The Problem with Typical Project Control Initiatives

The following statistics reveal IT and project controls initiatives incur a huge waste of time and effort:
  • 50% of PMOs close within three years (APM)
  • The correlated PMO implementation failure rate is over 50%
    (Gartner Project Manager)
  • Only 40% of projects meet scheduling, budget and quality goals
    (IBM Change Management Survey of 1500 execs)
  • 25% of IT projects experience outright failure, and 50% require
    material rework

What Causes These Issues?

In our experience, every enterprise system implementation project faces a common set of problems, all directly linked to three sources: high upfront IT infrastructure costs, bespoke development, and limited user engagement.

  • No problem-solution fit testing occurs at the project’s onset.
    A project controls initiative usually starts when a corporate leader turns their vision into a business initiative. Details and issues are organised by external consultants, and persuasive writing convinces top leadership to fund the initiative. However, this approach often fails to answer two key questions: have we found a problem the business wants to solve, and can we solve that problem in a sustainable, compelling way?
  • Consultants cannot mitigate the risk of unpredictability.
    Project control implementation is usually commissioned to solve a new organisational problem. Consulting firms are hired to mitigate the risk of the project’s uncertainty. Two issues typically arise. First, even experienced consulting firms can lack functional business experience. Secondly, every organisation is unique, meaning project control solutions are rarely replicable from one case to another.
  • The Waterfall Model is not the right approach.
    The project control process begins as the project team translates the leader’s vision into business requirements, which are further expanded into functional and technical requirements. With the requirements in hand, implementation begins. This is classic example of the ineffective ‘Waterfall Model.’ Once implementation starts, the proverbial train has left the station and the solution is nearly impossible to reverse.
  • Customers are expected to specify what they want from the system:
    Clearly, no one knows the problem better than the customer; but, that doesn’t mean the customer can articulate it. In the book “Lean Customer Development,” Cindy Alvarez explains:

    • Customers become accustomed to their limitations and stop questioning them, so won’t mention their constraints unless prompted
    • They resist accepting they are inferior at certain skills and processes
    • They forget to mention past failures when proposing new solutions
    • They may be proficient in the tools and processes they use, but may not understand how they work
    • They may not know what they want – but they can’t hide what they need

    It is the project team’s responsibility to encourage the customer to be honest and uncover their needs. This can only be accomplished by asking the right questions.

  • Proof of Concept (POC) is NOT a smaller version of the enterprise system.
    POC is used to demonstrate that proposed enterprise software can produce expected results. Because the POC cannot be deployed (as the system would not yet be available), it does not allow real customers to test the solution in an actual business setting. As the POC cannot test new processes or the skills gap, it cannot be classed as project controls system testing on a smaller scale.
  • Existing solution providers don’t allow small-scale testing.
    The cost of acquiring software systems, business processes and specialist human resources for project control systems is significantly high for any business. Before P2C, no solution provider was offering out-of-the-box, small scale solutions for businesses to test before committing to a full-scale investment.

P2C is committed to supporting the lean project controls
mission by developing effective
project control solutions and services.

What is Lean Project Control?

P2C Global was created out of a desire to solve these common project control implementation challenges. Through studying entrepreneurship techniques and taking inspiration from ‘lean’ trends across industries, we have created Lean Project Control: a systematic process of implementing enterprise systems to project control with minimum waste.

The term ‘lean’ is often confused with ‘cheap.’ However, being lean involves eliminating waste and efficiently utilising resources.

Lean Project Control is an attempt to increase the odds of successful project controls system implementation that is simultaneously less capital intensive, saving you time, cost and effort.

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The method takes inspiration from various areas, including:

  • Toyota’s lean manufacturing revolution, which focuses on eliminating waste through jidoka (a focus on human touch) and just-in-time production;
  • Eric Ries’ ‘The Lean Startup’ principles, which apply lean manufacturing to innovation and advocate the importance of involving customers throughout your businesses’ lifecycle;
  • Ash Maurya’s ‘Running Lean,’ a systematic, actionable process of applying the Lean Startup principles;
  • Management control systems literature, which positions project control as a valuable means to achieving organisational strategic objectives.