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May 16, 2020

Managing Projects at Scale

Percentages are at best a guess, and are almost always lies.

Let’s say your boss asks you about the progress of your project. You respond that the project is 70% complete. But what does that percentage actually mean? Percentages don’t reflect the accuracy of completion toward desired outcomes, and executives want a concrete response that will leave them feeling reassured about their projects’ progress.

Being able to communicate the actual outcomes and activities for projects is really important. Although traditional project management has various benefits, it lacks the attention to milestones that executives look for.

Traditional project management only gets you so far

Traditional project management has its benefits. It allows you to:

Step 1 - Organize activities: you can track when certain meetings are happening, what deliverables are in progress, or build a logical list of activities, known as a work breakdown structure.

Step 2 - Keep established processes running: there’s no heavy lifting required so traditional project management can help keep track of consistent timelines.

Step 3 - Predict involvement in project: from managers to content creators, contributors are identified.

But, it is measured around activities. Traditional project management lacks the ability to tell if those activities are successful and driving toward identified outcomes.

Project management should help you achieve outcomes

There are a few necessary components of our approach to project management:

Step 1 - Define project parameters: this means objectives, budget, deadlines and key stakeholders.

Step 2 - Align on project organization: allocating how project resources will be used to accomplish objectives identified in the first step.

Step 3 - Keep people accountable: use your materials from Steps 1 and 2 to keep people on track and meet your deadlines.

Step 4 - Manage outcomes: manage deliverables, issues, decisions, and significant reviews to ensure the project is successful.

One of the things that traditional project management often lacks is alignment between project plans and project action. We spend a great deal of time and energy making decisions prior to a project. By making these decisions up front, we are able to take out a lot of the guess work during the lifetime of a project and run our engagements more efficiently.

We drive outcomes through these fundamental components. These fundamental components allow us to run projects successfully and at scale.

Though not every project warrants outside project management assistance, commoditized project management will only get you so far. In order to stay relevant in this ever changing market, your business processes also have to be up to snuff to enable your company to grow.

Interested in our approach to project management? Contact us at thespurgroup.com/contact-us.

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Chris McCall

As Chairman of the Board, Chris manages The Spur Group’s strategic planning practice and has over 25 years of experience across business strategy, operations and channel management.