Many organizations require project sponsors and their project managers to prepare a project feasibility assessment of new projects before they are authorized to proceed. Organizations can call them by different names but the project feasibility assessment is part of the project approval process. It’s basically a justification for the project. The review by management committees is the only way organizations can bring project initiation under control. The organization suffers if people can start a project and use company resources without upper management review and approval. The lack of control over initiation makes it exceedingly difficult for those organizations to deliver strategic level projects. We call them “pachyderm projects” because their benefits to the organization are huge. Very often an organization cannot deliver a pachyderm project because so many resources are tied up on less valuable categories of projects.
Project Feasibility: Project Categories
The “pachyderm projects” are the highest category because they are strategic for the organization.
The “puppy projects” are the lowest category. Organizations that can’t control project initiation have very large letters of puppy projects. They consume up to 40% of the available project resources. Some of the puppy projects have value; others have none. The only way to restrict the size of the annual litter of puppy projects is to make the sponsoring executive justify the project with a feasibility assessment and a cost-benefit analysis. When we help organizations install these processes, it’s amazing how two thirds of the puppy projects vanish because there is no positive cost benefit.
Watch this video about a new project manager needing to gather project feasibility study information and present it to executives to justify a project. Two experienced project managers guide this new project manager in all the steps to justify the project, including creating a business case and doing a feasibility study. The project manager encounters political roadblocks and difficulty in gathering data. But in the end, the project feasibility study is accepted and the project is approved by the management committee.