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