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August 23, 2018

Why are CIO’s Frustrated with Traditional Project Management?

There is a lot of press currently where CIO’s and other technology and business leaders are trying to move away from ‘IT Project Management.’ There is push toward business-led PMO’s, ‘Project’ Managers/ Owners and other variances.

I see this happening in two ways.

  1. Tech has historically been generally bad at large scale projects and has poisoned the phrase ‘IT project’ so we need a semantic reboot. Branding is important; Let’s give it a new brand, name, tag. The key is that it cannot stop there.
  2. The NEW methods are really variations of how we should have managed projects/programs all along.

I put to you that the reason why many IT projects fail is that they are not customer focused, they are run from IT only and have no real mini-P&L or financial model that follows it along.

If we apply three rules to all technology projects – we can justify the new branding.

  1. Company Initiative vs. IT Project: The Initiative needs cross functional ownership – Sales and Marketing NEEDS to be part of a new system rollout, Operations NEEDS to be in lock step, the PM NEEDS to represent all team members.
  2. Customer is always in mind: What will this improve for the customer? What will this take away from a customer? What is valued by the customer? What customer risk are we taking and how to we mitigate them? If you are not asking these questions, you are risking the most important stakeholder.
  3. Run it like a business offering: The project/product/program should have its financial assumptions well mapped out and they should be reviewed and revised as thing progress. A mini-P&L or balanced scorecard like statement should be part of the updates and should be kept visible. As a 6-sigma person I believe in ‘to improve, you must first measure.’ This statement should reflect what truly determines if the project is successful or not.

I am all for re-branding technology project to the name de jure but the more important aspect to success is ensuring we are doing what we have known all along should be done.

Agree, disagree or want to talk about how to get there? Reach out and let me know.

—By Michael Bailey, Principal, ESG


About Michael Bailey
Global technology executive Michael Bailey excels at large-scale systems consolidations and business transformations. With three decades of experience translating business into technology—and vice versa—Michael specializes in the seeing the big picture and defining clear and tactical steps to get there. He’s a Six Sigma Black Belt who delivers operational excellence.  

As a Principal at Denver-based consultancy Execution Specialists Group (ESG), Michael is focused on working with clients to drive transformation through complex program leadership, change management, and defining technology roadmaps that complement a client investment cycles. Michael leverages his global acquisition and integration experience with differentiating technology across brands, business units and industries including maritime shipping, biotech, internet provisioning, office products, print management, promotional marketing, retail, restaurant and commercial kitchen supplies, equipment and parts. Additional information on Michael Bailey can be found on LinkedIn.

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