SPONSORS

SPONSORS

Exploring the Perspectives of Private Sector Project Managers

 

as to Project Portfolio Management Practices

 

SECOND EDITION

By Dr. Jeffrey D. Pullen, PMP

Maryland, USA


ABSTRACT

The general business problem is that private sector project managers continue to deliver IT megaprojects that fail to meet the desired outcomes. The specific business problem is that private sector project managers have been unable to deliver federal government financial system megaprojects on time, within budget, and within scope, which delays the expected benefits from these megaprojects. The gap in practice is the lack of proven project portfolio management practices used to deliver financial systems megaprojects on time, within budget, and within scope.

The scope of the capstone project was the exploration of perspectives of private sector project management practitioners regarding the successful strategies used to deliver financial systems megaprojects to the executive branch of the US federal government on time, within budget, and within scope. The data collection method consisted of semi-structured interviews using open-ended interview questions. The interviews were conducted using the Zoom platform with private sector project managers who delivered financial systems for executive branch agencies of the federal government from January 2016 to December 2021. Nine participants were able to participate during the interview process.

Five sets of results emerged from the analysis of interview data. Forty-two PPM standards and three themes emerged from the interview question focusing on recommended PPM standards. Forty roles and three themes emerged from the interview question focusing on recommended PPM roles. Thirty-one PPM tools/technologies and three themes emerged from the interview question focusing on recommended PPM tools/technologies. Thirty-six PPM skills/competencies and two themes emerged from the interview question focusing on recommended PPM skills/competencies. Twenty-nine additional PPM practices and four themes emerged from the interview question focusing on additional PPM practices.

 SECTION 1. BUSINESS PROBLEM AND PROJECT SCOPE

1.1  Introduction

The delivery of information technology (IT) megaprojects is costly and time-consuming for the private and public sectors (Bloch et al., 2020; Zurong & Feng, 2018). CIO Magazine reported in 2019 that 70% of IT megaprojects were either late, over budget, or failed to meet their customer’s requirements (Sisco, 2019). Megaprojects are defined as those project activities that span over several years that cost over $1B (Flyvbjerg, 2014; Larson & Gray, 2018). The technology used and how information technology systems are implemented are similar in the private and public sectors (Wood, 2017). The common theme of project delays includes cost overruns and scope creep that resulted from the lack of proper project portfolio management techniques (Hines & Carrington, n.d.; Oostuizen et al., 2018; Pratt, 2021).

The risk for failing to deliver information technology (IT) projects to the federal government on time, within budget, and within scope remains high (Adams, 2016; Clark, 2013; Mares, 2020). Marinaro (2019) revealed that over 50% of federal government IT projects were deemed medium or high risk. A government report in 2019 noted that  $87.8B was spent on information technology (Office of Management and Budget, n.d.-b). The risk for failure led the General Accountability Office to evaluate over 100 IT projects to identify high-profile projects that needed to be watched closely (Boyd, 2020). One focus area of high-profile IT projects was the delays, cost overruns, and scope creep with financial system projects (General Accountability Office, 2018, 2020; Office of Management and Budget, 2013). Financial systems projects involve the modernization of systems used to process accounting, budget, payroll, and purchasing transactions, mandated by the CFO Act (General Accountability Office, 2005). Miller (2021) noted that 56 federal financial systems are nearly the end of their useful life; thus, the pressure to modernize is high.

The need for effective project portfolio management revealed a more significant problem.  The program/project managers were not using proper project portfolio management techniques in managing their megaprojects (Project Management Institute, 2017). Since 2013, research conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the leading global project management association, provided similar results in the private and public sectors. PMI noted in its 2013 Pulse of the Profession that for every $1B spent on projects, $135M is lost and not recoverable (Project Management Institute, 2013). The 2015 Pulse of the Profession survey from PMI revealed that 34% of projects, in general, failed to reach their goals (Project Management Institute, 2015). The 2016 Pulse of the Profession survey noted that over 30% of government strategic initiatives failed to achieve their goals while wasting $101M for every $1B spent on projects and programs (Langley, 2016). PMI reported in 2018 that project managers identified over $99M in losses for every $1B per the use of poor project management techniques and tools (Project Management Institute, 2018). The surveys from PMI  showed that IT megaprojects have similar problems in the private and public sectors. Burtseva et al. (2019) noted that project managers and sponsors need to pay close attention to risks, especially financial ones.

More…

To read entire paper, click here

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 9th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2022.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Pullen, J. D. (2022). Exploring the Perspectives of Private Sector Project Managers as to Project Portfolio Management Practices; presented at the 9th Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium, College Park, Maryland, USA in May 2022; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue VIII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/pmwj120-Aug2022-Pullen-perspectives-of-private-sector-project-managers-on-portfolio-management.pdf


About the Author


Dr. Jeffrey Pullen

While Plains, Maryland, USA

 

 Dr. Jeffrey Pullen is employed full-time by the U.S. Department of Justice as the Departmental Financial Systems Program Manager, overseeing the Department’s financial management and payroll systems. He has an extensive background in accounting, information systems, and project management. Professor Pullen knows first-hand the commitment his students are making for he was a by-product of the ‘working-adult part-time student’ environment. Each of his academic degrees was earned while working full-time: from UMUC a B.S. in Business Management / Accounting (1992) and an M.S. in Information Systems (1996); from Strayer University an M.S. in Accounting (2006); and from Keller Graduate School of Management an M.S. in Public Administration (2011) and an M.B.A in Project Management (2012). He holds an active license/certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute as well as a Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) at the Senior Level. This program is for acquisition professionals in the Federal Government performing program and project management activities and functions. He recently completed doctoral degree at Capella University. He is presenting his capstone project from Capella University. The title of his project is “Exploring The Perspectives Of Private Sector Project Managers As To Project Portfolio Management Practices”. Dr. Pullen can be contacted at jpullen1@capellauniversity.edu .

 

 

%d bloggers like this: