To improve the ROI from project investments you need to uplift your value delivery capability and measure the results of each improvement.

Are Project Results Improving?

Billions have been spent trying to improve project performance. Billions! And what can anyone point to as the return on this investment? There has been little-to-no improvement in the past 30 years.

But, let's be generous and assume things are improving.

Do you know why things are improving (or even if they are)?

Even if your project results have consistently improved, do you know why and how this increase in ROI from project investments was achieved, and why the approach you took was better than any alternative? Was it a planned process improvement or just a ‘better project manager’ that achieved the results?

Every now and then corporate boards get frustrated at poor project results and commission some form of ‘project performance upgrade’ project. But how are the results to be measured? In reality mostly by a reduction in the number of large-scale projects that fail (as it is usually the big, complex projects that fail).

But is this appropriate? This is measuring ‘success’ as “avoiding failure”. Avoiding failure is a core driver of many project delivery methods. You’ve got to do better than this.

Tracking success

Attempts to improve project performance need to have clear, specific, measurable business outcomes so that their success and results can be tracked and measured, including the resultant increasing ROI.

But here we come across the ultimate “Catch-22”.

You need the very value-based tools, techniques and processes you are seeking to deliver to be part of this upgrade process in order to define, track and measure your upgrade's success!

What to expect

So how do you break out of this conundrum of needing the measurement tools to measure the existence of the measurement tools? Think about it this way...

  • Project delivery methods deliver…projects.
  • Projects deliver outputs and (and this our contra-orthodoxy) a few benefits.

If you are going to improve your business results and returns from your project investments you cannot achieve them by improving the delivery of projects, outputs and a few benefits. You need to change your perspective.

  • Value delivery approaches deliver…business value.
  • Value delivery projects are wholly focused on delivering business outcomes, benefits and value.

Where to start


Therefore you need to start your delivery capability uplift by focusing on value delivery management as opposed to project management.


In Conclusion

When you do focus on value delivery management, you will then define the desired business outcomes of your capability uplift program and what specific benefits and value you will deliver as a result of delivering each specific uplift outcome. Now you can track the improvement in results and returns back to the specific actions taken to uplift your value delivery capability.

You are now in control of your ability to deliver projects and maximize their returns. This is not ‘Shangri la’ but a basic business accountability that impacts capital management.

Remember McKinsey found excellent capital management and execution led to a 30% increase in share price and profitability over time. The payoff for improving your value delivery capability can be massive. As with any journey, it all starts with the first step.

More than 20 years ago TOP set out on a mission – to help you to define, develop and deliver your value delivery capability improvements and optimize your capital returns.

Adoption of TOP is the fastest way to uplift your organization's value delivery capability. 


Topics: Capability Development, Value Delivery, Capital Investment

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Mar 2014) as "What You Need To Improve The Results Of Your Project Investments"

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