Learn From Project Management Case Studies
Projects may feel unique to your organization, but you can bet that someone out there has lived through the same challenges as you!
That’s why it’s useful to read project management case studies to see how other organizations tackle problems common to all kinds of industries. Problems like:
- Needing to standardize your IT tool stack to bring everyone on to the same project management products
- Needing to carry out project audits to spot where things could be improved and to increase management confidence
- Needing to introduce new project controls that scale to fit the types of project you are working on.
Case studies are basically stories that tell us what other organizations did to be successful. Below, you’ll see three case studies in project management that demonstrate exactly how businesses addressed each one of those challenges and took advantage of structured project methodologies to deliver change.
We’ve also added some key takeaways and tips for implementing the lessons from the case studies into your own project environment, because it’s always helpful to learn from other people’s experience.
1. Standardize systems for business benefit
Network Rail was using a variety of planning systems across the organization and was looking to improve overall efficiency and control by standardizing to a suite of Oracle products including Primavera P6.
The expected benefits included:
- Being able to forecast the use of resources
- Creating less labor-intensive plans
- Reducing duplication of work
- Saving staff time having to learn new tools as they move from one project to another
And many more.
Network Rail, supported by Ten Six, successfully introduced a new consistent planning, cost management, risk and estimating tool-sets and processes across a user base of 1,000 people, supported by over 7,000 training days. It was one of the biggest systems and process implementations of its kind in Europe, including creating schedule and cost baselines for over 2,000 projects.
Takeaway: A standard suite of tools across your business can improve project management success rates. The right software underpins robust processes and provides transparency for decision making.
The ‘right’ software evolves with time as your business needs change. What was fit for purpose when it was implemented may no longer be the right solution as you scale and improve project management maturity. Watch out for red flags that suggest it’s time to switch up your tool stack for something more suitable to where you are now.
2. Keep processes under constant review
BT, a world-leading communications company, wanted to review the performance of a data and voice network transformation program. The program would allow BT to leverage demand for new, faster technology and tap into new revenue opportunities from the improved capability.
However, it appeared that program performance was slowing down and that new risks had been identified. It was time for a full performance review.
The Ten Six team carried out a detailed assessment of the program, reviewing the capabilities of the existing systems, the maturity of processes and the degree to which they had been adopted. The review looked at people, processes and systems with a view to providing recommendations for where action could be taken to introduce a more robust approach to program controls.
BT, supported by Ten Six, then implemented the suite of recommended changes required for organizational performance improvement.
Takeaway: Projects and programs evolve with time and scope will naturally change on strategic and long-term initiatives. It’s important to keep performance under review because even the most experienced teams can sometimes benefit from a helping hand.
An external review can help provide independent, practical recommendations for improvement to create the environment for success. If you’re in a large organization, silos or assumptions might make it hard for you to see the impact of project management processes across multiple business areas. A third party review can give the PMO and executive leadership team confidence that projects are being carried out in the most appropriate way.
3. Make processes scaleable
CNL, Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, looked to formalize how projects were run as a result of a change in business model. As the team reviewed international best practice, Earned Value Management (EVM) came to the top for its disciplined, measurable methods for tracking, driving and communicating project performance.
However, they didn’t have any experience with EVM at that point and decided to seek support for implementing it.
Ten Six performed an assessment of CNL’s existing project management environment. The team looked for any gaps between current practice and what would be required to successfully implement EVM.
The result of the detailed analysis was a set of models that provided a scaled approach to using EVM within CNL, enabling project managers to work within a framework tailored to the type of project they were leading. This provided the most streamlined solution and the best return on management effort
Takeaway: Apply project management best practices and standardized processes in a way that enables tailoring. As a business, you probably run some projects that would not need to use the full range of project controls processes available to you; for example, it’s not necessary to have EVM set up for every piece of work.
Look for ways that you can scale and tailor your processes so that project leaders have the flexibility to choose standard approaches that still meet the PMOs requirements for robust control but that don’t add unnecessary work.