As businesses increasingly expect to achieve better (and more consistent) returns on their project investments, project teams are doubling down on finding new opportunities to save money and trim waste. But frontline professionals aren’t the only ones who influence project value. There are also several ways executives can meaningfully contribute to the organization’s efforts, too.
If you want to further improve your company’s project ROI, consider these steps leadership teams can take to help boost results.
1: Disrupt dysfunction
From unrealistic stakeholder expectations to budget approval processes that drag on indefinitely, project teams are often stuck contending with a layer of internal dysfunction that consumes time, increases expenditures, and stymies innovation. As an executive, you’re uniquely positioned to get out in front of these potential obstacles and get them out of the way.
High-level assistance from you frees up the project team to focus on maintaining efficiency and delivering outcomes that keep costs down and productivity up. To prevent future projects from slipping off track, consider conducting a thorough look-back at earlier efforts and be candid about identifying any recurring challenges tied to internal politics, systemic inefficiencies, or even chronic understaffing. Eliminating these now means they won’t threaten future projects.
2: Monitor the money
Executives have a lot of metrics to watch, and the financial performance of any one project may not always be at the top of the list. But your company leaders should be diligent about maintaining visibility into how well strategic projects are performing financially. This insight enables you to protect your firm’s project investments by leveraging the latest information when making budgetary and other top-level decisions. You’ll have early warning about potential overages and can assist the project team in reaching critical financial goals.
3: Encourage education
The more knowledgeable your project team and its stakeholders are, the more capable they’ll be when it comes to identifying waste and reducing costs while still maintaining high quality and delivering good results. And though your in-house project professionals already know how valuable training is across their career continuum, a strong organizational culture that celebrates knowledge will help them pursue learning opportunities and further develop their skills. Senior staff can help to build important internal project management assets by actively supporting team members’ efforts to expand their competencies.
4: Be available
When a roadblock arises, the best thing executives can do is deal with it quickly. The same holds true for questions, requests, and even concerns that may come along. While senior staff aren’t expected to drop what they’re doing every time their e-mail notification sounds, it’s important the project team knows they aren’t the last priority.
By setting aside time to attend routine meetings and participate in robust communication and collaboration channels, your leadership group can limit the amount of wasted effort that comes when the project’s stakeholders must wait for direction or approval. With a reasonable level of availability, you can help keep the project group moving forward efficiently and avoid festering problems that will likely be expensive to fix later.
5: Champion the people
Project successes—especially when an initiative is high-value, high-risk, or high-visibility—are frequently chalked up to the capabilities of the organization and the project team as a whole. Those accolades are important, but your executive staff should be mindful to extend thanks and congratulations at the individual level, too.
Recognition doesn’t to be elaborate, expensive, or even public. What it should be, however, is authentic and timely. Person-to-person encouragement does wonders for building the kind of deep commitment and accountability required to drive key projects to a successful (and financially sound) completion.