If I Could Do It All Again... (13: Julienne Sugarek)

If I could do it all again, my first step - even prior to chartering a project - would be to sit down with the individuals recommending the initiation of the project and get them to agree on the drivers for the project and the priority of each of those drivers. A project’s drivers strongly influence the outcome of the project. By securing agreement on those drivers early, you can better set the expectations of the stakeholders and substantially increase the likelihood that your project will be viewed as a success.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this concept is with an example. If you are designing a vehicle, you must first understand what the vehicle will be used for. Given a primary requirement of fuel efficiency and a secondary requirement of seating for a family of four, the result would probably resemble a mid-sized, four-door sedan. A customer with those requirements will most likely agree that the basic design of the sedan meets their expectations. However, if you deliver the sedan to a customer expecting to use the vehicle for repairing power lines and hauling heavy equipment, you will have an unhappy customer on your hands because your design does not meet their expectations.

Generally projects have multiple requirements that are competing and therefore, you must find the right balance among them. With procure-to-pay re-engineering projects two of the most common drivers are efficiency and strengthening of internal controls. Everyone wants to get what they need faster in order to do their jobs, but layering in the correct checks and balances will generally add steps to ensure we are getting the right goods and services at the right price with the correct authorization. The trick is finding the right balance and communicating the right balance to your stakeholders.

About the Author

Julienne Sugarek is a Process Project Consultant at CenterPoint Energy. She is currently managing the procure-to-pay re-engineering effort. Julienne has been a project manager for over five years and has worked on a variety of projects for industry, state and federal government. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a certified project manager. Julienne received her MBA and undergraduate degrees at The University of Texas at Austin.


(If there's something you'd do differently if you could do it all again, why not let us know?   Email the editor  with your thoughts - anonymity will be respected upon request!)