must actively seek to replace this common practice of project scope within a silo by looking at the organization as a whole. Projects must be connected, cross-functionally, to make sure that the bottom line benefit to the entire organization is increased.

The second common practice that hurts scope is for technology solution providers (internal and external to an organization) to take responsibility solely for the delivery of the technology rather than partnering in responsibility for the business result that the technology is intended for. Technology providers argue that they have no control over the business results. This is correct in the current paradigm. In the future, they must become full collaborators with the functional heads.

In order for this current paradigm to change, one of the following two scenrios much occcur:

►Technology solution providers must develop a much better understanding of the business requirements to be willing to take a stake in the business results.

►Business leaders must develop a much better understanding of the technology to better specify their needs, or both.

In either case, the IT resource crisis that we find so common across most organizations could be resolved overnight, simply by significantly reducing the project rework and waste through a strong, collaboration model.

In general, to begin to overcome these two scope issues and create a much more successful project portfolio management outcome, organizations must initiate cross-functional business training to help their top functional leaders, including IT, better understand the cause-effect relationships and conflicts between functions. Further, the organization must be sure that their metrics for each functional area (and the scope for any associated projects) are holistic, not silo-oriented. Finally, IT internal resources and external vendors should be asked to identify the limitation that any new technology is intended to overcome, what rules (policies and procedures) the organization is currently using to cope with those limitations, and how the rules need to change when the new technology is put in place. These actions will go a long way toward overcoming many project scope problems.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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