Straight Talk on Project Management

IT project health care

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IT Project Health Care: The value of a second opinion

You often hear of people getting a second opinion when it comes to their health or medical advice.

But what about the health of your IT Project?

When was the last time you questioned your instincts, asked for another person to run an objective fresh pair of eyes over your decisions or sought a totally independent point of view?

Around 70% of IT / digital transformation projects fail, almost half (about 45%) are late and a quarter (25%) get cancelled.

I read recently that nearly a fifth (17%) of “IT projects fail so significantly that they could actually threaten the company’s entire existence”. If that’s true, what a chilling statistic!

Certainly, worth getting a second opinion! But how?

Doctor Doctor

In medical situations, of course, there’s a great reason to seek a second opinion. Life and death calls are being made on a daily basis!

recent study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that initial diagnoses were the same as final diagnoses in just 12% of cases. Think about that. In 88% of cases a second doctor looked at the same evidence and came to a different conclusion!

Startlingly, in over a fifth of the cases (21%), the second opinion resulted in final diagnoses that were significantly different than the original.

Perhaps most interesting though, is that in two thirds of the cases studied (66%), the second opinion helped better define or refine the original diagnosis – and this may be the area in which most IT project teams operate as they make decisions about their IT Projects. A second opinion could add value, improve delivery and increase return on investment.

IT Project Health Care

Listen, you know your IT Project.

You know your end users’ needs.

You know your clients and stakeholder partners and how they do business.

You know your colleagues and contractors.

The chances of 88% of your project decisions being wildly different to those suggested by an independent expert are pretty slim.

Also, I guess if you had an external analysis, and were told that you were ‘barking up the wrong tree’ nearly 9 times out of 10, you’d totally reconsider whether hiring the expert again was a good idea – either that or take a serious look at the judgement of your project team.   

I mean, it does happen, at Stoneseed we have revolutionised the way some clients approach their projects, delivering better outcomes in terms of deliverables, efficiency, budgets and timeframes and yes, some teams do get really lost. IT Projects are increasingly complex, budgets and teams are stretched, if the skill sets and experience demanded to deliver the best project outcomes are not aligned with those of your available talent, even by just a fraction, the results can be catastrophic.

But it’s rare.   

Overall, in our work with project teams we find that, like that figure of 66% where medical second opinions better define and refine outcomes, we can help project teams swap good for great, swap meeting expectations with vastly exceeding them and generally just breathe in new life with new ideas and fresh perspectives.

Usually, an IT Project team is totally on the right lines when we carry out an assessment, just a tweak or two can raise their performance to higher levels.

It can be really simple changes too, off the top of my head, recent examples are trying a hybrid approach to methodology rather than their old faithful go-to one, patching in the services of a Business Analyst using our ‘as a Service’ solution (BAaaS) to really ramp up that return on investment, and, as experts in remote access Project Management our ability to deploy rapid response resources has made a big difference to many projects during the pandemic.

Refining Your PMO

The beating heart of every successful project team is the Project Management Office (PMO),

Each PMO is subtly different, of course, they come in many shapes and sizes, from smaller Project Support Offices to full enterprise PMOs (it’s never a one size fits all) but what they do broadly have in common is their role – ensuring well defined processes and governance, planning, forecasting, project resourcing, the foundations for success.

Whether it’s a small team, an office or virtual the PMO sets and maintains standards for project management throughout an organisation and oversees creating and embedding procedures and best practices. Your PMO provides that invaluable link between your business strategy and IT project delivery.

At Stoneseed our PMO is the backbone of every service we deliver via our Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) model. From onboarding clients to resourcing projects, through consultancy, service provision and transition, it is integral to the success of all our services.

Stoneseed offer a complete Project Management Office (PMO) range of services from provision of single resources to a team of PMO experts; or a full PMO service package via a Managed Service.

If you have a PMO you wish to refine and improve, we also offer PMO Consultancy and Technical Design Authority.

Public Sector: A Second Opinion via Frameworks

When I talk with friends, colleagues and clients in the public sector, a hurdle to getting a second opinion that’s often brought up is ‘frameworks’. Taking onboard outside advice, inviting an external pair of fresh eyes to just, and I quote, “feels like a faff”.

Certainly, compared to many private sector organisations who just pick up the phone and call us, there appears to be a lot of red tape. The more barriers there are to accessing a second opinion, the less likely it is for one to be sought.

The good news is that, because Stoneseed is regularly engaged in Public Sector projects with councils, charities and universities, that fresh pair of eyes on your challenges is more easily attained. Public sector organisations can and do work with us in many ways.

Stoneseed often work with organisations through procurement teams and HR departments directly, via Private procurement frameworks and through Government procurement frameworks such as those offered by the Crown Commercial Service. We are currently listed as an approved supplier on the G-Cloud 12 framework under Specialist Cloud Services and also on the Digital Outcomes & Specialists (DOS) framework.

Less faff all round!

Stoneseed will work with any organisations that have an Approved Supplier List or Preferred Supplier List to ensure that organisations that need our services, can procure them via their chosen procurement route.

Through frameworks and the digital marketplace, we can supply a full Project Management service catalogue, delivering tools and people to improve your delivery capability and performance and our flexible, on-demand approach gives you more control over your costs, especially thanks to the Stoneseed guarantee of “no minimum contractual commitment” and the ability to dial up and down IT Project resources to meet your needs.

Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) model provides you with flexible IT Project Resources on Demand. We offer a full catalogue of Project Services including PMO, Project Management, Business Analysis and Technical Advisory Services which are available remotely or on-site. We are experts in Remote Project Delivery and are uniquely positioned to help with Project Delivery challenges presented by COVID-19 mobility restrictions.

If, like those medical diagnoses, 66% of your IT Project decisions could be refined to deliver better outcomes, imagine how much more effective your project team could be?

Need a second opinion? Call me on 01623 723910 or email to find out more.

  Find out about PMaaS and procurement via Frameworks



Extent of diagnostic agreement among medical referrals – Van Such – 2017 – Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice – Wiley Online Library 
25 Astounding Project Management Statistics [2022 Update] (