Too many guts for glory

Many businesses thrive or sag based on the successful completion of projects, yet they are so often managed by gut instincts and historical prejudice, according to Primavera Australia's business development director Steve Keys.

The traditional involvement of many stakeholders creates poor visibility and hinders a strategic perspective, he said, which is why an effective information system is so critical.

An estimated 30 to 40 percent of project spending goes to resources that are either under-utilised or assigned to non-strategic or duplicated projects.

"Even when project updates are available, widely distributed systems and complex internal reporting structures often mean it can be weeks before reports are completed and by then the information is irrelevant," Keys said.

"It requires a top-down view that encompasses each aspect of the organization so that executives can make sound decisions; most projects are handled at a local level, with knowledge about project process and risk factors tied up in the minds of project managers rather than being represented in a consistent information system."

The Giga Group estimates that using the right project management tools can deliver budget improvements of 50 percent in resource utilization and 90 percent on ROI.

"Many executives don't even realise their projects are inefficient, but improved scheduling and resource planning allows the organization to manage supply and demand," Keys said.

As a provider of project portfolio management software, Primavera provides information systems that identify all of the projects under way in an organization, which are performing and if they are aligned with strategic corporate goals.

One customer is federal government agency Centrelink which implemented TeamPlay last year to manage 370 projects within the IT department.

Centrelink's TeamPlay project manager Boyd McCarron said it has raised the transparency of resources and the status of project deliverables.

"We have also established reliable metrics for future estimates," he said adding that performance monitoring is critical.

Better information enables executives to be more proactive, Keys said, allowing them to head off a train crash instead of just picking up the pieces when things go off the rail.

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