There are eight steps that easily move your projects to optimization - more value for less cost. Avoid unnecessary compromise.

What does it mean to optimize? 

"To dramatically improve project performance by increasing the value delivered while reducing the costs of delivery."   -Jed Simms

To some, the shift from compromise to optimize seems like an impossible dream.

But is it?

Optimization is not unreasonable. To dramatically improve project performance all you have to do is:

1. Clearly outline exactly what you intend to achieve – and define this in a set of clear, specific, measurable business outcome statements (SMART goals) Most projects don’t ever do this.


Define your business requirements in end-to-end process step terms

(most projects use functions and features)
3. Define and quantify your ‘value equation’ – the business value the project is going to deliver (most business cases only have a spot for a list of ‘benefits’ and another for the ‘ROI’ - this is inadequate)
4. Optimize the project – deleting or modifying high cost/low value elements to deliver, say, at least 90% of the value for around 60% of the original cost. (most projects don’t know which elements are high cost and low value)
5. Focus the whole project on realising the business case’s value equation – delivering the business outcomes, benefits and value in full (most projects use the business case to get funding, and then shelve and forget it)
6. Treat the whole project from day-1 as a ‘change project’ (most projects see change as an activity they’ll get around towards the end of the project)  
7. Deliver benefits progressively throughout the project (most projects see benefits as something that is delivered at the end or after the project)  
8. Train the governance team to own, protect and deliver the value equation and be measured on the delivery of this value (most governance teams wonder why they’re there).  

These eight steps – many of which are missing on most projects – will move you significantly towards optimization. And they are not difficult to do.

Topics: Value Delivery, Value Equation, Program / Project delivery

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Apr 2011) as "To Improve Project Performance Optimize Don't Compromise"

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