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Everywhere I turn I hear people talk about projects and project managers. But outside of my PMI circle, I rarely hear people talk about project management.

I hear a lot about tasks, milestones, deliverables, collaboration, meetings, resources, and communications.

But I don’t hear people talk much about managing money, risks, issues, procurement contract requirements, scope changes, or lessons learned. If you’re not managing these, you are not doing project management.

The 2014 PMI Pulse of the Profession Report carried a depressing graphic.

Project Performance Data from Pulse of the Profession.2014

Photo credit: PMI’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession Report (

What you don’t see in this graphic is any trend line.

According to the 2015 Pulse report, “organizations continue wasting US$109 million for every US$1 billion invested in projects and programs. But organizations that embrace, value, and utilize project management—and both recognize and attribute their success to it—report more success, less waste and achieve greater competitive advantage.”

What’s wrong?

Perhaps we are too focused on scheduling tools that don’t work in a rapidly changing world, and need to be more focused on practices which impact the bottom line.

Stop using scheduling tools that don’t work and focus on project aspects that impact the bottom… Click To Tweet

Risks and issues

Risks and issues can wreak havoc on your projects if you aren’t careful.

  • Do you have a plan to identify your risks, quantitatively analyze them, and then, manage them?
  • Do your biggest risks have mitigation strategies and have you identified trigger events?
  • Are you addressing problems early or letting them fester?

Procurement Contract Requirements

I once worked on a project with a large number of temp workers. The project manager wasn’t aware of the clause in the procurement contract that said that the temp agency required two weeks notice….

  • Have you actually read your procurement contracts?
  • Do you have a log of the contract requirements that you monitor regularly?
  • Are you closing out your contracts at the end?

Project Setup

One early user of Smart Projex called me after the first week to say that she had good news and bad news. The bad news was that she wasn’t able to test Smart Projex for me.

The good news was that the software had saved her firm a bucket load of money. The team had tried for a week to get clarity around the questions that are posed in the Project Setup form and after failing to do so, had abandoned the project.

Better to understand that you lack clarity and commitment early than to spend large sums of money chasing after the wrong objectives.

  • Do you have a compelling vision statement and team buy-in?
  • Is your project aligned with the corporate strategy?
  • Do you know what management or your client thinks is most important; scope, schedule, costs, risks, or quality?
  • Have you documented the success and failure criteria? Are your success criteria measurable?
  • Have you determined both your scope inclusions and exclusions?

Lessons Learned

We like to talk about lessons learned in the project management community, but there are lessons and then, there is the learning. If your teams aren’t discovering the lessons, documenting the details, and learning something in the process, you are wasting valuable opportunities to improve your bottom line.

There are plenty of project management tools and certified project managers available today. But many are still using a project management tool that was designed for a different era. You can watch a short video about that here.

At Smart Projex, we have changed the focus from an ineffective scheduling tool to practices that improve the bottom line. It’s about starting smart, using a methodology that works in chaos, building effective teams and supportive leaders.

Photo credit: Training Day;; CC by 2.0 license