Research Report: Secrets of High Performing Projects

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Page 6 of 51

Secrets of High Performing Projects 7 Technology driven effectiveness requires more than just a tool If you don't look too closely, the technology related results of this survey could be confusing. On the face of it, organizations are succeeding with commercial enterprise project controls and/or portfolio management tools, with in-house developed solutions and without any enterprise tools at all. They are achieving results with manual double entry and real time automated integration. They do well whether they trust their data absolutely or manually check everything. And they improve performance by embracing new and emerging technologies, by better integrating existing technology, or by doing none of those things. This confusion is caused because technology in and of itself is not the solution to better performance. Success comes from how the technology is used, how it works together with other technologies and with users, and how it is leveraged to help deliver results. In many cases technology doesn't allow organizations to do what was previously impossible, it simply makes it easier for those things to happen, freeing resources up to do more than would otherwise be attainable. Look deeper into some of the results and you begin to see this. 39.3% of respondents said that a lack of visibility into what was happening was a problem on their projects, yet only 3.7% said that inadequate or inappropriate technology was a barrier to delivering a COVID recovery. If the technology is not preventing that visibility then it must be how the people interact with that technology and that comes down to culture, process, skills and training. Sometimes organizations do reach the limits of their technology, we saw indications in the question on data driven approaches that in-house system users seemed to plateau at a lower level than commercial system users. 18.4% of commercial software users selected the highest option (that "data is captured and managed in real time, driving decision support and predictive analytics" for data-driven project management compared with just 13.1% of in-house system users. Commercial users also reported greater levels of integration of project system elements and they were less reliant on spreadsheets. It is logical to conclude that commercial solutions have the potential to deliver more than in-house solutions. The vendors producing these platforms are pursuing excellence in capability and ease of use, and they are experts in delivering those elements. The apparent comfort level among our survey respondents with in-house solutions again comes down to a lack of awareness of what is possible, a failure to challenge whether the organization is performing at the levels it could achieve with better solutions supporting the human element. We saw that organizations could still succeed when relying on in-house solutions, no enterprise solutions, or even spreadsheets. What we can't know – what they can't know, is how far below their potential performance levels they are when they trust spreadsheets and make up for the technology shortcomings by asking people to do more. " You have to continuously assess whether your performance is as good as it can be. The survey produced evidence of a widespread 'good enough' mindset when it came to technology that results in lost opportunities and shortfalls in performance. "

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