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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Project Management Basics – Chapter 1 - Overview

project, program, portfolio
Poorly run projects cost a lot of money!

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Why do we start projects?

The PMBOK® tells us that a project is a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” But why do we do them? The PMBOK® answers that question by stating that projects are done to drive change, enable business value creation or to meet regulatory, legal, or social requirements.

That’s a great test answer, but how do I know if I have an opportunity to do any of those things? And if I have a couple of options, how do I know which one to pick?

Assuming I have completed all those tasks and we have a funded project, how do I strategically align the project and ensure that it continues to remain aligned as I execute against the project management plan? If I am involved in an agile project, how do I ensure I am delivering the right business benefits?

Finally, how do I determine if the project was successful? What if the project was successful but the deliverable wasn’t? How would I know?

These are basic questions that many organizations have trouble answering, and the basics matter. If you can’t describe why you are doing a project and the expected benefit, you are probably wasting time and money. And you wouldn’t be alone! Below are some statistics from capterra.com:

1. Over 1 in 3 (34%) projects have no baseline.

2. For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance.

3. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail.

4. 50% of all Project Management Offices (PMOs) close within just three years.

5. Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year.

6. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success.

7. 80% of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with their company’s business strategy.

8. 33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management.

This series is going to get back to the basics, starting with a "needs assessment".

I hope you follow along.


The acts of the past few weeks have been astounding. The sitting President of the United States was cancelled by billionaire tech oligarchs in Silicon Valley! Don't form your opinion based on who this is happening to. Process matters. If the President and prominent businesses can be "silenced", so can you.


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