Is there only one troubled project?


24 November 2012 – Richardson, Texas, USA – The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) Applied Project Management Speakers Forum on 20 November featured project turnaround specialist Dave Berry speaking on the topic of “Is it the same red project, or “Déjà Vu all Over Again?”.  Dave Berry is a principle consultant at Abyss Program Management, a US-based firm specializing in project recovery and turnaround.

During his hour-long presentation, Dave posed the questions: “Isn’t there only one troubled project?  Is it the same ‘Red Project’?  Is it “Déjà vu all over again”?  “Aren’t troubled projects all variations of the same project?”

According to Berry, “Everyone has heard the terrible statistics about project failures, that 2/3 of projects fail, in some way, to meet expectations with cost overruns, schedule slippages, and projects that are canceled all together. After decades of looking at troubled/red projects, Abyss Program Management sees the same problems over and over again. They usually aren’t technical issues. They are people issues: governance, communication, scope, sponsorship, etc. The project management fundamentals have slipped through their fingers. Not just one or two of the fundamentals but in numerous areas and it is the same areas again and again.”

Mr. Berry categorized project problems in four main areas: (a) What is the project?; (b) Is there a meeting of the minds?; (c) How is it governed?; and (d) How is it done?  He described the most common causes of project failures in each area.  In all cases, the focus was on project management fundamentals, basic PM processes and activities that are too often forgotten, done poorly or are under-valued.  Dave concluded with some tips on how to assess a troubled project.  A copy of his presentation is available on the Abyss website, with registration, at http://abysspm.com/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=157.

Photo: Dave Berry (on left) and René Le Bel, UT Dallas PM Program Alumni representative, Applied Project Management Speakers Forum, 20 November 2012, Richardson, Texas, USA. Photo: PMWJ

Dave Berry, PMP is co-Managing Director of Abyss Program Management LLC, a Texas-based consultancy. Dave is an Information Technology & Program Management Executive experienced in consulting management, operations and troubled program recovery. During his career, he has analyzed situations, identified problems, proposed alternatives, and resolved situations for international companies in diverse industries. He has a unique ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities for organizational change and operational improvement. As a consultant, Dave managed the recovery of an enterprise e-commerce program for Sam’s Club, involving numerous companies and hundreds of engineers, bringing the program from chaos to one of control and predictable performance in six months. He has a BS in Computer Science from Angelo State University and an MS in Project Management from George Washington University in the USA. He can be contacted at [email protected]

The Applied Project Management Speakers Forum is an educational event sponsored by the UT Dallas Executive Education Project Management MBA Program’s Alumni Association.  The forum’s mission is to facilitate ongoing education on strategies, principles and techniques for project management.  Speakers from business and the academic communities at large share stories and insights at regular sessions scheduled and announced beforehand.  The vision is to foster better understanding of the need and benefits of project management.  Events are generally the 3rd week of alternating months, in the UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management building in Richardson, Texas.

The Project Management Program at UT Dallas provides application-oriented education for professionals with significant project, program or general management responsibilities. Established in the Executive Education Center in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, students have the option of earning a Graduate Certificate in Project Management, a Master of Science degree with an emphasis in project management, or a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in project management. For more information, visit http://som.utdallas.edu/graduate/execed/projectMgmtProg/.