The key to success of large and/or complex projects
The digitization of products, services or entire enterprises is accomplished by means of projects. A high success rate with projects of this nature means a clear competitive advantage. However, the sobering reality is that the percentage of projects that fail remains high, particularly in the case of large and complex projects with significant IT content. Failure leads to massive value destruction for the organizations concerned.
Our comprehensive analyses show that large, complex projects tend to fail as a result of insufficient project leadership (e.g. launching unfeasible projects or failing to call a halt to projects that hit untenable problems) rather than inadequate project management (e.g. methods, tools). For this reason, leading organizations involved with digitization work within the Competence Centre for Project Leadership (CC KEY) under the guidance of the Institute of Information Management at the University of St. Gallen (IWI-HSG) to make project leadership a primary success factor.
CC KEY operates under the academic guidance of Prof. Dr. Robert Winter. Transfer to the world of practice is the responsibility of Prof. Dr. Peter Rohner. CC KEY is sponsored by a community. Its activities are defined by the steering committee.
CC KEY works with its partners to develop the keys to success in the context of projects. To this end, the successes and failures of projects worldwide are analyzed, transferable experiences gained from other environments or from situations with high leadership aspirations, and insights exchanged between members. The findings are used to develop patterns, from which instructions are derived. These are then prepared for use in practice (e.g. in the form of check lists, methods, tools) and made accessible through further training.
The members of CC KEY meet up several times a year to compare results and to work together on current topics and issues such as:
- Agile versus waterfall projects (“How can you launch rapid-fire actions and still be sure of hitting the target?”)
- Project front-end loading (“You’ve made your bed, but do you really have to lie in it?”)
- Project governance (“How do you steer the steering?”)
- Project organization (“What is the right way to set up large projects?”)
- Project outcomes (“How can project success and value be measured?”)
- Project portfolio (“When should projects be turned down?”)
- Project risk (“Why do we need contingency plans?”)
The results of this work are continuously processed for the community members and periodically published in concentrated form. In addition, these results are incorporated into the KEY Method, which is available to community members online and helps users to examine whether their projects are on track for success.
CC KEY is open to people in organizations who are tasked with managing large projects, programs, portfolios or project leader pools, or who hold responsibility as members of steering committees. CC KEY partners currently include organizations from the financial sector, industry and public service.