Building capability to support pm as mainstream discipline


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Project management is fast becoming a mainstream management discipline. This paper explains why this is the case and identifies the challenges that the project management community and the general management community face as project management develops as a formal skill set required by a broad range of staff

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Building capability to support pm as mainstream discipline

  1. 1. Building capability to support project management as a mainstream disciplineShare this eBook:
  2. 2. Overview Project management is fast becoming a mainstream management discipline. This paper explains why this is the case and identifies the challenges that the project management community and the general management community face as project management develops as a formal skill set required by a broad range of staff. “Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change.” PM Body of Knowledge 5th edition Wide definition recognises that modern project management incorporates the disciplines of risk management, change management and programme management which in turn, involves the management of multiple, interdependent projects. ‘Mainstream’ means a major prevailing trend and is applicable due to the high growth in the number of projects that are initiated by those not traditionally seen as ‘project managers’. The reasons for becoming mainstream, and the pressure that this puts on existing training and development concepts, is explored, and a model for the future is explained.2 Share this eBook:
  3. 3. This model is based on the premise that we The model of the future outlined in this papercan no longer train staff in skills or methodology incorporates the longer term approach,without first being clear about their longer term identifies how project management skillsgoals coupled with the strategic objectives of development can form part of building athe organisation for whom they work. wider capability in project management and how the development of capability supportsIn this challenging economic environment talent management and succession planningthere is a need to ensure that training initiatives initiatives across an organisation.are integrated into a wider programme ofcapability building activities which ensures The management of projects is largely anthat the organisation has sufficient skilled intellectual exercise, therefore capability in thisresources for today but is also building skills instance is a product of:and experiences that will be required as theorganisation grows and matures.  The skills and experience of the human resources assigned to the projectTypically departments responsible for projectmanagement have excluded HR from the  The number of these initiatives available for project human resourcesproject management environment as thewidespread use of project methodologies hasbrought with it clearly defined training paths  The effectiveness of the processes that they applyleading to recognised qualifications. In doingso they have failed to benefit from the tools The capability, taken together with the ratethat HR have been introducing through their of work of the individuals involved, produceswork in organisational development, and the available capacity of the organisation forwhich has translated through to learning and change initiatives and therefore for growth anddevelopment functions. the achievement of strategic objectives.The longer term view of the organisationexists within the learning and developmentcommunity but its application to projectmanagement (and the associated skillsets of programme management) changemanagement and risk management is justbeginning, and is identifying challengeswhich must be addressed if organisations areto create an environment where strategicobjectives and the changes they require aredelivered as a normal part of business - not asone off ‘miracles’ amongst a sea of projectfailures. Share this eBook: 3
  4. 4. Project Management as a management mainstream disciplineProject management is the vehicle This formalisation has led to a maturity inthrough which we deliver change into understanding of project management withour organisations. This means that project recognition from the most senior managementmanagement deals with uncertainty and the downwards that projects are the way in whichflexibility required of staff and processes when the strategic objectives of the organisation willentering new territory. Business as usual is an be achieved. It is now much more common forenvironment of relative stability and certainty the board to refer to the need for an initiativeof information. Team structures, processes and to be established as a project than it was evensystems are built for long term use. The two five years ago. However this understandingenvironments collide as project management does not extend as widely to the idea ofis responsible for creating the future state of the programme or portfolio management – thesebusiness as usual environment and therefore, battles are still to be definition, introducing change into thatenvironment. The terminology of project management has become adopted more readily than before,Project management in its most recent such that project management is no longeriteration has been recognised as a discipline seen as the preserve of certain departmentsfor the last ten to fifteen years. Progress has or industries (such as the IT department orbeen made in developing methodologies and the construction industry). It is just as likelyframeworks detailing how projects should be that a project team will be formed to launchconceived, managed and implemented. This a new advertising campaign or restructurework has been supported by the creation of a department as it is to implement a new ITroles, job descriptions, document templates, IT and training courses that support theformalisation of project management within This spread of understanding of projectorganisations. management and the involvement of a much wider range of staff in its application has led to the recognition of project management as a mainstream discipline, as important as those other stalwarts of management including leadership and team working.4 Share this eBook:
  5. 5. As it has become a mainstream discipline there In addition to the growth in formal education,is an expectation that all staff will possess or a significant amount of training has beenwill work to develop these skills. This means that undertaken within organisations in an effortthe use of specialist project managers is falling. to adopt ‘best practice’ approaches inIn a recent survey of job sites1, the average project management and establish a coreproportion of specific project management set of trained project managers. For example,jobs across all industry types was in the range many organisations in the past five years haveof 7-13%. However if the search was for project successfully trained significant numbers of staff ®2management skills instead of the job title in the PRINCE2 methodology.‘project manager’ then this percentage rose to65%. This is leading to the expectation in many Whilst this is admirable, there is now theorganisations that specialist project managers recognition that an understanding of thiswill not be recruited but instead existing staff process driven model is not sufficient to deliverwill be asked to manage projects related to experienced and skilled project managers.their expertise, alongside their day-to-day This realisation is driving the demand for skills-responsibilities. based training to sit alongside the structural information offered by PRINCE2® 2 Managing , 2Whilst this is helpful in embedding the Successful Programmes (MSP® ), Managementapplication of project management across an of Risk (MoR® )2 etc.organisation, it does put great strain on existingresources who have to balance their ‘day There is a growing recognition of the place thatjob’ with the time and commitment needed professional bodies including the Associationto drive a project through to successful for Project Management (APM) and Projectconclusion. There is unlikely to be a reduction Management Institute (PMI)3 have in offeringin their other responsibilities so project ‘thought leadership’ and subject mattermanagement has to be fitted around existing expertise.tasks. In addition as project management isseen as mainstream some senior managers are The most recent step in the evolution of projectassuming that their staff have an immediate management is the application of specificallycapability to manage or sponsor projects. designed competency frameworks to identifyHowever in many cases they have been actual and target skill levels for individuals,given no formal training and no opportunity to teams and organisations. This can providedevelop these skills other than what they have an objective baseline from which personalbeen able to glean from seeing others in the development plans and training needs analysisrole. can be devised and skills gaps closed.1. The following sites were reviewed during the period June 7th to June 21st 2010:;; ® ® ®2. PRINCE2 , MSP and M_o_R are registered trademarks of the Cabinet Office3. PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc. Share this eBook: 5
  6. 6. Another challenge is to ensure that any steps taken within the project environment to develop skills, processes and procedures are aligned with the approach that the organisation takes as a whole to its ‘professionalism’. Structures exist to ensure quality, professionalism and ethical behaviour and project management should form a part of this. For example organisations that are accredited as ISO9000 require quality procedures that include how to manage and sponsorChallenges projects, Investors in People schemes should include project management training; professionalism may dictate that membership of professional bodies is mandatory or that project management forms part of inductionThere is a need for those conceiving, programmes for new joiners.managing and sponsoring projects toensure that the deliverables created by the It would be counterproductive for those inproject are business relevant - that they are project management to create structurescontributing to the longer term strategic that run counter to these core initiatives, as itgoals of the organisation. Whilst those in would indicate that project management issenior management positions can define the not mainstream but is on the margin of how thecontribution for large-scale initiatives, this is not organisation behaves.the case further down the hierarchy. If projectmanagement is to continue its climb towards The challenge is how to build structureacceptance as a core business skill emphasis that develops capability and is practicalmust be given to ensuring that all those enough to be successfully implemented. Ainvolved in projects, however small, are clear considerable impediment to implementation isthat the deliverables will help to the take their the differences in priorities between capabilityorganisation to where it plans to be in the next building (long term staff developmentthree to five years. and succession planning) and project management (short term delivery of outputs).Currently there is very little attention paid tothe need for commercial understanding and Project managers and project sponsors areawareness in traditional project management incentivised to deliver on time, on budget andcourses. However the current economic to the required level of quality. Essentially thereclimate will continue to force comprehensive is a short termism and an urgency in successfuljustification of projects before they will be project management, driven by the need tofunded. Successful justification relies on a clear achieve all of the tasks on the project planunderstanding of the commercial, political, often to an aggressive timescale. Where is thecompetitive and supplier environments into motivation for project managers to go morewhich the project will deliver. Understanding slowly than their existing team are capable ofstrategy and the commercial environment is so that new team members can learn the skillscritical to success in the public and the private and practice applying them to real life projectsectors. situations?6 Share this eBook:
  7. 7. The productivity dip that we all experience To meet these challenges, project professionals when acquiring new skills has a significant cost must enlist the services of their HR function to the project in longer delivery times and who can provide a vital co-ordination role. the risk of stakeholders waiting to make their HR is responsible for delivering a people- contribution whilst others catch up. There is also based strategy that meets the broadest the cost of mistakes which are an inevitable possible needs of the organisation. They have part of the process of learning a new skill. experience and understanding of activities Project plans rarely include time and other and structures that develop inspired and resources to perform rework so mistakes will committed staff. lead to delays and budget overruns. In recent years HR functions have transitioned Another facet of this challenge is that those into ‘HR business partners’ who support and most active within project management rarely enable managers to manage their staff have a background in personnel development, directly. HR business partners can enable the education and career planning. creation of capability building by developing a structure for identifying, tracking and It is essential that new skills are not developed communicating with those they identified as ad hoc but are planned as part of the having the aptitude to excel within a project considered development of the individual. This management environment. This structure can development must be in line with their career ensure that organisations can successfully plans and the future needs of the business. It is deliver projects today whilst building skills, a significant challenge to those embedded in knowledge and experience that will meet the delivery of change to step back from these the needs of current and future resource highly demanding responsibilities to ensure that requirements. their resource pool is receiving this considered development. It will be extremely damaging if the project management discipline establishes its required skill set but does not provide the support for its acquisition. For example it will be easy to lose the impetus and motivation of staff if they complete competency assessments but the information goes nowhere: Staff mentoringaccess to training, coaching and will want and other development opportunities to bridge the gap between what they know now and what they need for future roles Staffacknowledged their skillthe organisation has will want to know that set and is making use of it in opportunities that it is offering them Share this eBook: 7
  8. 8. Building capabilityThis model is a representation of the future that can address the challenges outlined above. Itprovides an example of the sorts of structure that organisations can adopt to deliver successfulchange on a continual basis.There are seven levels in this diagram, starting with strategic objectives and demonstrating howthese ultimately define which change initiatives are required. Once change has been successfullyachieved, the strategic objectives are re-conceived for the next time period, representing acontinual cycle of growth for the organisation. Successful change initiatives Succession Planning Interviews Talent Management Career Training Development Capability CPD Paths Assessment Hierarchy centres of roles Technical skillsCompetencies Interpersonal skills People Job descriptions No. and location of staff Structure Service Processes menu Maturity models Strategic Methodologies Objectives and developments Increasing maturity8 Share this eBook:
  9. 9. Strategic Objectives As well as the definition of services that are offered, the service menu can be used toThese objectives set the longer term direction define the likely number of resources requiredof the organisation establishing how it will to perform each service and the desiredgrow in size, product or service range and location of those performing the service inmarket position. Senior management require relation to the business function they area comprehensive picture of what project supporting. For example I tend to categorisemanagement excellence looks like if they staff location as Near or Far to identify if theare to plan the growth of their organisation service can only be performed ‘face to face’successfully and resource it appropriately. or if it is something that can be performed by resources not co-located with the projectThey recognise that those who are responsible teams. A good example of a ‘Far’ task isfor successful project and/or programme processing of the expenses connected withdelivery need to understand what drives running a project; and an example of ‘Near’business performance and ensure that their task is implementation support with the businessproject or programme contributes to this. unit responsible for using what the project has created.This means that traditional projectmanagement training programmes that Competenciesonly concentrate on methodology or skillsdevelopment do not go far enough. Project Competencies are the behaviours thatmanagement training must provide guidance employees must have, or must acquire, toin commercial understanding and the input into a situation in order to achieve highmanagement of change. levels of performance.Services To perform any aspect of project management requires a mixture of technical andProject management is a service to the interpersonal (people or soft) and, as such, must clearly define This is because whilst there is a need forwhat it is offering and what the business will be technical ability to plan work, assess risksexpected to acquire from other sources. and control progress none of these activities will happen without the ability to persuade,A service menu provides this clarification by influence and motivate the project team,defining the catalogue of services that the the project stakeholders and those who willproject management discipline offers the ultimately use what the project is creating.organisation. These services might includebusiness analysis to support requirements Project management relies upon manygathering and scope definition for projects, ‘standard’ management competencies suchtechnical expertise in planning, scheduling, as leadership and teamwork but the mostrisk analysis and testing of deliverables, and comprehensive skill set has already beenchange management activities to ensure defined for us in the competencies frameworksbehavioural change within those responsible that have been developed in recent yearsfor adopting the deliverables created by the by the various professional bodies for projectprojects. management. Share this eBook: 9
  10. 10. In the U.K. the Association for Project Project manager competency comprises three Management has developed its ‘APM separate dimensions: Competence Framework’ which identifies 47 competencies in seven distinct skill  Knowledgeapplicationproject manager knows about the – what a of processes, tools and areas specific to project and programme techniques in project activities management. For each competence, an individual will assess themselves against two dimensions:  Performance – how a project manager applies project management knowledge to meet project requirements Knowledge – an individual has understanding Personal – how a project manager behaves of the subject when performing activities in a project subject practically Experience – an individual has applied the environment The equivalent of competency at an APM is a founder member of the International organisational level is maturity which is usually Project Management Association (IPMA), assessed using a maturity model. There a federation of over 40 national member are many management maturity models associations. The APM Competence in existence, including those specific to Framework is aligned with the IPMA project management. For example the P3M3®4 Competence Baseline (ICB). The ICB sets out model from the Cabinet Office assesses the the knowledge and experience expected ‘competency’ of an organisation in project, from the managers of projects, programmes programme and portfolio management, and project portfolios. It contains basic terms, providing an indication of maturity from levels practices, methods and tools for professional one (awareness of process) to five(optimised project management as well as specialist process). knowledge and experience. The Project Management Institute (PMI) also Project Management Institute (PMI) also has a maturity model called the Organisational has a competency framework, called the Project Management Maturity Model, OPM3. Project Manager Competency Development This helps organisations understand their (PMCD) Framework – Second Edition, which project management processes, ensures that provides general context for the definition, their projects are tied to the organisations assessment and development of project larger strategy and measures and guides their manager competency. The framework outlines capabilities for improvement. the key dimensions of project management competency and identifies those competencies that are most likely to impact project manager performance. 4. P3M3® is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office 10 Share this eBook:
  11. 11. Capability Career development paths, integrated with Personal Training Plans and ContinualCapability is the ability of the organisation Professional Development programmes,to deliver its objectives. This ability can only are important in the matrix managementbe developed if there is clear instruction on environment that projects rely upon. Whenwhat capability is in the context of what is staff are asked to participate in projectbeing achieved. Project management relies management, questions arise over who theirupon matrix management as individuals are ‘real’ manager is – line manager or projectexpected to work as part of a project team manager/sponsor, who is helping to plan theirand to retain responsibilities for business as career, who understands their contribution tousual. As a result the reporting lines and levels the organisation and their future potential.of authority that each individual has in differentsituations must be clarified through a hierarchy One challenge is building a career frameworkof responsibilities. Job descriptions are needed that incorporates the different project rolesto establish all of the assumptions that are without creating a structure that only addressesmade about each role within this matrix. project responsibilities at the expense of business as usual activities. Earlier in this paperEffective training must be coupled with it was stated that organisations are movinga programme of continual professional away from specialist project roles to includingdevelopment which encourages individuals project responsibilities within other roles in theto take responsibility for acquiring knowledge organisation. Therefore a career developmentand experience relevant to their career plan solely for project and programmeaspirations. Organisations can use their training management does not reflect the environmentbudgets for courses and workshops but in which individuals are expected to perform.individuals can increase the effectiveness of Maturity and experience in their ability tothese events through the additional support manage projects has to dovetail withinoffered by membership of professional bodies, increasing ability in other skills in their chosensubscription to professional journals, joining specialism.communities of practice, contributing theirexperiences to action learning sets etc. The following diagram provides an example of how organisations are creating careerTalent management paths that have levels reflecting management "Talent consists of those individuals who grades but that are not specific to job titles. can make a difference to organisational This enables an organisation to future proof performance, either through their job descriptions as roles evolve and minimise immediate contribution or in the longer potential claims for unfair or constructive term by demonstrating the highest levels dismissal as roles adapt and gain or lose of potential." responsibilities. This is a sensible approach as in a fast moving environment (often driven by CIPD Talent Management Research Insight, June 2007 technology, economic and legislative changes and customer demand) there is a danger thatBy establishing career development paths, job descriptions will only describe a role usingtalent management provides a route past and present responsibilities and not thosefor individuals to participate in their own of the future which may not even have beendevelopment and therefore generates support conceived.for continual professional development. Share this eBook: 11
  12. 12. Job descriptions and career paths L5 For one or two of the competencies, an L3 may have L4 ability, but overall is still an L3 grade until the other areas develop to L4 L4 Role 1 Role 2 Specialist Specialist Project Management Change Specialist Specialist L3 skill skill skills skills skills skill skill L2 For one or two of the competencies, an L3 may have L2 ability, but overall is still an L3 grade L1The approach shown in the diagram avoids Succession planninga constant round of updating of these "A process by which one or moredocuments. Job descriptions become successors are identified for key posts (ormodular with a module for each specialism groups of similar key posts), and career(management or technical). The modules moves and/or development activities arespecify the skills and competencies required planned for these successors. Successorsrather than describing the activities and tasks may be fairly ready to do the job (short-involved. This enables flexibility and speed of term successors) or seen as having longer-change to meet the innovation that is part term potential (long-term successors)."of organisational development in the 21stcentury. HIRSH, W. (2000) Succession planning demystified. Brighton: Institute for Employment StudiesThis approach also allows for the inclusion ofthe multiplicity of job titles that is a result of job In the past, there has been a tendency fortitle inflation, which is often a product of non- the main determinants when forming projectfinancial reward that has taken place during teams to be past history with the projectthe recession, and which is likely to continue manager and availability. Whilst these factorsas bonuses are cut and pay freezes come into will always be important, the increasingoperation. importance of successful delivery of projects requires a move to a more objective basis for selecting project staff. This is also a natural extension of the application of career paths and competency frameworks. Interviews and assessment centres can be devised to review the required competencies and levels of experience and ensure that promotions deliver individuals who have progressed in their understanding and ability.12 Share this eBook:
  13. 13. ConclusionProject management continues to grow in importance toorganisations and is being adopted across all roles andfunctions. Adoption into a wider set of job functions is impactinghow project management is treated as a skill set. It is becominga mainstream management discipline.This means that the development of project management skillsis maturing away from individual training courses to become apackage of capability building measures that deliver certaintythat the organisation has the project management capacity tomeet its strategic goals.The project management community has much to gain froma greater integration with the HR function, as partneringorganisational development with project management skillsand competencies will drive further professionalism in projectmanagement. Share this eBook: 13
  14. 14. Maven Company OverviewMaven can assist you to address project management in the wider context of organisationaldevelopment. We cannot fix all of your problems – we are not, and do not claim to be, amanagement consultancy. We are however experts in capability building and can work with youto align programme, project, risk and change management with the organisation you wish tobecome. We have the expertise and experience to do the alignment for you but it is our ethos totransfer the skills into our clients so they become self-sufficient going forward.Our services are designed to tap into initiatives designated as ‘transformational change’programmes, talent management strategies etc. - in other words to take our services outside ofthe narrower definitions of project management and of training.We apply a staged, structured approach to capability building by addressing:The situation: we gather information on the objectives of the organisation and the goals and key performance indicators that need to be metThe people: we use best practice competence frameworks to assess current capabilityThe structure: we conduct a maturity assessment to demonstrate where the organisation is currently in relation to running its projects and, equally importantly, how it can progress to the next level of maturity14 Share this eBook:
  15. 15. The diagram below illustrates the approach in more detail:Data gathering Results Action Plan Organisational context: How do we move from current Situation to future position? Assesment • Strategic objectives • Assumptions, risks, 1. Summarise current position: constraints • Organisational maturity • Staff capability Capability People context: Assesment • People Size of gap will influence • Business and commercial complexity of assignment • Context • Techniques • Planning the strategy 2. Clarify desired future position: • Executing the strategy • Organisational maturity • Organisation and • Staff capability governance Maturity Structural context: 3. Explain the relevant Assesment intervention for each theme: • Management control • Workshops • Benefits managment • Training courses • Financial management • Assurance services • Stakeholder management • Mentoring and coaching • Risk management • Performance support • Organisational governance • Career paths • Resource management • Talent management • Succession planningThis approach has been successfully applied with our clients and Maven will be pleased to discussits applicability to your organisation in more detail. Share this eBook: 15
  16. 16. Biography: Melanie FranklinMelanie has an impressive track record in the successful realisation of business changeprogrammes across private and public sector organisations. She is the founder and ChiefExecutive of Maven Training and is highly experienced in the delivery of board level guidanceand mentoring.She takes a very practical approach to change, programme and project management withpriority on the realisation of planned benefits, working closely with her client base to ensure thatthe desire to implement best practice does not result in bureaucracy for its own sake. Eachsolution that Melanie proposes to clients is based on sound practical advice and experience withguidance on how it is likely to be received by staff, how resistance to change can be overcomeand how stakeholders can be engaged from the outset.Melanie is a talented communicator and has a reputation for delivering complex information withhumour and passion. She draws on her wealth of practical experience to illustrate concepts andto engage her audience in lively debates on advantages and disadvantages of each approachthat she outlines.Melanie is the author of a number of books and whitepapers about project and changemanagement including the recently launched Managing Business Transformation: A PracticalGuide16 Share this eBook:
  17. 17. For further information about Maven Training please contact: Melanie Franklin Telephone: 020 7403 7100e-mail: Follow us on: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Slideshare YouTube Scribd Share this eBook: 17