Why is decision making on projects under-optimised? by James Bryant

In a recent article in BMM it was proposed that

"Organisations must have a real-time, single version of the truth for decision-making, planning, forecasting, value engineering, project portfolio control/reporting and more."

As a company with a remedy, our experience is that there are two barriers to solving this problem: Decision making & Belief. Decision making splits into 2 parts:

Firstly, those running the projects are tasked with delivering the project and improving organisational wide performance is a nice to have. This is an elephant in the room caused by operational reality. With reductions in resources one project manager described their role thus:

 “I am expected to fight the alligators and maybe drain the swamp. However, due to lack of resources, there are more and more alligators and the water level in the swamp is rising.”

At its most brutal, there is almost a hopelessness and inbuilt expectation that projects will fail so for many success is to survive the project and minimise the level of failure.

Secondly, persons further up the hierarchy are likewise overwhelmed, not only with volume of work, but with volume of information. Much of this information promotes the approach that has caused the problem, as the way out of the problem: big silo applications. The answer being to eradicate excel and buy yet another application to create another, better silo: or replace the silos and buy one single system. This approach is 'promoted' by many of the top management consultancies to whom organisations turn for their solutions. This is the status quo.

Therefore, to seek out a solution, a decision-maker would need to go against the received 'wisdom' in the market believing there was a solution no-one was talking about and search for a needle in the haystack of communication to hear about our solution. Then they would have to believe it.


So what about Belief? Our solution (Connected Intelligence) is to join up excel spreadsheets to the cloud. We treat excel as a platform and create connected workbooks (think of them as bespoke 'apps') that talk to and feed a database in the cloud, and via that synchronise with it and each other. This means everyone keeps using excel but all the issues with it vanish.

As regards creating an SSOT (single source of truth) every application exports to excel, extracts from them can be fed into the cloud database to create a single source of truth, from which reporting can be generated either directly or via whatever reporting tool you fancy.

As a side benefit this also delivers huge gains in productivity and speeds up reporting to near real-time making it possible to focus on making better faster decisions.

And it is rapid: In one construction industry implementation of 250 projects across 35 countries was completed in 14 weeks with productivity savings of 96%.


There is more on our website and obviously, I would be delighted to speak to anyone who wants to know more.



James brings over 35 years international experience in enterprise sales, marketing and business development & strategy. He is an owner/founder with a dynamic history of developing and delivering solutions for multinational & Government organisations across diverse sectors.   He possesses intellectual gravitas, highly developed interpersonal skills and behavioural understanding that enables him to work comfortably with other high status individuals and complex ideas. His analytical capabilities, rigorous logic and desire to generate practical outcomes are brought to bear to ensure focus is on pragmatic and implementable solutions. James' past clients have included Amey, Reuters, Vodafone, British Gas and B&Q.