According to Gallup, only 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects. A staggering statistic, but what does it mean and why are so many projects doomed to fail?
In a recent white paper, we argued that one of the key reasons behind the ‘project problem’ is too much focus on ‘process’ and not enough focus on ‘people’ delivering the projects. Here’s why.
To understand why projects fail, we often return to the project plan, the metrics used to measure success like budget and timelines, or whether there was a business need in the first place. But analyzing these progress-related factors often fails to yield the answers we need. On the occasions we do get answers, they come too late to make the difference.
While these process-related factors are important to consider, they can never give the full picture because they ignore one key piece of the puzzle: the people responsible for driving the project.
Ultimately, projects are about people. It doesn’t matter what project methodology you use, nor how well-conceived your plans are – if your team is not engaged and aligned, your project is doomed from the start.
To ensure project success, we need a new approach to project management – one that seeks to understand and support the people responsible for delivering outcomes and executing plans. By focusing on people and empowering them to perform at their best, project success will naturally follow.
Companies are quick to turn to quantitative data to predict the likelihood of project success. But data around tasks, timelines, and costs don’t fully provide the insights you need to understand or predict project performance. We consider such data good for measuring project progress but not project performance.
What’s missing is another layer of data – one that until now has either been absent altogether or arrived too late to make a difference. We’re talking, of course, about ‘people data’.
Although there are many data points that provide metrics for project ‘performance’, there are very few that provide insights into project team performance. Additionally a lot of the data within our project management tools and spreadsheets have many biases and assumptions that come with it, as such it is critical to incorporate another source of data, one which is more holistic and represents more perspectives and variables. Generally speaking, the fewer the sources that performance data arrives from, the less accurate it is.
Traditionally, project leads have not always been responsible for monitoring and empowering team performance and engagement, but the research dictates that those who do, see a significant increase in both project and organizational performance. In our new world of work, the fast pace of change, and a war for talent, it is impossible to ignore the people who drive our organizations.
Our approach to this process is less about focusing on the reporting of performance, but rather focusing on the improving of performance. This is where people data comes in. Without people data, it is very difficult for a project lead to pinpoint exactly where their team needs attention and what may be going wrong, affecting the probability of project success.
In other words, without accurate, timely, and accessible people data, it is very difficult to make the right project decisions. Project leads are forced into a reactive mindset rather than a proactive one. Inevitably projects can outright fail, or simply fail to meet their objectives. This is not the fault of project leads – they simply haven’t been equipped with the information they need to drive successful projects. Until now...
In order to have any impact, the process of collecting and analyzing team performance data needs to be:
Efficient and scalable, so it can be applied to any team of any size with minimal effort.
Holistic and objective, to ensure that human emotion and bias (whether conscious or subconscious) don’t skew results.
Delivered in real-time (or as near as possible) rather than retrospectively, allowing project leads to understand and tackle performance-related issues now, not later.
To do this manually would take an immense amount of time and effort. It may even be humanly impossible. Rather, what’s needed is a dedicated system that collects and analyzes data automatically from a wide range of sources, delivering timely insights to team managers and project leads that they can act on in real-time.
Perflo is a new kind of analytics tool designed to tackle the ‘project problem’ from a different angle. Instead of focusing on process-related data, it takes a more people-oriented approach, providing real-time insights into proven metrics that affect a team’s ability to perform at their optimal level and operate as a highly engaged and aligned project team.
These insights allow project leads to identify potential blind spots and quickly make proactive decisions tackling issues as they arise, not after they happen. As a result, project teams stay aligned, engaged, and on track to project success.
If you’d like to learn more about how Perflo can help track performance and increase engagement in your project teams, sign up for a demo today.