I came across an excellent project selection scorecard in a PM Times article, written by Drew Davison. The example includes scoring criteria such as:
- Engaged sponsors
- Well-defined roles and responsibilities
- A compelling business case
- Funding allocated
- Aligned with a strategy
- Articulated and fully supported priority
- And more
Such criteria not only serves as a project definition quality check (and an input into the prioritization process), it also serves as a predictive indicator of project success.
Indeed, a low score in any one of these factors is likely to mean a lower probability of success. And not only success, but value! After all, we must heed Albert Einstein’s advice: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
If you want a successful, high value project, isn’t it better to take action to ensure its success and value in the beginning, before the project is even approved? As the proverb goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Fortunately, most causes of success, failure, or low value are completely predictable, and thus avoidable. And so, it’s especially troubling that many organizations pay little attention to the project selection and intake process, failing to recognize its criticality to a successful outcome and a high value project.
I should add that this also has a resource planning impact. After all, if a project isn’t well supported, funded, and aligned with strategy, it runs a risk of not getting the resources it needs.
It’s been said that projects fail at the beginning, not at the end, and this is a perfect example. I highly recommend the article, which articulates a part of project management that too few pay attention to.