Executive Visibility: Four Key Ways to Improve Project Information

Gaps in key pieces of information are causing many C-level executives to make important decisions about projects without fully understanding the inherent risks and opportunities.

This is one of the main findings in
“Putting the Truth on the Table,” the latest in a series of reports about strategic project portfolio management by The EPPM Board, an international steering group of senior industry executives, academics, and commentators.

This report analyzes the root causes of information gaps and concludes that executives should be focusing on four areas: evolving corporate culture to gain more-accurate information, analyzing opportunity as well as risk, achieving greater visibility into supplier operations to help mitigate risk, and implementing practices that improve the relevance of information presented to management and enhance the overall health of the project portfolio.

1. Evolve the Culture Toward Truth and Visibility
The EPPM Board found that senior leaders might not get the insights they need due to how staff members report issues and problems. One example is excessive optimism, which was apparent when the Cranfield School of Management analyzed 400 projects and found no reports of impending glitches. To address behavioral challenges such as these, the C-suite must have technologies in place to collect information anonymously, such as through mobile devices and apps.

2. Analyze and Weigh Opportunity As Thoroughly As Risk
Operations and delivery teams often concentrate on identifying and managing risk, but this approach can miss important opportunities. Using enterprise project portfolio management technology can identify opportunities for turning portfolios into strategic assets that produce measurable benefits. The portfolio can then be viewed as an investment that can be advanced in different directions as the fundamentals behind a strategy change.

3. Reach Beyond Organizational Walls for Insight into Supplier Operations and Capabilities
Suppliers and contractors are often judged solely by their ability to meet deadlines and manage costs, but this limited criteria may conceal underlying risks. The C-suite should insist on detailed reports about how effective major suppliers and contractors are at delivering projects when confronted with change. This level of visibility enables executives to make strategic decisions on the suitability of third parties beyond mere cost.

4. Implement Project Assurance Practices
Project assurance provides impartial assessments about the necessary resources and risks needed to ensure successful implementations of capital investments. But some organizations fall short when developing unbiased and comprehensive analyses. Creating the new role of chief project officer may provide a resource who can gather and present data in a way that is relevant to C-level leaders.

The full report delves into each of these areas in detail—and reinforces The EPPM Board’s findings that improving C-level insight is critical to enabling better business decisions.

Download “Putting the Truth on the Table” by The EPPM Board.

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