Achieving Value & ROI through the Right Projects

A project means nothing without a delivery – a valid delivery that serves business in a meaningful way.

In achieving value and proper returns, an initial benefits estimation is key.  It must be accurate and show targeted areas of improvement as addressed by the project and its initiatives.  In this regard, the senior executive class is then likely to support and sanction the project, as well as its priority ranking in the hierarchy of other projects and initiatives that compete for the same resources.  Those resources comprise such things as time, personnel, and money – and competition is always keen.

Evaluating areas for improvement is relatively easy vis-à-vis implementing the right projects for best returns.  “Rubs” are not hard to find, while change always represents risk, and projects have some gloomy statistics associated with them.  Nearly half of all projects suffer budget overruns.  Again, nearly half have higher than expected maintainance costs, and that definitely cuts into ROI and business value.  In fact, 41% of projects fail to deliver on business expectations for value and ROI.  In assessing potential projects, keep in mind that “the solution must solve.”  The project’s destination must match the business destination regarding the closing of a gap between present (presumably sub-optimal or lagging) business performance, and that which is desired.

But further, project’s destination must be fully supported by many things other than proper fit to a mere bottom line requirement.  Many organizations have purchased top-of-the-line software applications or production machinery only to find that personnel lacked the training or aptitude to utilize these things.  Be careful to make certain that any project’s elements include all considerations for moving the organization to a better place.  Be certain that a project’s deliveries integrate with the whole of the organization and its other supports and practices.  This can even include satellite offices, vendors, consultants, solutions partners, etc.

Performing a full survey of all considerations is key in selecting, prioritizing, and implementing the right projects for best ROI and sustained value through those deliveries.

Therefore, when determining and showing the project’s value, it really becomes a vetting process:  It shows the project’s proper definition; its access to and alignment of supporting resources; its budget; its timeline as fit to the organization’s other initiatives and obligations, and as importantly, its fit to other elements of the organization and allies.

Thus, a vetting in determining benefits and exposing value yields a project that surfaces as a “right” project, and ROI is a justified and fulfilled expectation.

About the Author: Steven Pfeiffer is an independent consultant for his firm, Melior Partners, LLC. Prior to forming Melior Partners, Steve was Executive Director – Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma, for a leading life sciences company, where he led the global rollout of Lean Six Sigma, which generated over $6M in benefits during the first year. Steve spent several years as a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting where he earned his Master Black Belt in Enterprise Lean & Six Sigma and served as a regional leader.


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