The Portfolio Management Office must ensure the project delivery methods deliver the business' desired outcomes, rather than just "finishing" a project.

Threat #3 - When the Methods and Tools Fail to Make Project Delivery More Efficient and to Enable the Delivery of the Desired Business Outcomes

Organizations invest in projects to deliver the desired business outcomes and reap the benefits and ‘bank’ the value.

But most project delivery methods are not set up to enable the efficient and automatic definition of each project’s desired business outcomes, benefits or value. Instead projects are set up to deliver outputs, deliverables or ‘capabilities’ - not the working business-as-usual environment the business desires. 

Project methods have been written for the project fraternity not the business.

However, projects are a joint exercise between the business and the project team. Just because you have business-based governance team, doesn't ensure that you have active, informed business involvement.

Instead if sponsors and business stakeholders are to direct and lead effectively and to be fully involved, they need to know what to do, when, why and how for each stage of the project. This is not something that the orthodox methods cater for - as they only focus on the project team.

We are now seeing the rise of a new wave of (still project-based) ‘experts’ — business analysts, architects (of various types), change managers and benefits managers. But these are a structural solution to a business process problem - that business executives in governance roles are ill-equipped to be effective. 

The solution - a business-based capability in strategy execution and value delivery

The Project Portfolio Management Office needs to introduce and support a business-based capability in strategy execution and value delivery.

This business strategy and value delivery capability needs to incorporate not only these five processes:

  • Investment management processes
  • Portfolio management processes
  • Project governance processes, and
  • Benefits management processes

It should also include these four processes

  • Business based project initiation processes

  • Business requirements simplification and specification processes

  • Business case generation processes, and

  • Business based Change delivery processes.

In conclusion

When business executives who are involved with project roles are fully trained, supported and involved, they can provide the leadership & direction needed for the project to be successful and generate the necessary plans and outputs to ensure it is so.

As a result resistance to change disappears and the time and costs of implementation go down while the quality of the results go up.

By ensuring that the required processes & training are created,  the Project Portfolio Management Office can visibly demonstrates it contributes to the success of the project portfolio and the organization and its strategy.

It really is that simple.

Topics: Capability Development, Process Management, Value Delivery, Risk Management, Strategic Project Portfolio Management, Program / Project delivery, Project Governance, Outcomes Thinking, Path Dependency


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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Jul 2015) as "Potential Threats To Portfolio Management Offices (3)"

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