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Delivering Value: Don’t mess this up

All projects must first and foremost deliver value to their stakeholders, particularly their key stakeholders.
Value by Material Boy via Flickr
We wouldn’t be doing this project if it weren’t for the value we provide. Sometimes value can be measured easily, while other times it may be more qualitative.
I have seen many different definitions of value. To me, it is a ratio between the benefits of an action and its total cost. While benefits and costs include monetary measures, they also include all other factors that have an impact on stakeholders. Morale, risk, sustainability, general well-being, etc. They are also part of the equation.
What perspective does value come from?
It is also an equation that differs for each stakeholder. It is important to identify and clarify the goals of key stakeholder(s) upfront. What might create value for one stakeholder but not for another? It’s impossible to please everyone. It’s a delicate balance, and the key stakeholders have priority when there are competing interests. It’s the key stakeholder or group that you need to deliver value to.
What requirements are being met?
In some circles, the only things that matter are meeting the deadlines and delivering the project on budget and on time. You’re golden if you deliver what you promised (in a contract and otherwise).
I disagree.
Poor requirements elicitation or not including key stakeholders during the project can lead to a product that is not useful to key stakeholders and delivered on time and within budget. This is the fault of the project manager.
Systems in delivering value
I’ve seen managers who didn’t see themselves as project managers, had no formal method, and provided value. Maybe they could have done better with a guiding theory to approach the work. I can tell that there are very few people who can successfully deliver projects without a system. Complexity makes it more difficult to deliver value.
I’m sure this will spark a lot discussion. Please leave your thoughts about project management in a comments!