People who serve on project teams can be spread out all over the place, making it difficult to keep them aligned and focused on the goals of the project.
With teams dispersed, how can you get an integrated view of how everything is working? I'm working with a large telecom company right now that has a team in Tokyo, a team in Los Angeles and a team in London. It's really tough for them to make sure everyone is aligned.
This puts additional pressure on the need to create an integrated view of what is happening so you can make decisions.
Project teams often exist across organizational boundaries within your company. This can create accountability challenges and misalignment of incentives.
If you give everyone one place to go to agree on what they're working on and on what the schedule is – if you give everyone a single place where they can see the budget and understand who is assigned to what – then the goal gets much easier to accomplish. If you have five organizations and five different project plans, that's just a mess.
Just look at Heathcare.gov. It's such a great example of a project that just required a more integrated strategy. Everybody tested their part, but no one made sure that all the parts worked together.
The more you're working across boundaries, the greater the need to actually know what's happening and to make sure people are actually getting on the things they're supposed to be working on.
Technology change continues to disrupt markets. Look at what's happening with Blackberry. And now, even iPhone is finding itself seriously challenged by Android because of the strategy coming out of Google.
It's no longer acceptable not to be able to turn on a dime and reallocate your services. So as technology disrupts more and more businesses, everyone has to be looking for ways to say, "OK, how do I get on top of this? How do I change my direction?"
You have to have the will and the guts to do it. But even if you make that decision, how do you know that you're actually doing it? How do you know that the changes are being made?
That's what Project Portfolio Management is all about.
Market leaders such as Walmart and Amazon continue to drive waste out of their business processes. How do we respond to stay competitive?
Amazon is a great example. They are keeping everything below cost because they have such a big competitive advantage and such a large technological advantage. That just makes it harder for other players to figure out how to compete and where to compete.
Right now, "business as usual" is probably not working very well for a lot of folks.
The way to get from where you are to where you want to be is through a series of projects. And managing those projects well can be the difference between success and failure.
There's no longer any excuse to say that the data is not available. The data is overwhelming. But that means the important information can hide in the irrelevant.
As companies try and grapple with how they are going to use data, they need to understand how the data is going to inform their understanding of their current allocation and their project portfolio.
The key question is, "What data matters?"
The analytics that you are using to understand your situation must be connected with the project portfolio that you have funded.