Managing Complex Projects – 4 Do's and Don’ts to Help You Improve Project Performance

December 14, 2022
Managing Complex Projects

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Complex projects with tight timescales can be liable to overrun if they’re not managed correctly. And this can eat into profitability–at a time when costs are rising, and supply chains and finances are already stretched. By improving the way you manage projects and delivering your best work for every customer−you’ll improve client retention, encourage more repeat business, and, ultimately, increase your efficiency and boost your bottom line.

But we know that’s easier said than done, so we’ve taken a deep dive into four dos and don’ts from our guide, ‘Manage Complex Projects with Total Confidence’ and how these can help you to improve project performance.

Shift Your Focus to Delivering Excellence

Leading project-based businesses are known to excel in all aspects of service delivery, including knowledge management, resource management, and estimating and change control processes.

According to the Association for Project Management, 89% of project professionals surveyed considered knowledge management either important’ or ‘very important’ for project success. And according to a study by Service Performance Insight (SPI) Research, these high performing firms have billable utilization rates of over 75%.

So, how can your firm achieve the same, and make the most of larger projects, more rigorous quality processes, and achieve fewer project overruns and cancelled projects?

Dos and Don’ts of Exceptional Project Delivery

Making a few simple changes to how you approach projects can be the key to ensuring every project you undertake – no matter how complex – is profitable.

Here are four dos and don’ts to help you manage your complex projects and optimize performance and profit.


  1. Use truly optimized and integrated CRM, project, and resource management systems and processes
  2. Create a clear resourcing plan that demonstrates how the project will be delivered on time and budget
  3. Make use of strong reporting and analytics tools
  4. Keep your focus on delivering the project on time and within budget


  1. Be inconsistent in your quality control processes
  2. Rely on favorite team members to resource projects rather than selecting based on expertise and availability
  3. Use inconsistent project delivery methodologies – or no methodologies at all
  4. Lose visibility of future projects and resource requirements


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Project Consistency Starts with Visibility

A clear thread runs through these dos and don’ts: the need for visibility and unified, connected, and consistent project management. By analyzing every project from conception to completion you’ll be able to see what went right, and what could be improved for next time. And by really understanding patterns across your projects, you can easily see what simple changes you can make now to optimize delivery in the future.

Businesses that succeed at this share a commitment to developing repeatable processes and standardized methodologies. SPI’s Professional Services Maturity™ index even found that project overruns go down as the use of standardized delivery methodologies increases. Successful businesses also have a strong focus on ensuring high quality delivery, with rigorous evaluation processes from estimation to project completion.

For newer project-based businesses that are trying to establish their place in the market, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing more on building a client and reference base than on optimizing performance.

But, as with everything, balance is key. To grow and succeed you need to invest in systems, operating processes, and repeatable methods – and ensure quality delivery in every project.

Integrate, Align, and Optimize Information

Leading firms are also using technology to achieve better communication, collaboration, and control in their projects. In fact, according to the Association for Project Management, 73% of surveyed project professionals believe that having the right technology in place is ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

The right technology gives you visibility into every area of your business, and each project you undertake. And it means you can automate repeatable tasks to free up your people from time consuming admin.

A project-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help you manage every aspect of the project lifecycle – and consequently optimize your project performance and profitability. Bringing project, financial, and resource management together in a single system will give you the tools to better manage complex projects and get the full picture of your firm’s performance.

With a project-based ERP system you’ll gain a transparent view of resource requirement, skills, and competencies. You’ll also be able to cross reference scheduling with availability and track project progress based on real data and future plans.

Start Improving Your Project Performance

Managing complex projects doesn’t have to be a headache. With the right tools and planning, even the most complex project can be delivered on time, on budget, and to a high standard.

And the right ERP can simplify this even further: giving you visibility into your projects and better management of your resources and finances – all in one place.

These are just a few of the benefits of how standardizing service delivery processes and improving resource management can help you make a success of projects no matter how complex. Take a look at the full guide to discover more detail on these, and three extra ways to improve project performance:

  1. Structuring your approach to resource and project planning
  2. Improving on-time project delivery
  3. Improving knowledge and information management


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