Project Management Warning Flag 1 – Unfunded Activities

Project Management Warning Flag 1 - Unfunded Activities | unfunded activities | StrategyDriven Project Management ArticleManaging a project to an on-time, on-budget completion has become increasingly difficult in the ‘do more with less’ reality of today’s business world. But what many project managers fail to realize is that their project is doomed from the start. Activities associated with a project’s roll-out and needed organizational change management often go unscoped and unfunded because they don’t directly contribute to the creation of the produce or service being developed. The cost of these activities is very real in terms of personnel and financial resources and the project’s ultimate success relies on their performance.[wcm_restrict plans=”25541, 25542, 25653″]

If typically unfunded activities are critical to a project’s success, why then do they go unaccounted for? While not all inclusive, the four lists below, Process-Based Warning Flags, Process Execution Warning Flags – Behaviors, Potential, Observable Results, and Potential Causes, are designed to help organization leaders to recognize whether their project’s are burdened by unfunded activities. Only after a problem is recognized and its causes identified can the needed action be taken to move the organization toward improved performance.

Process-Based Warning Flags

  • Project scoping processes don’t drive consideration of roll-out and change management activities
  • Lack of project benchmarking requirements for never before performed projects (the organization has not performed a similar project or collection of similar activities)
  • Imbalance between top-down and bottom-up project planning favoring top-down planning

Process Execution Warning-Flags – Behaviors

  • Resistance to acknowledge unfunded activities
  • Clinging to established budgets and resource allocations as a reason for not including or pursuing unscoped and unfunded activities
  • Dismissing the ‘soft’ factors of organizational change management

Potential, Observable Results

  • Project cost overruns as these unscoped and unfunded activities are later performed
  • Time overruns as these unscoped and unfunded activities are later performed
  • Longer and more significant decline in productivity than would have otherwise been expected resulting in other impacts such as reduced production volumes, diminished service, extended product/service wait times, and decreased equipment reliability (in the case of reduced maintenance productivity)

Potential Causes

  • Inexperienced project manager and project approving executives and managers
  • Lack or inadequate project management training provided to executives, managers, and project managers
  • Overly aggressive desire to keep costs down results in the inadvertent omission of these activities or their deliberate exclusion. The desire to keep costs down can result from a need to keep costs down or to be able to obtain lower level approvals for the project’s initiation
  • Organizational culture that discounts the importance of change management activities

Final Thought…

The risk presented by unfunded activities is proportional to the size and complexity of the project. Larger projects tend to impact more people and a broader cross-section of the organization necessitating a greater number of change management activities such as communications and training. As complexity increases, so does the number of processes and systems affected; raising overall project uncertainty and the likelihood that non-developmental activities exist and have gone unaccounted.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”25541, 25542, 25653″]

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