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The Benefit of the Intangible

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I have interviewed countless project managers, program managers, team members and executives for PM Network, PMP Passport and other PMI publications and there was often a common theme: Good project management practices equal a single vocabulary, increased transparency, and better teamwork across cultures and time zones. So when the preliminary results of Researching the Value of Project Management were presented a couple of weeks ago at PMI's Research Conference was it really any surprise the sources interviewed said basically the exact same thing? No.

Just because these benefits are often described as "intangible," it doesn't mean they are any less important than "tangible" benefits. In fact, these intangibles are often what make the tangibles--such as on budget and on schedule--possible.

What was surprising, however, was that many companies in the study--probably even ones that have been investing in project management for long periods of time--don't track their ROI. Why not? It's not as if this is some small investment or time commitment. If an organization was investing in the latest piece of technology that promised to save money or reduce the time spent working on a single task wouldn't they track that? Wouldn't they want to know they invested wisely?

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