Project success requires you to know all of the activities required, your path dependencies and your benefits' up-to-date value. Do you know this for your project?

If you don’t define what ‘true business success’ is, you will not deliver it. Simple.

How the TOP Value Equation ensures true business success by defining true project success

It does this through six simple processes. Here we describe processes three to six.

3               Quantifies the financial benefits so that they can be simply managed throughout the project’s duration and beyond until they are fully realized

The bases and assumptions of each financial benefit (its ‘value drivers’) are made clear so that they can be tracked from day-1 and the impact, positive or negative, of any changes to a value driver can be immediately identified, quantified and action taken where necessary. Any projects that become no longer viable can be identified and be stopped.

Knowing the value of the financial benefits is most important when they are being realized. You therefore need absolute clarity as to the nature, source and integrity of each value driver at the time of quantification. Then you can track and measure each value driver’s up-to-date value throughout the project and beyond and thereby be in control of your project and its success.

Failure to track the up-to-date value of each financial benefit can allow a project to become non-viable without anyone noticing, for massive value to ‘vaporize’ or, alternatively, for the available value to increase but this extra value not to be known to exist.


4               Identifies ALL of the change activities required to deliver both each outcome and full business success

Most times only the project activities are defined upfront and, maybe, later some ‘change plans’ will be generated to ‘realize the benefits’. But it is all a bit hit and miss.

The Value Equation ensures you identify all of the change activities required for success regardless of whether they are to be executed by the project team or business staff. You now know your overall workload (and can cost it) but also can identify change activities that can be executed immediately and during the project to deliver progressive benefits. Some call this ‘progressive change and benefits realization’ while others call it ‘agile implementation’.

Each change activity, whether delivered by the project team or business staff, needs to be defined to produce a measurable output—a policy, a plan, a technical specification or whatever. The delivery of these outputs then needs to be scheduled with a number of specific outputs due each month. In this way the progressive 100% complete delivery of these change outputs is measured on a month-by-month basis. This gives you a clear, simple measure of progress towards success.

When the project outcomes are defined, the change activities required to deliver these are allocated to the project team to execute, making clear the workload left for the business. If this business workload is too much or too complex then the project can be adjusted to reduce the post-project workload to ensure the remaining benefits and value are able to be fully delivered by the business.

The current approaches to projects and change routinely miss key change activities that are then ‘discovered’ late in the day creating ‘extra work’ and time and cost overruns. This is all unnecessary and leads to failure.


5               Generates an Outcomes Dependency Roadmap

This roadmap shows the path dependency of the outcomes’ delivery—which outcomes need to be delivered first to last. The impacts of decisions made on scope, timing and benefits can now be made with full visibility of their immediate and downstream impacts. No longer will, say, scope decisions be made that unknowingly destroy downstream value. Each decision’s impacts can be assessed and quantified. You are in full control of your project, its value and success.

Critical paths and the like may be useful project control tools, but they do not convey the business path dependencies and up and downstream dependencies that you need to control and ensure success.


6               Enables value optimization

While stricly not part of the Value Equation process, the Value Equation outputs enable value optimization.

As each desired business outcome has both its benefits (and their value) and change activities (and their costs) attached, you can now quantify each outcome’s net value. High-cost/low-value outcomes can be reassessed

            Can they be eliminated without any adverse impacts on other outcomes and their value?

            If not, can they be redesigned to increase the value or reduce the costs of delivery, or both?

In this way the net value of the investment can be optimized. It is not unusual to find you can deliver over 90% of the available value for around 60% of the original costs.

Optimization delivers a massive increase in your returns on investment without losing much value.

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Topics: Project Success, Value Equation

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Sept 2015) as "How To Define True Project Success For Your Projects-2"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections