Doing the right projects right

I’ve just written up a paper for an academic journal, based on two guest lectures I recently gave at the University of Salamanca as part of their 8th Centenary celebrations.

Merging two talks, one on managing healthcare projects (for the Faculty of Pharmacy) and the other on challenges facing UK industry (for the Business School) made me think hard, and I resolved the challenge through considering uncertainty – healthcare projects nearly always face high levels of uncertainty, and the whole UK economy is waiting for the other Brexit shoe to drop, holding its breath in the meantime.

It’s an old adage that successful change results from doing the right projects right, but how do you do that in an uncertain environment?

Professional change governance is a good start to identifying the right projects – portfolio management aligning change with strategy (tough with Brexit), programmes managing uncertainty and flexibility, leaving projects to deliver effectively and efficiently.

There is another facet to this, though – seeing the big picture, and considering a wide range of scenarios. This is where systems thinking comes in, helping to be clear on what the true requirements for project are. Many projects under-perform or fail because they are either not the right projects in the first place, or don’t correctly address their customer’s needs.

To survive and grow in the current economic environment means evolving, and that means changing faster and more effectively than ever – that means doing the right projects right!

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