Success Comes From Being Excellent At ‘What’ Not ‘How’
If you make a film, “how” you make it is less important to its success than “what” you make.
If you make a bad film with a poor characterization and plot, however well you make, it will not improve the core film. If you improve the film quality, the lighting, the cameras (the ‘how’) but not the plot or characters, then you’ll still have a turkey (even if its exquisitely made!)
Most of the attention on projects for the past 20-30 years has been focused on the “how” — principally project management. Methodologies, books, support systems, training and qualifications on project management abound, but the success rate on projects has not increased. Indeed, they’ve not improved since the highly cited AD Little study of 1991.
So, if the success rate on projects is not improving, then we must be focusing on the wrong dimension.
The “what” has not only been neglected but has been significantly downplayed in recent years. Clearly and comprehensively defining your business requirements has been decried and denounced as unnecessary.
And all the while the project results don’t improve.
Is it only me that sees a connection here?
The primary determinant of success is that you deliver what your business requires — the ‘what’. However well you deliver your project, if you don’t deliver what is required, you’ve failed. Simple.
Rather than sending yet more people to be trained as project managers we need to send people to be trained in project value delivery — identifying, defining, designing and delivering the “what”.
When I conducted a worldwide study on project delivery (for The Boston Consulting Group), the impact — good or bad — of project management on the results was negligible.
What made the difference were how well the requirements and required changes were specified. Get that wrong and over 50% of your value was lost.
Funny that. That’s the same statistic of value loss that most organizations experience with their projects. Coincidence or driver?
What do you think?
Post your comments below.
TOP's Business Simplification Program shows previously untrained staff how to accurately and completely specify their requirements.