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Building a Foundation of Trust – Achieving Project Success with Reliable Data

Hexagon conducted a survey in partnership with to identify high-performing organizational behaviors that can help improve project outcomes. The survey quickly gleaned over 800 responses primarily from project professionals working in the Construction, Architecture, Engineering, or IT industry. 

While sifting through the responses, we measured the performance of the organizations represented by the effectiveness of their projects. By measuring their project effectiveness, we were able to siphon the organizations into two categories:

  • High-performance organizations – achieved their expected business outcomes for more than 80% of their projects 
  • And low-performance organizations – achieved their expected business outcomes for 30% or less of projects

After further analysis, it was easy to see that the two groups behaved differently from one another. Their behaviors had a direct correlation to the overall performance of their projects. During this blog series, we’ve explored the 3 key findings captured from our analysis of these operational differences. This way, you’ll be able to apply these proven practices to your processes and maximize project success.

Check out these other key findings from the report: 

Key Finding #1 – COVID-19’s Impact on Projects and Factors of Successful Recovery 

Key Finding #2 – Top 4 Practices of Successful Project-Based Businesses 

Key Finding #3: Organizations that Trust their Data Realize Higher Rates of Project Success 

Building trust is no small feat… but building trust in project data is something entirely different. The process of building this type of trust may seem difficult or even impossible to some, but an organization’s overall success depends on the level of trust it has in its project-related data.

Take for instance the following finding from our survey:

Respondents that took on a data driven project management approach reported having total trust in their data. They found trusting their data empowered their leaders to make more informed decisions, quicker. As a result, these organizations freed up significant amounts of their resources, time and money which they then invested in additional projects to improve the business.

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? But how can an organization establish a data driven project management approach? How can an organization find the confidence to allow their project data to influence their next steps? How can they trust that their data is accurate? 

Luckily for us, respondents that reported having trust in their data implemented 3 specific initiatives within their organizations that supported a more data driven project management approach. Below, we’ll explore each of those initiatives and how each drives consistent project success.

Initiative #1 – Invest in Digital Transformation 

If organizations want to ensure their data meets their needs, they must ensure the tools they use to house project-related data meet the most current industry standards. The best way to stay at the forefront of technology in the project portfolio space is to invest in digital transformation. Digital transformation alludes to the persistent journey all organizations must undergo to ensure their technology supports modern functions like automation, integration and more. The intended impact of the digital transformation journey is to empower organizations with efficient, repeatable best practices that drive consistent, enterprise-wide success. 

The importance of digital transformation was especially evident through our survey findings. Respondents were asked how much they planned on investing in digital transformation in the coming years. Respondents were then asked what percentage of their projects were deemed successful. There was a direct correlation between investment in digital transformation and success. Only 33% of organizations who planned to invest a lesser amount on digital transformation were able to report they’d reach their business objectives for more than 80% of their projects. On the contrary, nearly half of organizations who planned to invest more in digital transformation reported reaching business objectives for more than 80% of their projects. 

However, those organizations that invested more toward digital transformation did not succeed because of the investment alone. The investment served as a physical manifestation of the weight these organizations placed on their digital transformation journey. High-performers recognized updating their systems and processes was vital to supporting continued success. 

Initiative #2 – Leverage the Same Project Management Solution Across All Projects 

Many organizations rely on a fractured web of in-house systems, third party solutions and spreadsheets to manage their projects. This fractured environment limits visibility as important project data is dispersed across tools that do not integrate with one another. 

Adding to this issue is the variety of projects organizations take on. Projects can vary by size, industry, business area, contract type, strategic purpose and more. These variants dictate how a project is managed which means not every facet of a project management tool or all process areas within said tool are needed for each project. This warrants that an organization’s data environment must not only be seamless, but it must also be flexible to meet the specific needs of each project. However, many project management systems act as one size fits all solutions. This means organizations must use certain solutions for one project while using other solutions for another project. This also causes project data to be scattered across multiple solutions. What a disjointed mess! 

To combat this, 46.6% of the high-performing organizations represented in the survey leveraged the same tool across all their projects. They were able to achieve this by deploying enterprise project management solutions that put an emphasis on integration. By deploying a project management solution that integrates with other vital solutions within the organization, an organization can operate within the 80/20 rule. For example, 20% of your projects might be so complex that they require a system like P6 for scheduling purposes whereas the other 80% of projects that are less complex can leverage a less in-depth scheduling software. An enterprise project management solution takes all pieces of the enterprise into account, allowing organizations to integrate vital third-party systems, like P6. This allows for all project data to be housed in a single portal, while providing the scalability to apply different rules and different levels of rigor within the process areas they need to be successfully managed and executed.

As a result, organizations do not have to hop from solution to solution to gather project portfolio data. The data is clearly and automatically provided in a single pane of glass. This cuts down on human error, ensures data remains easily accessible and instills user confidence in project data.

Initiative #3 – Ditch Static Reporting

Most respondents disclosed a reliance on static reporting. Static reporting is provided in the form of point-in-time snapshots that do not provide an easy way to drill down into underlying information. This poses a problem while project professionals analyze their reports as they are unable to interact with the data presented. As a result, static reporting only provides a fraction of the data needed to fully understand project progress. Insights acquired from static reports are also usually outdated as progress updates are provided on either a weekly or monthly basis rather than in real-time. These issues act to blind project professionals from the truth of project progress and hinder them from taking action when projects aren’t performing as they should. As a result, trust in data is further shattered. Respondents that did not use an enterprise project management tool were more likely to leverage these static snapshots. 

While not all high-performing organizations were noted to have interactive, real-time reporting, those that did mentioned leveraging an enterprise project management tool. Armed with interactive reporting, high-performing organizations were alerted in real-time when projects began to experience delays, cost overruns and other unforeseen circumstances. This allowed their project professionals more time to identify root causes of issues and pivot resources, saving the organization valuable time and money. As a result of the insights provided by interactive, real-time reporting, high-performing organizations saw increases in productivity, efficiency and financial returns. Unsurprisingly, survey respondents that said they had full trust in their data were most likely to have access to real-time, automated reporting. 

Build Confidence with an Enterprise Project Performance Solution 

As stated before, building trust in project data is not easy. But by investing in digital transformation, leveraging the same project software across all projects and utilizing real-time, automated reporting, organizations can begin to glean more reliable data. As they allow trusted data to inform their decisions, organizations can expect to see: 

  • Increased productivity & efficiency 
  • Reduced project cost overruns 
  • Diminished optimism bias 
  • Enhanced predictability 

Implementing all the initiatives discussed above within your organization is possible with an Enterprise Project Performance (EPP) solution. An EPP solution is project controls, project management and portfolio management software all in one platform. With an EPP solution, organizations can implement these initiatives and join the rankings of high-performers within their industry. 

Sound interesting? Contact us to learn more about leveraging an EPP solution to build confidence in your data!

And to find out more about what leaders in the projects industry are doing to drive continued, enterprise-wide success, be sure to download the report: