Project Readiness: Score Your Way to Success

Whether launching an IT project or going to market with a new product, executives contemplating a move forward have long relied on obsolete methods of decision-making. Using inaccurate measurements, such as past performance and other forms of bias, make it far too easy to fail.  What’s the answer? A project readiness score using objective data from within your organization. 

The traditional steps to deciding whether or not an organization should spend resources, time, and energy on an initiative have been: ideation, analysis, and approval. The middle part, analysis, is often squeezed between the pressure of go-to-market forces or solving a problem that results in executives wanting to go straight from ideation to approval.  Left out are important considerations like, can the organization succeed and what factors stand in the way of success? Government agencies are particularly attached to this conventional approach. 

One example of how a government agency broke away from such old patterns is CalPERS.  The program that manages more than 3200 different pension systems for 1.6 million public employees and retirees needed to update its aging actuarial system.  Considering the financial impact and strict auditing requirements, the CalPERS board knew how important time and accuracy were to upgrade the 25-year-old system.  They had no tolerance for a meandering, undisciplined project.

CalPERS spent nine months undergoing a rigorous assessment of their situation and discovered major vulnerabilities related to operating units that changes to the new system would have impacted.  While nine months may seem like a long time to analyze how ready the organization is to move forward, the project came in early and under budget, saving time, money, and countless future headaches.  In addition, it currently serves as a shining example of how a government agency can successfully execute a project, given the correct data and insights. 

A project readiness score leads an organization through the appropriate amount of analysis while considering objective data that shines the light on critical vulnerabilities that might otherwise doom a project.