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Five steps to
translate Project Management
theory into workable Best Practice
Project Managers with the right skills and support are best placed to deliver successful projects.
Organisations are losing trillions of dollars through poor Project Management, with worldwide IT project failure alone
estimated to cost $6.2 trillion per year or $500 billion per month. 1
ILX recommends a five step process to improve Project Management success:
1 . M A K E TH E B USINE SS C ASE . Embedding Best Practice within the organisation can be costly, so HR Managers
and Operations Managers will need to convince senior managers of the business benefits by providing a cost/
benefit justification. Audited proof of skills gaps will help, but HR professionals should engage with colleagues to
identify the real financial, operational and reputational costs associated with failed projects. For example, the UK
Government revealed in 2008 that it had cancelled 273m worth of major IT projects in the previous five years. Most
organisations should be able to estimate the cost of ineffective or cancelled projects, which are likely to dwarf the
cost of embedding Best Practice. Alternatively, HR professionals may work with Operations Managers to integrate
tailored Project Management training into the budgets for new projects.
2 . TR A I N TH E O RGANISAT ION, NOT JUST T H E INDIVIDUA L. Human nature dictates that if you deliver Project
Management training to 50 individuals, each will leave the course with a slightly different perception of what
they have learnt and a different way of implementing that learning. In order to achieve consistency, uniform
approaches and procedures to managing projects should be adopted throughout the organisation and communicated
accordingly. A standard approach establishes ground rules and expectations for the entire project team and provides
a common language for Project Management. This ensures that regular communication and stakeholder engagement
become a natural part of the process.
3 . TR A N S F ER TH E M ODE L TO RE AL L IF E SC EN A RIOS. Project Management that focuses on methodology, but not
its practical implementation and use, is more likely to result in failed projects. Methodologies such as PRINCE2 are
flexible enough to adapt to the needs of many different types of organisations and projects, but this lack of hard
and fast rules can be confusing, particularly for inexperienced Project Managers. Training for Project Managers and
team members must include examples of how Best Practice is applied on a practical level within the organisation.
Moreover, ongoing support such as a buddy or mentoring system enables Project Managers to access the knowledge
and experience of others in order to avoid or overcome problems and further develop their skills.

Five steps to translate Project Management


theory into workable Best Practice

www.ilxgroup.com

4 . R EC O GN I S E TH AT FAILURE PROVIDE S AN OP P ORTUNIT Y TO DELIVER SUCCESS. A key cause of project


failure is the lack of communication. It is Best Practice to communicate early and often, whether the news is good
or bad. However, Project Managers may feel that it is an admission of failure if they have to report that progress is
too slow or that the project is over budget. The corporate culture must allow bad news to be communicated honestly
in order to address problems before they lead to project failure. The earlier this is done, when more options are
available, the greater the chance of delivering a successful project.
5 . EM B R AC E TEC HNOLOGY TO DE L IVE R C ONTINUOUS TRA INING WHEN & WHERE IT IS NEEDED. Project
Managers must be able to learn about Best Practice models and refresh their knowledge. In addition, project team
members may also benefit from learning Project Management skills. Mobile learning, social learning and integrated
learning mean training is no longer restricted to the classroom or formal e-learning courses. Many courses are
now available in bite size modules and downloadable Apps, making it easier than ever before to learn and re-learn
essential skills in a way that fits with the learners work schedule.

A report conducted by The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) identified eight key reasons why projects fail 2:
1. Lack of clear links between the project and the organisations key strategic priorities, including agreed
measures of success.
2. Lack of clear senior management ownership and leadership.
3. Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
4. Lack of skills and proven approach to Project Management and risk management.
5. Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
6. Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing
delivery of business benefits).
7. Lack of understanding of, and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in the organisation.
8. Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supply chain.

ABOUT ILX GROUP (ILX)


ILX Group is a global all-in-one provider of Best Practice Learning Solutions. ILX delivers Portfolio
Programme & Project Management, IT Service Management, Risk Management and Business
Financial Literacy learning solutions. The Best Practice courses are delivered through a blend of
classroom, workshops, e-learning and mobile platforms.
ILX is a market leader in PRINCE2 training and has provided Best Practice learning to more than 250,000 people across
5,000 organisations in over 100 countries. ILX works closely with its clients to deliver industry standard qualifications and
helps organisations to deliver continuous workforce improvement. The company and its multi-lingual trainers can support
customers around the world with local offices also in the UK, Middle East, India, Australia and New Zealand.
F o r f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n v i s i t w w w. i l x g r o u p . c o m o r f o l l o w I L X o n T w i t t e r @ I L X G r o u p , o r F a c e b o o k
w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / I L X G r o u p .
1 The IT Complexity Crisis: Danger and Oppor tunity, by Roger Sessions, November 2009
2 Common Causes of Project Failure, Office of Government Commerce, January 2012.
PRINCE2 is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved. AXELOS is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited,
used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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