Organizations try to improve their project delivery methods - this is the wrong approach, they need to improve their value delivery processes

Exploding Project Myths – 3

Business and portfolio management’s reaction to continuing poor project results is invariably to try to improve the project management tools and methodologies used in the organization in the belief that this will improve project results.

This approach demonstrates action, but will only marginally improve the results delivered.

Project management addresses the ‘how’ projects are delivered; not the ‘what’ the project is delivering or the ‘why’.

Think of a project like a film with a poor plot and poorly drawn characters. You can improve how the film is made; but if you don’t improve the plot and characterisations, the film will still be poor.

The Real Truth

The quality of the results delivered is determined by the quality of the business' value delivery processes

Business value delivery and project management are two different sets of processes. Project management controls project delivery but value delivery delivers the value.

So, project management methods rely on the effectiveness of the value delivery processes for the project’s success and results.

TOP's core value delivery processes are:

  1. Project initiation how the project is set up for success.
  2. Business simplification  how the business requirements are simplified to reduce costs and boost business performance.
  3. Business case generation how the value proposition is defined and optimized.
  4. Change delivery how the required business changes are identified, planned, communicated, and executed (whether by the project or by the business)
  5. Benefits management how the value proposition is progressively and cumulatively realized.

Improving these five core processes directly improves the project results and value delivered. Improving project management does not achieve the same results.

NB The first two value delivery processes – Initiation and Simplification – are often missing or highly deficient in many organizations as they start with the business case!

Topics: Capability Development, Idea / Project Initiation, Mental Models, Beliefs and Myths

Further Reading



[1] ...

Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (June 2011) as "Project Methods Control The Results Delivered (Myth)"

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