Friday, October 17, 2014

What's success in the PM biz?

Here's an Infographic with a Standish-like message:
  • The majority votes for input (cost, schedule)
  • Output, where the only business-useable value is gets a shorter straw
Why does the voting to this way? Probably a result of PM incentives and measurements: success only comes from controlling inputs. Re success, definition of: No, heck no! Strong message follows.

As I write in my book (cover below) about Maximizing Project Value, there's cost, schedule, and there's value. They are not the same.
  • The former is given by the business to the project; the latter is generated by the business applying the project's outcomes.
  • Cost is always monetized; the value may be or may not be.
  • Schedule is often a surrogate for cost, but not always; sometimes, there is business value with schedule (first to market, etc) and sometimes not. Thus, paying attention to schedule is usually a better bet than fixing on cost.
  • Value may be "mission accomplished" if in the public sector; indeed, cost may not really have value: Mission at any price!
"Let [everyone] know ... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." JFK, January, 1961

In the private sector, it may be mission, but often it's something more tangible: operating efficiency, product or service, or R&D. What's the success value on R&D... pretty indirect much of the time. See: IBM and Microsoft internal R&D
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