Most organizations are just not into delivering successful projects. They don't target it or deliver it. How does your organization compare?

"You're just not into it"

There’s a book and film called, “He’s just not into you!” written by a man for women to explain that when their guy doesn’t turn up, cancels the date, doesn’t call when he said he would … they shouldn’t make excuses, rationalize it away or ignore it and carry on, they should recognize that … he’s just not into you!

I think I should write a book with the same objective for businesses and projects called, “You’re just not into it!”

Consistently organizations have problems with projects — how they’re started, the validity of their business cases, their ability to keep to the schedule or budget, the outputs being accepted by the business … yet they rationalize this away, make excuses and ignore it and carry on. Sound familiar?

Just like the women in the book/film, instead of stepping back and asking, “Why is this happening?” organizations try to do even harder what hasn’t worked before and hope for different results.

The reason why your projects are having problems is because the root project-delivery processes don’t deliver.

"Fixing" the project delivery processes

As organizations do more projects and experience more problems, they try to ‘fix’ their project delivery processes piece-meal.

They improve the business case. They change the project initiation process. They tighten the time reporting or resource scheduling system, upgrade the project management training — all to little avail.

Isolated ‘improvements’ of a deficient process will not deliver the results you want. Problems will continue to occur. Just as the book/film's women find that even if they change their behaviour or their responses, their men continue to disappoint.

The fundamentals are assumed to work because occasionally the stars line up and the processes are seen to work (3%-5% of the time) — when the right people are on the right project at the right time.

The processes are deemed ‘successful’ because the project goals and measures of success are been changed to what is seen as achievable — to, for example, on time and budget (achieved 30% of the time).

(This redefining of success as you go may seem an absurd proposition but is actually advocated by some consultancies!) See 'Can you choose your project measures of success?'.

The reinforcement of current beliefs

Belief in the existing processes is reinforced by the universities, training companies, consultancies and confirmed by the ‘research’ companies who all conveniently ignore the results experienced (or blame it solely on ‘poor execution’).

So there are a number of reinforcing drivers behind the current processes. They are basically unquestioned. Occasionally a variant, such as rapid application design, or 'agile development' is offered that ‘re-arranges the deck chairs’ rather than questions the fundamentals of the existing processes.

And so organizations continue to put up with the poor results. Many have now curtailed their expectations to a low level to increase their measured levels of success!

As a result, these organizations are just ‘not into it (project delivery)’ — yet continue to spend millions of dollars each year on projects.

The need to shift to a value-based focus

To ‘get into it’ you need to not only re-cut the project delivery jigsaw — how each element fits together — but also we need to change the picture to a benefits-focused project delivery process.

Now there’s an idea — focusing our projects on benefits. Whatever will they think of next?


Your organization's 'value delivery capability' determines the success it will deliver on projects. 

Explore more here.


Topics: Capability Development, Value Delivery, Program / Project delivery

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Feb 2018) as "Is Your Organization Into Delivering Successful Projects?"

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