There are 8 self-evident truths that are too often ignored. This is destroying the business value delivered. You need to know the Truths.

Changing Perspectives Leads To The Truths

As we've seen, the addition of the two lenses - business value and investment strategy - changes project delivery. Importantly, they reveal the eight ‘Self-Evident Truths’ about projects. These Truths lie outside the perspective of current cost control based approaches and their absence leads directly to the poor performance of projects.

The Truths allow you to prevail against the current cost control based belief systems that still predominant in the world of project management, and put you in a position to raise your project performance to (proven) extraordinary levels – routinely more than doubling conventional results.

TOP's "Eight Self-Evident Truths" provide you a new and solid foundation for project and value delivery management. You can now use the strategy and value lenses to refocus your end-to-end delivery bases, assumptions, and processes to substantially increase each project's effectiveness, strategic contribution, and realized business value.

The Eight Truths underpin all aspects of the TOP approach to strategy execution and value delivery.

The challenges of the new

ideaNew ideas or perspectives are usually opposed.

We all know the excuses:

“They don’t fit,”

“They don’t work”,

“They’re not needed”.

Edison was even told the world didn’t need electric light!
Even when they stop being opposed, new ideas are only slowly accepted. When Doctors Barry Marshall and Robin Warren proved that ulcers were caused by bacteria and could be treated with antibiotics, they were universally disparaged by their fellow doctors, specialists, academics, et. al. Everyone ‘knew’ that ulcers were caused by stress and that there were accepted treatments to reduce stress and thereby cure ulcers. Twenty years later, once these doctors' findings were accepted by others, their recommended treatment gradually became the norm. (it took 40 years, but they finally won the Nobel Prize for medicine!)

New Ideas Take Time To Be Accepted.

New ideas compete with the establishment, and the establishment is reinforced by journals, professional bodies, academia, and, importantly, strong belief systems and vested interests. Belief systems hold that older accepted ideas “must be correct” otherwise they wouldn't be so widely accepted and practiced. Belief systems hold that the current processes (treatments) produce the desired results even when the evidence is to the contrary. Vested interests are intent in monetizing the training and knowledge they’ve gained to date and discouraging anything that threatens that knowledge (think: consultants).

Meanwhile, the poor levels of project performance current today demonstrate that we urgently need a new approach if we are to improve the results from our projects.

The Eight Self-Evident Truths

When you view projects through the business value and strategic investment lenses you find eight ‘self-evident truths’ concerning projects and programs that the current single cost control lens tends to miss.

The eight ‘Truths’ are …

  1. Don't start projects you cannot successfully deliver
  2. Projects deliver the business strategy
  3. Projects are commissioned to deliver the business benefits
  4. The primary focus of projects is business outcomes
  5. Projects exist to deliver the business case
  6. All projects are change projects
  7. The primary project controls are scope and value
  8. Projects should be business directed, led, and governed

Hopefully, these Truths seem self-evident to you, yet organizations continue to:

  • Ignore the fact that most projects fail on one or more dimensions
  • Fail to educate, train, or equip business management to effectively lead, govern, and direct projects
  • Measure success by project delivery efficiency (time/budget), and not business benefits realization
  • Remain unable to analyze which strategies are and are not being delivered by projects
  • Skip or skimp the critical step of defining the business requirements in end-to-end process terms
  • Allow scope creep to destroy business value or cut scope without cognisance of the business value impacts
  • Fail to define the target end states to be achieved as clear measurable business outcomes definitions
  • Fail to make the business case and its value proposition the central focus of the project
  • Focus on managing the cost, but not the value or the business results
  • Treat benefits as hoped for after-effects rather than the primary purpose of the project
  • Relegate ‘change management’ to a sub-role on most projects and expect the business to manage change (largely) unaided
  • Fail to close the loop and measure the actual benefits realized vis-a-vis the total value available.

We’ll explain why in subsequent blogs.

Topics: Value Delivery, Standards/Frameworks/Methods, Benefits Management, Program / Project delivery, Project Governance

Further Reading

Read the other blogs in this series

The 8 Self-Evident Value Delivery Truths #1 Why We Need A New Approach

The 8 Self Evident Value Delivery Truths #2 Limiting Beliefs

The 8 Self Evident Value Delivery Truths #3 Who Is Accountable For Value

The 8 Self Evident Value Delivery Truths #4 Don't Start What You Can't Finish

You can read the full list of the self evident truths in our eBook




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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Nov 2010) as "The 8 Self Evident Value Delivery Truths #1"

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