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The New ROI?

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The Researching the Value of Project Management study raised some serious questions about ROI. It may even cause project professionals and executives alike to re-evaluate their definition of what ROI actually is. According to the study, organizations are looking for more than just the usual "on schedule and on budget" demands from project management.

So what satisfies organizations now in terms of ROI? My theory--and granted, it's not a groundbreaking one--is that organizations now expect project management to contribute to the overall business strategy and results of the organization.

I checked in with Sheilina Somani, PMP, owner of the U.K.-based Positively Project Management consulting firm, and a PM Network columnist. And here's what she had to say:

"I'm experiencing more management commitment to meeting performance indicators and creating organizational value--such as optimizing a process, increasing efficiency, streamlining business efforts and, of course, cost saving, which in the current economic climate is critical."

But that raises another important question: How can executives get project managers to consider the overall business strategy of an organization when they launch a project? Ms. Somani had some thoughts on this as well.

"I believe this is the responsibility of the project manager. For me, working as a [project manager] for a client, I expect to have to know the business, ask questions about strategy and understand where the project fits for the organization. To have executives encourage/direct project managers to think this way--first of all make it part of the job role--an explicit responsibility to know the business, the marketplace of the organization and the corporate strategy. Thereafter, it's by asking questions of the [project manager] regarding the organizational value of the project, the perceived benefits to the organization and of the course the strategic fit."

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