Align your project for success and a healthy ROI by learning to manage the triple constraint.

Most people in the business world expect their projects to be completed on time, meet their quality objectives and fall within the allocated budget. To most managers, time and money are critical factors to be carefully considered in any decision. These various factors make project management extremely challenging for organizations—and perhaps why time, quality and cost are commonly called the triple constraint.

Today’s business leaders recognize that advanced decision-making capabilities using proper project management techniques can directly improve their organization’s performance. To do so, however, a project has to be meticulously planned, effectively implemented, and professionally managed to optimally achieve the objectives of time, cost, and quality or performance. Proper alignment of project objectives, customer requirements and resource capabilities are also key requisites for managing project success and return on investment (ROI).

A project manager’s toughest decisions are to ensure their projects stay on the correct course and follow the defined flight path. A recent survey found that more often than not, these decisions are based on 30 percent data, 30 percent group think, and 40 percent intuition, which is really past experience.

The role of project management is to deliver projects on time and on budget for optimum return on project investment. Effective project management practice should lead the way to results your business can bank on and add value.

Aligning Your Project for Success and ROI
Executing a project successfully and delivering a healthy ROI is an important project management challenge. To be successful, a project team needs to manage the triple constraint. Project management practice means less time in meetings and more time to work on the activities and deliverables of our projects… time management!

To achieve real success, the basic goal of ROI must be aligned with the project’s time, cost and quality objectives. An effective project management practice should:

Case in Point
The following is based on a real project management case study. Mike Winkler attended ALIPRO’s Project Delivery Cycle (PDC) training expecting a project management refresher. However, by the end of the training, his whole perspective on how to manage programs had changed. He learned the importance of managing program ROI and how to use PDC practices to accomplish this practice.

Mike left the training energized and on a mission to manage his program success and ROI. His first task was to determine the true state of his program. Using the project financial model he received in the training, he quickly generated his first ROI forecast and realized he had a big problem!

Mike’s program ROI status was in fact bright red. He knew he had his work cut out to put the program back on a healthy course.

Using what he’d learned from the training, Mike was able to refocus his team to manage their program ROI. He began by “walking the patch” to proactively manage day-to-day issues and bring a new sense of urgency to his team. This improved their performance by readily fixing problems, forcing decisions and providing clear direction. He also implemented a structured PDC to emphasize the management of time, cost, quality, resources and ROI. This ensured the team met at regular intervals to resolve crucial delivery issues. Additionally, Mike used project management methodology for delivering projects and programs to center team meetings on problem resolution. Meeting time was reduced by three hours per week and yielded improvements that addressed and corrected program issues and made sure the next set of deliverables were met.

By using the financial model from the PDC training, Mike took control of his program ROI forecast. His team learned how to use this information to manage their delivery performance and identified and implemented changes to work their program ROI from red to black. Mike also enrolled his management team by regularly presenting program status using PDC report formats. By identifying key ROI issues, his organization’s eyes were opened to act on high-level delivery issues and provide Mike with the direction and support his program needed.

Six months after his training, Mike highlighted how the application of PDC practices helped him turn his program around:

The Bottom Line
And what happened in the end?

The program was launched on schedule, and within two years of full-scale production, was the first company product to gain its projected market share. Mike’s product still yields a significant return to the business, and his team members have moved on to develop and launch other successful products following PDC practices. As for Mike, he now leads other program managers to succeed by managing their program ROI.

It is important to use project management practices, which are basic, easy to understand and can be rapidly applied to demonstrate value on projects. Most importantly, good project management practices center directly on managing your project’s bottom line. iBi

Jerrod Hock is vice president of ALIPRO, a registered education provider for the Project Management Institute. For more information on PDC training or other project management services, visit alipro.com.