Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How to Improve Your Organization's Project Management Capabilities

How to improve your organization's project management capabilities
One (relatively) easy and effective way of increasing the number of successful projects in your organization is improving your organization’s project management capabilities.

Business capabilities are a combination of people, process, and technology. Although I very much agree with Tom Peters when he says that “business is people doing things for other people,” when it comes to project management capabilities, process comes first, people second, and technology last. People and technology support the process.

In his book “The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management” James T. Brown describes a very straightforward approach on how to improve your project management capabilities by creating accountability and maintaining discipline. In other words, he shows how supporting the process can lead to project management success.

Create Accountability

A big advantage of processes for project management is that they drive accountability into the system at all levels. Project managers and project sponsors should use leadership and strategy not only to make the project team accountable, but also to make external stakeholders and the leaders in your organization accountable.

Two levels of accountability are critical for improving your project management capabilities. The first level is having someone who is accountable for the establishment, improvement and compliance with the project management processes themselves. These processes should include project management, program management, and portfolio management.

The second level of accountability involves clearly defining all roles and responsibilities for project sponsors, steering committee members, project managers, team members, consultants, and PMO staff.

Developing accountability begins with selling your people on the concept that project management is best accomplished through a structured, repeatable process.

Not too many processes, not overly bureaucratic processes, but strategically thought-out “just enough” processes that are based on the organizational context. These processes are then created and rolled out in an orderly fashion to ensure acceptance and minimize disruption of existing work.

Most people agree that implementing every process that is logical, right, and valuable immediately all at once will overwhelm any organization. Therefore, you must prioritize these processes on the basis of the challenges your organization is facing and then establish a strategy for implementing the processes. 

Strong accountability practice includes establishing an individual who is accountable for managing each process.

Maintain Discipline

Do we always follow the logical, well-thought-out, planned process we have established for repeatable success, or do we short-circuit the process every time an imminent deadline, cost pressure, or demanding client or stakeholder surfaces? I am not saying that you should never violate processes, but when you do, you must have a process by which such deviation is approved and publicly acknowledged to all.

When you handle these deviations properly, you signal to the whole project management community in your organization that you and they will act with integrity under pressure.

And although such deviations should be rare, they are very important because they help improve your process.

In a nutshell: Project management is simply the application and execution of structured, organized common sense.

When you need some guidance on how to define and measure project success, just download the Project Success Model by clicking on the image.

The Project Success Model

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Henrico Dolfing