Navigating Project Selection and Execution for Competitive Advantage : A Guide to Evaluating Prospective Projects at the Idea Stage book cover
1st Edition

Navigating Project Selection and Execution for Competitive Advantage
A Guide to Evaluating Prospective Projects at the Idea Stage

ISBN 9781003171867
Published June 28, 2021 by Productivity Press
454 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

For many organizations, the way in which processes and projects are selected and executed is a fundamental factor in how well they can prosper in today’s marketplace. By improving efficiency, driving productivity and reducing costs, organizations can increase throughput, improve service and bring new products to market faster. The aim of this book is to show how to assess chances of project success at the idea stage in order to direct resources to promising projects and conserve resources. In doing that, it presents effective project execution processes, practices, and experiences that help to select the right projects and do them right. This is a mindset changing book from project speed and cost cutting to discipline, execution excellence, and competitive advantage. It is about effective business development using a practical approach to select the right projects and do them successfully. It describes how to evaluate and predict the likelihood of project success at the idea stage before resources are expended to develop projects. Each chapter describes how to evaluate planned project development and implementation, rate its performance, and identify gaps to be filled to achieve project execution excellence. The book is designed to guide the assessment of each project stage to uncover areas in need of improvement with focus on prediction of project success. Hence, each chapter stands on its own and assesses key elements of project stages to determine how well they are executed. The journey of project execution described is based on predicting project success at the idea stage and begins with understanding differences in large project requirements and their effects on the way they should be done. The evaluation of the idea’s origin and reasons for pursuing a project is done with help from an experienced facilitator/moderator. The reason for it is that this individual is engaged to assess likelihood of success from an external, independent, critical, and objective perspective before the project begins.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1 Objectives of the Book

1.2 Principles of Assessing Likelihood of Project Success

1.3 Challenges of Assessing Project Idea Success

1.4 Benefits of the Proposed Approach

1.5 Structure of the Book

1.6 Use of the Book to Maximize Benefits

Chapter 2. Project Types – How Different Are They?

2.1 Types of Major Projects

2.2 Sources of Project Type Differences

2.3 Impacts of Project Type Differences

2.4 Questions to be Raised but to What End?

Chapter 3. Project Idea Evaluation – What Is It All About?

3.1 Substance of the Idea

3.2 Idea Origins and Sponsors

3.3 Consistency of the Project Idea

3.4 Reasons to Do and Not to Do the Project Idea Transformation

3.5 Beneficiaries, Supporters, and Opponents

3.6 Qualifications of the External Advisor

3.7 Evaluating and Rating the Project Idea

Chapter 4. Project Rationale – Why Are We Doing This?

4.1 Background of the Project Idea

4.2 Project Highlights

4.3 Project Sponsor Interests and Commitment

4.4 Project Fit Assessments

4.5 Evidence Supporting Project Rationale

4.6 Required Resources, Capabilities, and Experiences

4.7 Initial Cost-Benefit Estimates

4.8 Rating Project Rationale



Chapter 5. Organizational Factors – Political Support is a Must

5.1 Corporate Management Structure

5.2 Corporate Culture and Mindset

5.3 Senior Management Engagement and Commitment

5.4 Corporate Risk Management Culture

5.5 Project Governance Structure

5.6 Project Decision-Making and Approvals

5.7 State of 4Cs Assessment

5.8 Rating of Project Political Support

Chapter 6. Internal Assessment – Resources and Capabilities

6.1 Analyses to be Performed

6.2 Approach and Methods Used

6.3 Situational Analysis

6.4 Project Strategic Fit

6.5 Organizational Risk Management Culture

6.6 Participants, Skills, and Competencies

6.7 Entity Conducting Internal Analyses

6.8 Stakeholder Buy-In and Commitment

6.9 Rating of Internal Environment Assessment

Chapter 7. External Assessment – Uncertainty Management

7.1 Megatrends and Subtrends

7.2 PESTLED Trends

7.3 Industry and Market Trend Analysis

7.4 Customer and Project Impacting Trends

7.5 Trend Management

7.6 Rating of External Environment Assessment


Chapter 8. Project Development – Basis of Value Creation

8.1 Project Scope and Objectives

8.2 Project Team and Stakeholders

8.3 Project Team Skills and Competencies

8.4 Project Development Processes and Tools

8.5 Technical Assessment

8.6 Risk Management, Due Diligence, and Project Financial Model

8.7 Business Plan and Business Case

8.8 Project Marketing and Approvals

8.9 Project Implementation

8.10 Rating of the Project Development Stage

Chapter 9. Risk Mitigation – Priority with Idea Potential

9.1 Corporate Risk Culture

9.2 Types and Sources of Risks

9.3 Risk Identification and Assessment

9.4 Risk Management Processes and Practices

9.5 Risk Mitigation Challenges

9.6 Risk Mitigation Lessons Learned

9.7 Rating of Risk Mitigation and Uncertainty Management

Chapter 10. Project Management – Driving project Ideas Forward

10.1 Project Management Phases and Processes

10.2 Project Management Approaches

10.3 Importance of Project Management

10.4 Project Management Roles and Responsibilities

10.5 Project Management Skills and Manager Traits

10.6 Project Management Tools & Implements

10.7 Project Management Challenges

10.8 Results of Poor Project Management

10.9 Rating of Project Management Capabilities

Chapter 11. Idea and Project Marketing – "Selling the Project"

11.1 Project Audiences and Issues

11.2 Project Attractiveness to the Market

11.3 Evaluation of Project Value Creation

11.4 Challenging and Distracting Factors

11.5 Project Team Marketing Skills

11.6 Project Information Memorandum

11.7 Rating the Marketing of the Project Idea


Chapter 12. Project Modeling – Determining if it is for Real

12.1 Importance of the Project Financial Model

12.2 Model Ownership, Roles, and Responsibilities

12.3 Project Model Inputs and Outputs

12.4 Project Model Validations

12.5 Need for Good Models and Proper Use

12.6 Prerequisites, Skills Needed, and Limitations

12.7 Rating of the Project Financial Model

Chapter 13. Project Contractual basis – negotiations are key

13.1 Types of Project Contracts

13.2 Drafting Project Contracts

13.3 Contract Enforceability

13.4 Contract Negotiations

13.5 Contract and Negotiation Challenges and Costs

13.6 Rating Contract and Negotiations Management

Chapter 14. Project Due Diligence – AN INTERIM PROJECT Appraisal

14.1 The Need for Due Diligence and Interim Assessment

14.2 Areas of Due Diligence and Interim Project Appraisal

14.3 Means of Interim Project Assessments

14.4 Due Diligence and Interim Assessment Participants

14.5 Synthesis of Due Diligence and Interim Assessments

14.6 Due Diligence and Interim Assessment Challenges

14.7 Rating of Due Diligence and Interim Appraisal

Chapter 15. Checks, Audits, Tests – Business Case Requirements

15.1 Checks for Presence of Positive Cultures

15.2 Stakeholder Expectations Management

15.3 Business Case Requirements

15.4 Management Support and Decision Criteria

15.5 Skills and Competencies Checks

15.6 Financial Model Checks

15.7 Rating of Reality, Reasonableness, Reliability, and Sanity Checks


Chapter 16. Project Implementation – Driving to Completion

16.1 Project Implementation Purpose and Objectives

16.2 Implementation Processes Components

16.3 Required Skills and Competencies

16.4 Successful Implementation Practices

16.5 Project Implementation Challenges

16.6 Rating Project Implementation

Chapter 17. Responses to Threats – Value Realization Planning

17.1 Performance Monitoring and Reporting

17.2 Identifying Performance Limitations

17.3 Response to Competitor Reaction to the Project

17.4 Addressing Black Swans

17.5 Project Value Realization Planning

17.6 Challenges to Developing Effective Responses

17.7 Rating Project Value Realization Planning

Chapter 18. Project Restructuring – Flexibility is Required

18.1 Revising Assumptions and Scenarios

18.2 Corporate Strategy and Project Objective Changes

18.3 Management of Stakeholder Expectations

18.4 Project Specification Changes

18.5 Risk Mitigation and Project Value Realization Planning

18.6 Project Governance Changes

18.7 Rating Project Restructuring and Response to Competitor Actions


Chapter 19. Project Performance Evaluation – Make it Useful

19.1 Performance Criteria

19.2 Performance Evaluation Areas

19.3 Project Performance Assessment

19.4 Performance Evaluation Challenges

19.5 Post Mortem Analysis

19.6 Rating of Project Performance Evaluation

Chapter 20. Project Success Evaluation – Best at the Idea Stage

20.1 Determinants of Likelihood of Project Success

20.2 Embracing the RBV/VRIO Framework

20.3 Why Predict Project Success at the Idea Stage

20.4 Methods to Predict Project Success at the Idea Stage

20.5 Processes of Evaluating Project Success at the Idea Stage

20.6 Rating the Evaluation of Project Success at the Idea Stage

Chapter 21. Summary and Conclusions

21.1 Recurring Themes and Conditions for Successful Projects

21.2 Lessons Learned

21.3 Conclusions

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John E. Triantis is a retired business consulting economist, strategic planner, international business development leader, and former forecasting expert. He has a track record of introducing effective processes and practices to develop successful projects. He is an experienced and a trusted new business development advisor in large projects, international infrastructure, financing, licensing, and organizational restructuring projects. His passion is helping clients minimize decision uncertainty and project risk. He integrates sound processes, best practices, and sound analytics with strategic planning and business development principles to maximize project value. His unique methods create world-class organizations, introduce value realization processes, and apply best practices to create successful projects. To address needs and fill gaps in client understanding, he authored numerous position papers and published the books Creating Successful Acquisition and Joint Venture Projects: A Process and Team Approach; Navigating Strategic Decisions: The Power of Sound Analysis and Forecasting; and Project Finance for Business Development as well as articles in professional domestic and international journals and books. He is currently working on a manuscript for the book Ethics in Large Project Development Decisions. John holds a Ph.D. in macro and international economics and a master’s degree in statistics and econometrics from the University of New Hampshire. His bachelor’s degree is in economics and mathematics from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


"This book is a treasure trove for readers who have to scan numerous sources to collect the techniques developed and project selection and execution best practices. It is quite informative, summarizing tools and methods and a must have book for strategic project stakeholders."

Jeffrey Morrison, former executive SunTrust Bank

"John Triantis has developed a unique and very effective approach to identify only value creating opportunity projects by determining chances of ultimate success. His masterful approach leads to achieving and/or maintaining competitive advantage and constitutes an essential analytical tool for project developers, CFOs, and project managers."

George S. Vozikis, Ph.D., Chaminade University of Honolulu, Professor in Residence, School of Business & Communication

"This is a unique, significant contribution that guides readers step by step how to create competitive advantage through the right project selection and execution. It deserves a wide audience of large project stakeholders and CFOs."

Julie Hill, former executive Lucent Technologies