Gartner Research

The 90% Club: Winning the Game Before the Team Takes the Field

Published: 02 May 2014

ID: G00264096

Analyst(s): Richard Hunter , Robert Towry, Tina Nunno


Delivering 80% of IT-supported initiatives on time and on budget once represented world-class performance. Some high-performing IT organizations are now sustaining a success rate of over 90%. They win the strategic game by avoiding weak IT investments and holding on to the strong ones.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


Executive Summary

  • Focus the enterprise team on winning the big game
  • Focus projects on the big game to win play by play
  • Put new players on the team

Focus the enterprise team on winning the big game

  • Absent clear priorities, delivery is not perceived as winning, no matter how well it's done
  • The case study enterprises share key characteristics in their approach to choosing initiatives:
  • High-performing IT organizations move faster on the field by avoiding waste
  • Define "winning" to help the enterprise win more

Focus projects on the big game to win play by play

  • Portfolio management makes execution coherent
  • Portfolio management focuses players on the strategic game
  • Clarity in strategy drives portfolio specificity
  • The next step for portfolio management: Strategic forecasting

Put new players on the team

  • Manage the delivery process with project managers, but manage solutions with product managers
  • Use program managers to referee cross-project conflicts
  • Evolve key disciplines to the same level to reduce risk and increase success rates
  • Start the evolution on IT's home field, with players who communicate effectively
  • Conclusion: To win the big game, start and end with the big picture

Appendix: Case Studies

  • American Express moves beyond 90% on-time, on-budget delivery
  • Approved outcomes lead to approved projects and success at Brigham Young University
  • Moving DotcomCo from 10% success to sustainable 90% success
  • Clear processes and roles in project, program and portfolio management lead to predictable strategy implementation: Insights From Gartner's Robert Towry
  • Context, not control, delivers business outcomes at Netflix
  • A rigorous success process helps SCL Health System reinvent itself

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Websites

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