Improving Project Management Processes Through Six Sigma Business Strategy

It has been common to read about project failures and problems. In 1994, the Standish Group reported survey results indicating that 46 percent of IT projects were over budget and overdue, while 28 percent failed altogether. In 1999, a Robbins-Gioia Inc. survey of project managers found that 44 percent of them have had cost overruns of 10 to 40 percent, and only 16 percent consistently met schedule due dates. In 1999, the Standish Group updated its report results and showed improvements in project failure rates, although the percentage was still considered very high and profit-consuming.

No matter how projects fail, it always means losses in terms of a company's financials and customer loyalty. For this reason, failures in project management should be treated as strategic challenges.

Someone charged with company results, facing project failures and profit challenges, would be tempted to adopt generic evaluations and prescriptions that could be quickly implemented, without a deep understanding of the company- and environment-specific characteristics. What companies really need is to understand their own project management maturity—represented by their project management approach associated with their business environment—in order to surgically implement effective actions to improve their project management processes.

Here rests the justification for the adoption of a Six Sigma strategy for a project-driven company. A Black Belt certified professional, using DMAIC, could evaluate and find the real problem(s) and root causes within the project management processes and suggest customized solutions. Like an experimenter at his or her lab bench, the Black Belt could precisely respond to questions like: In which corner of the magic triangle (scope, time, and cost) lies the major problem? What are the project management processes to focus on? What are the causes for the problems? Which engine associates each of the causes to each of the problems? What are the best solutions to attack these causes? What are the impacts of these solutions on project results? On company-wide results?

A Six Sigma approach to this situation means: No generic solution is acceptable, but rather a fact-based specific process-improvement solution that fits the company maturity phase and its business environment is what's necessary.

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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