When asked how does professional project management add value to a business I always struggle to answer in meaningful terms – terms that equate to the bottom line of a business. It’s relatively easy to describe the benefits and advantages of managing projects properly but to actually quantify or measure those benefits is much harder.
That’s not to say that any businesses I know don’t appreciate the skills of a good project manager – with so much project work being undertaken in all areas of large organisations there is an intrinsic understanding of their value but very few people, if any, can claim to demonstrate a direct link between a successful project and the return on investment.
The reason for this is that businesses tend to view projects as a core part of their business and individual projects will not be costed in the same way as, say, a product that will be sold for a fixed price.
Some of the important benefits brought about by successful project implementations include standardisation of processes and terminology across a company, better working practises and improved communication between departments. Such improvements are difficult to measure in financial terms but without a doubt place a company in a stronger position to compete in their industry sector. It helps them to retain staff more easily and ensures that staff are well-motivated and that departments work co-operatively instead of in competition. And more importantly it helps communication across and within departments and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings arising where different terminology is used. These intangible benefits lead to a more efficient organisation all round.
Although it is difficult to quantify the value of projects it is possible to analyse standard business processes and measure improvements in the efficiency of these processes over time. One or more projects was almost certainly responsible for implementing (or causing the implementation of) new or modified processes, so, whilst this might be an indirect measure it is at least some form of measure to determine how a project adds real value to an organisation.