Project Mismanagement Is Not A Strategy

Project Management: A Strategy for vision, goals and planning

Let’s take a trip. You map out a GPS route for an 8-hour road trip where you will meet up with family and friends for a nice vacation.  Suddenly, as you are driving down the road you experience several detour signs making your driving time longer.  After a while your frustration grows and now you are searching to find another route without success.  You then realize that you will never get to your destination on time and now you are ready to make a U-turn and head back home. The decision to turn back is a high price to pay… wasted time, wear and tear on your car, tolls and gas paid, no refunds on your hotel, etc., not to mention you missed out on a beautiful vacation? I guess you just chalk it up to a loss.  Instead of taking the loss, once home you decided to buy a plane ticket which will get you to your destination, but now the ticket is 3Xs the normal price and once you arrive at your destination you will need to get a rental car, which post COVID, rental cars are not cheap and you must keep the rental car for the duration of your stay.  Ok so you had fun on your vacation, now you must reconcile your expenses and realize you spent over 3Xs more money than originally budgeted.  Now that’s a high price to pay for the same trip.

In Project Mis-Management, this is a regular occurrence with companies implementing a project. The detour signs above represent missed milestones; the U-turn represents the inability to make the project health “green”; the decision to start over with buying a plane ticket represents project leadership trying a new implementation strategy no matter the cost.  Sure, the new implementation strategy was completed but at what cost to the company’s profits? And if the new project doesn’t generate or help with generating new revenue to make up for the loss, this can have catastrophic consequences for the company’s financial performance.  After all, the purpose of any new project is to improve the company’s overall performance and market positioning.

The Wake Up Call

The one thing I observed in my 20+ year PMO career, that is most troubling to me when implementing a new project, is the amount of time, lost revenues, cost overruns and high level of process inefficiencies it takes for a company to have a “wake-up call”.  I’ve had numerous experiences where a company hired me to help fix their project execution, and honestly in some cases, it wasn’t worth fixing or couldn’t be fixed.  Yup I said it….it couldn’t be fixed.  Why? Because the company waited almost 2-years into project execution to realize they needed professional project management assistance and by that time the project was already doomed to failure.  Can a doomed project be fixed? Of course, but with the right staff, and that means the company will need to make an additional financial investment which will impact on their company profits.

Ok so now we are in the middle of project execution and observe some frequent reoccurring problems; first question is “where is the Risk Register/Risk Matrix”; company response: “we don’t have one; 2nd question “where is the change control process”; company response: “we don’t have one”; 3rd question “where is the communication plan”; company response: “we don’t have one”, and you wonder why the project health is failing.  I was trying to explain to the company that 60% of their project problems fell within the above 3 questions, and if the company has at least these 3 documents in place, their problem can be mitigated.

Build Your PMO In Advance

There’s a risk when a company starts a project without professional project management or PMO and that’s a risk the company will need to consider.  The way to guarantee project success and on-time delivery is to build the PMO in advance.  It doesn’t matter if the PMO staff are company employees’ or 1099 contractors, just put them in place in advance.

Building your PMO in advance is also the best way to avoid Project Mismanagement, cost overruns, missed milestones, etc., because once that Jeannie is out of the bottle, it will cost 3Xs or more to get it under control to transform the project health status to “green”.  Recently a company hired me to assist with the product/project management turn around and by the time I was onboard to assist, the projects were already $3MM over budget and counting and 1-year behind.  Why? The company did not have any PMO or PMO professionals.

The Complexity of Project Execution

Project execution is very complex and requires skilled PMO professionals to assist companies to navigate the roadmap of success.  Project execution is the point where the entire project plan is put into action.  This is where the “rubber meets the road” and the company is ready and excited to get the new project onboard.  If a person has a heart condition, they are not going to see a foot doctor, but a heart surgeon because heart surgeons know the complexity of caring for the heart.  The same goes for project execution.  Companies should make sure they have PMO professionals onboard to care for their project success.

Transform Project Mismanagement Into Project Management

The end result is your bottom line and how much money do you want to waste on project mismanagement.  On the other hand, Project Management is a good strategy to boost your bottom line.  Project management is the process where PMO professionals lead the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints.  With effective project management a company can have the security to know project success is just a few weeks or months away (depending on the size of the project).   Project management is a critical component because it helps every part of the business run more efficiently and effectively. Building the PMO in advance will enable leadership to plan and manage projects to ensure every objective and deliverable is completed on time and within budget.


This content provides practical information concerning the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that BISM is not rendering legal advice or other professional services. BISM does not give legal advice as part of its services. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. This material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable law in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *