portfolio to play a bigger role in driving profits should require their project
managers to create robust, fact-based
business cases for all endeavors, suggests Caroline Leies, managing director
at MorganFranklin, an IT consulting
firm in Washington, D.C., USA.
“Many times projects only come
up with subjective or qualitative benefits,” she says. It’s all too easy to focus
exclusively on timelines and risks, and
forget about the numbers behind the
“I have seen very positive relationships with the finance department when the project manager or
PMO establishes, manages and tracks
the project and the business decision
throughout the project life cycle,” Ms.
Avoid the pitfall of rushing the
planning phase. Organizations that
force the creation of a business case
before the true scope and level of
effort for the initiative are known end
up with meaningless numbers.
In her experience, the PMOs that
played an important role in increasing
profits have adhered to the following
n Business cases were developed to
obtain project approval and included
a timeline for benefits realization.
nAfter the business requirements
were finalized, a stage-gate decision
was made regarding how to proceed
with the project. This required the
business case to be updated and
approved before the initiative moved
into technical design and build.
n After implementation, benefits were
tracked and reported to executives
for eight quarters.
n The project manager and the project
leads from business and IT had their
bonus compensation tied to the real-
ization of the project benefits.
As the sponsor of a project to redesign a provider portal, Ms. Skrabak
“ensured that the key project objectives were translatable into metrics
that added the most project value,
and ones that we can book hard savings for.”
MISTAKES COST BIG
Although finance managers and project
managers have different perspectives
(and pressures) within an organization,
projects from concept to
cash, suggests Caroline
Washington, D.C., USA.
“Benefits realization after
the project is completed
is not only a program
management best prac-
tice but also establishes a
culture of accountability.”
hard benefits the organization can
book savings against, she adds. That
means project managers should be
armed with background informa-
tion and prepared to substantiate all
assumptions about a project.