Top Project Management Challenges

Single Source of the Truth

How many companies still have a variety of existing project management data that is fragmented in a variety of databases, spreadsheets and home-grown systems?  The majority of these data repositories are not integrated, resulting in significant manual intervention to keep multiple repositories updated.   The challenge to your project management organization is to move from multiple versions of ‘the truth’ to a ‘single source of the truth’.  Organizations may need to sunset legacy systems, align common data understanding, and cleanse data.

Financial Spend Forecast

Every quarter the actual financial spend does not align with the planned or forecasted spend.   What is your current enterprise project portfolio estimate to complete?  What steps are you doing to improve the companies overall spend forecast?  Publicly traded corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to accurately predict spending project funds.  The financial forecast for capital projects can impact the stock price in regulated environments. 

According to PwC Capital study Capital Project, Is your board doing enough in 2013, “-11.1% average impact on a Utility’s share price is project deadline or budget is missed.” 

Scope Creep

Changes are approved in one system but accounted for differently in the schedule management system.  The result makes it difficult to compare original scope versus approved scope. What if we moved change management into an integrated master scheduler (IMS)?  Changes would become more visible and make it easier to see the cost and schedule impacts.

‘On average, project go over budget by 27% of their intended cost.’[1]

Finish Dates are missed

Are your scheduled finish data consistently is being missed?  Increasing the duration of the project will also increase the cost.  By redirecting efforts to review the activities on the critical path in the schedule will increase visibility into project constraints.  Having a proactive view of the upcoming critical path will provide opportunities to understand scenarios and trade-offs.  Modifying the sequence of activities may reduce the duration and keep costs under control. 

Projects with budgets over $1M USD have a 50% higher failure rate than project under $350,000 USD.[2]

Reporting & Analytics

How many people continuing take time each week, each month, and each quarter cobbling together multiple spreadsheets to incorporate into a report?  Why can’t we document standard reports and automate them (partially at first and fully later)?   Let’s pivot and develop consistent reports that meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders.  Current reporting technologies should be leveraged to automate and run reports on a scheduled basis.  Consumers of data analytics should be able to drill down into data and see trends over time.   

According to PMI, only 28 of companies use project performance techniques.[3]

Capacity Planning

How is your organization matching work to be done with the resources available to meet the work?  How much of person’s time is dedicated to project work?  Do we even have these metrics?  What does the complete picture look like? We can guide your organization to aligning resource assignment to drive resource allocation metrics.  Are certain resources over-allocated?  Are resources being planned for the strategic projects?

On average, large IT project run 45% over budget and 7% over time, while delivering 56% less value than predicted.[4]

Demand Management

Demand management is successful when the final output is useful to prioritize and select a valuable strategically aligned portfolio.   Does your company have a consistent criterion to measure the portfolio of projects that will be accepted? Companies may still select projects based upon who is ‘shouting the loudest’ in a meeting or some fancy presentation that lacks alignment to company goals.  Let’s us help you prioritize and select the optimal mix of projects and have a project governance committee oversea the portfolio. 

Active Executive Management

Executives are extremely busy people with calendars that are overbooked.  Executives will attend a project kickoff, but how many show up for the next critical project milestone?  Perhaps the next time the executive is seen is at the Project Closeout.  Active participation by executives throughout the project at key project milestones is imperative for project success.  If a problem is raised to at an executive it may be too late.

Status Update

Traditionally, project managers traditionally run around to obtain status updates from team members.  Collecting status is a time intensive activity where those hours can be spent on more value-add work.  What if team members were empowered to enter their update directly into the schedule system of record?  And the project manager could approve or reject the status updates?  How can the organization be more efficient?


Nomenclature various from system to system, leading to communication issues between individuals working together on projects or groups of projects. Even with different repositories storing data in structures with matching titles, the lack of synchronization between the system causes communication issues. 

Close to 33% of Projects failure due to poor communication. [5]

Call to Action

Let SUB3 review your current project management health and offer opportunities for improvement.  Call 215-359-5017 or   Bill Hyde is the CEO of SUB3 Management and has implemented project management systems and consulted in the profession for 20 years.  He gained his project management professional (PMP)® certification in 1999 and is the past President of PMI-DVC. He can be reached directly at

[1] Harvard Business Review, Why IT project may be risker than you think, Budzier, Alexander and Flyvberg, Bent, 2011

[2] Gartner, Why Project Fail, 2012

[3] PMI, Pulse of the Profession 2017

[4] McKinsey, Delivering large-scale IT project on time, on budget, and on value, Bloch, Blumberg, Laartz, 2012

[5] Gartner Research, Survey Shows Why Project Fail, Mieritz, Lars, 2012

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