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Date Posted: 3/8/16
By Kevin Carpenter, contact: kcarpenter@kca-us.com

largewrench

We all know of the colloquialisms that “this is about as much fun as a crushed thumb” and “use the right tool for the job”. Recently I've been reminded of these in a rather unfortunate mishap. Using a large wrench as a hammer brought both of these to mind. Fortunately, I'll only lose my nail and I didn’t break a bone.  The incident did get me thinking about all the times we use the wrong tool when making key decisions. I'd like to give you a few examples as well as give you the chance to receive a quick tool guide.

In one of my previous blogs, I talked about the danger of using single point values - even if it's an average of multiple values - and making decisions.  Using a cost value that's about the middle of the road creates the potential of missing the goal or going over budget 50% of the time.  A better approach is to model the range of outcomes and make a decision fully informed of the potential outcomes and the possibility of the range of occurrence. 

Another example involves finding talent for the team. Usually, positions are filled based on a title, who's known by the decision makers, or who's available.  At KCA, we use an approach which ignores the titles and positions in the company and instead focuses on matching project needs with the proven, demonstrated competencies of the talent. On the surface, this can seem to be an imposing task.  However, we’ve found an approach that mines the organizational memory to locate the best resource match.  

Finally, when considering portfolios, many companies perform a scheduled analysis of the project portfolios and stack the portfolio financial performance and cost against their budget to see what stays in and what's cut. A far better approach is to incorporate a portfolio management process which considers a project’s impact against the portfolio of current and proposed projects and looks beyond financial performance to consider a balance against other key corporate objectives. This management process becomes a step in the project development cycle to ensure the portfolio is always driving toward total (financial and qualitative) value and results in a higher performing set of projects. 

We've compiled a list of many of these practices, noting the common approach, what we recommend, and why we support the recommended approach. The list is available by clicking the box below - we feel these will help you think about the way your company approaches these practices, and if you'd like to talk about any of them, please give us a call! 

 

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