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How CEO’s Can Have More Meaningful Project Controls Conversations in the Boardroom

by Paul Vogels, on Mar 23, 2023 11:00:00 AM

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A successful project delivers good margin and strong ROI. It makes for satisfied stakeholders and happy clients. It builds trust and a reputation for excellence. It puts the organisation in good stead for future contracts and tenders.

However, as every executive knows, it only takes one mistake, misstep or oversight to cause delay, financial loss or even catastrophic project failure.

The challenge for the CEO is to get the best out of the C-suite team. That means having more meaningful conversations with them around people, processes and tools.

Knowing the Numbers

It’s simple. You want to know what’s coming in and what’s going out, and when.

You may have projects on the go and projects in the pipeline. You’ll want cash flow projections, key dates for milestones (which may trigger next-stage payments) and an understanding of earned cost against actual value.

You’ll want to know what tenders are in play or coming up, what buffer reserves are available or could be freed up soon. There are many factors at play. You’ll need your CFO to be able to provide clear and accurate numbers, especially around Earned Value.

You don’t want to be at your desk, going through the numbers with any doubts as to whether they are a true reflection of the organisation’s position. Your CFO is there to help build sustained profitability for the company. Be prepared to fiercely challenge them on the financial challenges. After all, it’s your reputation on the line.

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Keeping Data Secure and Accurate

And when it comes to reputation, one of the biggest risks to it is a data breach or compliance failure. The fallout from an incident like that does not bear thinking about.

To be confident everything is as it should be, your conversations with your CIO must convince you of the fact. Any issues that could create big problems need to be on your radar.

Is the organisation meeting compliance and data regulations in every country where you’re running a single project or multiple projects?

When the CIO says the systems and processes are in place, are you reassured? Or is the organisation ‘getting by’ with a number of old tools and apps, rather than staying ahead of the technology curve? Your team’s approach to the gathering and reporting of integrated, real-time information is critical to the accuracy of the data upon which you make your strategic decisions.

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Maintaining Operational Efficiency

As a CEO you are probably not going to be too impressed if people are coming up with weak excuses as to why performance is not as it should be.

Most organisations will experience supply chain issues at some point. It’s how well they have prepared for, and dealt with, it that matters. The primary responsibility for that lies with your COO. 

A meaningful conversation with your COO gets to the heart of operational essentials. Are you happy you have the right people in place? Are processes robust and being improved? Does the organisation have the resources to ensure projects are not experiencing unwanted and costly downtime?

Your COO is like your early warning system. If there’s trouble ahead, they may have already taken steps to steer things back on track. If not, you need to know what action will be taken to put things right.

Sticking to Scope and Budget

Building growth means getting projects over the line, in time and on the money. If completion can be done quicker and cheaper, whilst maintaining quality, all the better.

Reducing risk and managing resources is key to success. And this is where your Chief Projects Officer, or CPO, proves their weight in gold. There’s a huge upside with successful completions but a big downside if things go wrong.

Because the CPO is connected to the COO, CFO and HR, they are likely to have a rounder picture of how things are coming together each week and day. Having more meaningful conversations with your CPO is part of the way to build consistent project success.

Project Controls in the Boardroom

Project management which embraces Project Controls gives the CEO greater peace of mind. It places a focus on getting the most out of your people, processes and tools.

To learn more about how to have more meaningful Project Controls conversations in the boardroom, download Primaned’s free executive insight guide, Building Growth Through Excellence: The CEO’s Guide to Project Controls

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Topics:PC Boardroom


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