No business today can escape change. Whether it’s in response to competitive pressures or compliance mandates, companies will always have multiple projects underway to evolve the business. While the original intent of these projects is to transform the business through organizational changes and process improvements, so often they become solely focused on the technology.
It’s easy to understand why. Project management methods center around technology implementation, from requirements gathering to testing. Technology is usually the largest cost item in the project budget. And, while some people find technology the most interesting part of the project, many people would agree it is also the least contentious.
But a focus strictly on technology, at the expense of organizational change and the supporting process improvements, will leave the business shy of realizing the outcomes they set out to achieve. Often, this is where projects become failures. While the technology may change the tools that the business uses, the processes and organization have not changed and the business never fully adopts the technology in a way that leverages its full value.
To prevent the tendency to implement technology for technology’s sake, or to bring a technology-leaning project back to center, the organization must continually keep the original vision in focus and manage the projects and programs towards achieving the intended value. This is not as difficult as it might seem. Using what we call an “outcome model,” the vision can be decomposed into the outcomes that support the vision, the initiatives that will drive the outcomes, and ultimately to the underlying projects needed to achieve the vision.
The glue that binds the projects to the outcomes is in key performance indicators or KPIs. KPIs are a series of measurements that align business processes and activities to the business goals or outcomes. These measurements can objectively track the ongoing progress of activities, including project activities, and quickly identify when they begin to veer off track.
With defined KPIs and baseline measurements, these metrics can be managed over time to ensure projects continue to remain on track and support the outcomes the business is looking to achieve.
While technology is generally a major component to most projects today, it’s rare that technology, alone, will deliver the organizational change and value the business is looking to achieve. Barnard Howard’s outcome model methodology can help make sure your projects achieve their fullest potential and stay on track to meet your company’s vision.