How do you measure the benefits of your project management system?
There’s a paradox when trying to measure the success of an enterprise project management implementation. How can an organization measure any improvement when there was little or nothing being measured before? This problem is compounded by the fact that many organizations want to rush into an implementation without establishing a baseline that accurately defines the current situation. Many organizations are hesitant to spend the time or money required to measure their initial situation thoroughly. Often organizations will say “they don’t have a current system in place; they’re a green field site; so just go ahead and implement”. There’s nothing to measure here, move along!
Ironically, benefits are the only reason that a project is initiated in the first place.
An organization needs to spend the time necessary to create a solid business case and thoroughly assess its current practices and capabilities before commencing an implementation. If an organization does this, it will be in a better position to measure both the tangible and intangible business benefits once the implementation has taken place.
The time and effort spent on this initial assessment also presents an opportunity to better plan the implementation itself. The more detailed the assessment, the better handle the organization will have on the real challenges and risks ahead, which will result in a more detailed and accurate implementation plan.
After a successful implementation, an organization can use the initial assessment as the baseline to measure the results. But why wait? If an organization has done a thorough job with the initial assessment, it can measure the results of the implementation as it is taking place. It’s not uncommon to deploy capabilities in phases or by group, allowing the organization the opportunity to measure the results as the project unfolds.
This presents a mechanism that allows an organization to promote the benefits of a partially implemented system, perhaps at a time when it is experiencing implementation issues or user resistance, or when management support is waning. An organization is then able to revisit the original business case and demonstrate the positive results to-date with empirical data.
So, how can an organization measure the improvement when there was little being measured before? In summary, when implementing an enterprise project management system, spending time up front assessing the current practices and capabilities will result in numerous benefits, one being the ability to better measure the benefits themselves!