Recently, I got a wild hair and decided I wanted to build a boat. I’ve searched the Internet for the last several weeks looking for the right “project.” I found a builder in Maine who’s website convinced me that I wanted to buy the plans to build one of his boats. I measured my garage to see how much space I had to work with and narrowed my choice down to two styles.
Late last night I wrote him, explained my level of experience, and asked him if he had any advice. His reply came early this morning. He described the characteristics of each boat, including building and sailing, and asked me questions about what I wanted to accomplish with my boat. What was I looking for in the building process as well as what I wanted in sailing the boat later?
Basically, he presented the business case for each boat including:
1. My goal for building and sailing
2. The unique characteristics of each boat
3. The costs associated with building each boat
Business leaders today often face the challenge of too many good ideas and not enough resources to act on them all. Sometimes difficult choices need to be made by organizations doing project based work. Work management tools should facilitate the evaluation of potential projects to help make those decisions based upon something more than whether or not a project is a good project. In today’s economy the decision must be based upon whether or not the project is the best project, or will provide the most value. And doing that requires decisions based upon predetermined metrics that include:
1. Alignment to strategy and vision
2. An understanding of the potential risks along with any risk mitigation plans
3. The rewards of the potential project
4. The costs, including the opportunity cost of not doing a project
5. The resource requirements
How does your organization evaluate potential projects for execution? Does your project management software help facilitate those decisions?