Gurtu 2010

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Maturing Project Management with the Use of a Methodology Member Content
- by Atul Ganatra, PMP
Recognizing the need for and benefits of a tailored methodology helps an organization instill discipline and consistency in the ways in which project managers manage change delivery. This article explains the benefits of implementing a customized methodology, the factors that affect the ways in which it undertakes these changes, components of a project management methodology, the stages of its implementation, and a few points for avoiding pitfalls.

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Gurtu 2010

  1. 1. PMI Virtual Library© 2011 Atul GanatraMaturing Project Management withthe Use of a Methodology By Atul Ganatra, PMPP rojects are initiatives spread management approach of the over a specific time period organization. and chartered to deliver aspecific product or service, generally What is a Methodology?conceived as a change in each case. In simple terms, aThe singularity of the product or methodology can be definedservice outcome of a project is what as “a body of principles,makes every project different from practices, procedures, and rulesothers. Usually, the successes of such used in a discipline,” basedbusiness, technological, operational, or on the classic definition byorganizational changes are considered Merriam-Webster, or it canto be the keys to an organization’s be simply stated as “a set ofsustenance and growth; therefore, descriptions of interrelatedsuch changes need to be undertaken methods” (... wherein astrategically, planned meticulously, method is a systematic andexecuted controllably, and delivered orderly procedure or processwith a clear articulation of value to the for attaining an objective). Accordingly, a project managementstakeholders. methodology is a suite of related project governance structures, Businesses, governments, academicians, and even not- procedures, rules, role definitions, and task relationshipsfor-profit organizations have come a long way in their set about to manage various project aspects throughout theunderstanding and adoption of the essentials of the processes project’s life cycle for successful project delivery.required to manage such changes. Given the criticality Practically, a project management methodology sets theof these changes in aligning an organization’s actions and direction for a project manager at every stage of a project andoperations to its own strategy and objectives, the organization facilitates with the relevant information for decision making.would need to follow “known” and, to an extent, proven ways It describes all the known essential tasks (not activities asof doing things (i.e., a set of processes that is tested to be clear specific to a particular project), processes, and deliverablesand effective in an organization’s context for any such change as they apply across various phases of a project’s life cycleto be delivered successfully, although the requirements of any (irrespective of the objectives and delivery requirements of asingle change are different from those of others.) Projects are particular project) in an organization’s own context. It helpsthe vehicles of delivering changes and project management a project manager ask the right questions in terms of WHATis the established discipline for governing projects, so (objective, deliverables, or activities), WHY (driver, rationale,these processes should be integrated in the overall project etc.), WHEN (order of activities, sequence, or a milestone),
  2. 2. WHO (roles, authorities, and responsibilities), and HOW 1. Benefits in a project environment. With increased(techniques, procedures) for any identified project task. predictability of the outcome, a methodology promotes Although it may borrow ideas, processes, and knowledge success and reduces the risks of failure. Clearly definedfrom certain project management standards, schools role specifications and relationships help improveof thought, or a body of knowledge, it should not be communication and establish the right expectationsconfused with any of these. Project management standards among team members. Furthermore, with templates,as manifested in A Guide to the Project Management Body checklists, and processes in place, it augmentsof Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (Project Management organizational knowledge and helps establish a matureInstitute), PRINCE2 (Office of Government Commerce), governance approach in a project environment.or others are the frameworks detailing the project definition 2. Basis for measurement. With consistency in the ways ofand its life cycle, theories of organizations and structures, accomplishing tasks and project management behavior,processes that would apply across discipline or knowledge a project management methodology can provideareas and techniques in general and not project management common yardsticks for measuring the project progressmethodologies that can be blatantly adopted by an and project management performance. This will beorganization to deliver projects. A project management apparent in life cycle duration, management of stagemethodology is a purpose-built mechanism internal, specific gates, communication effectiveness, and stakeholderto an organization, which delivers changes (internal or engagement, and will be reflected in main projectexternal) through projects and subscribes to the ideas or performance measures such as scope control, scheduleprocesses from different frameworks or philosophies. adherence, cost control, resource utilization, productivity, team motivation, and stakeholder delight.Why Methodology? 3. Improvements in project performance. Because it canThink of a project you’ve worked on or known and identify be measured, it can be corrected wherever required!which one or more of these problems the project suffered Projects undertaken with a well-defined methodologyfrom: schedule overrun, scope creep, stretched budget, will not only enhance the success potential (withinunacceptable quality of work product(s) or requirements not scope, time and cost constraints and with duebeing met with, dissatisfied customers of the project product, management of quality, risks, and resources) but willgrieved stakeholders, gaps in communication, deteriorating also improve the project performance in terms of bothteam morale and, last but not least, the lack of alignment of the productivity and effectiveness. The project’s successproject objectives to the strategy of the organization. Easy, isn’t would be evident in the quality of deliverables, delightit? For the most part, we are able to identify with at least one, of stakeholders, increased team morale, and improvedand at times a few, of these symptoms for any given project. organizational learning. How can a project management methodology help? 4. Maturity of process capabilities. Dr. Harold Kerzner, theIs it a panacea for all problems? Probably not, but it can globally recognized project management expert provideseliminate some of these problems or reduce the severity of insight into the project management processes maturityimpact for many others. At the outset, a project management capabilities in his KPM3TM (Kerzner Project Managementmethodology is expected to help a project manager with Maturity Model) approach. According to Dr. Kerzner, thethe direction and information along his or her journey in implementation of a project management methodology helpsmanaging a project. It identifies the starting point and sets the an organization attain a level 3 in process maturity capabilitiesroute, acts as a guide along the journey, and applies checks that further provide a sound foundation for benchmarkingat points vital to the success of a project. A deployment of a and continuous improvement. The process maturity thusproject management methodology underlines a policy-based achieved underlines overall organizational development.approach and provides for a procedure-driven mindset, one 5. Competitive advantage through organizationalin which the entire IPO (input, process, and output) can be improvement. Successful project delivery and maturedfairly uniform, the actions less evasive of human factors, and process capabilities would naturally set an organizationthe results rather predictable. to rapidly and aptly respond to business change and Actually, there are bigger and long-term benefits in transformation requirements, which provide an overalladopting a project management methodology from an competitive advantage in a business environment.organizational viewpoint: With this definition and these premises, this article PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 2
  3. 3. describes the major key drivers and factors contributing to and practices (e.g., an organization aiming for a radicalthe composition of a project management methodology, how performance improvement can be undertaking high-a project management methodology is modeled, and the life risk projects). Organizational attitude is a fundamentalcycle aspects for an effective implementation. attribute determining its actions and therefore can contribute significantly toward the definition and evenProject Management Methodology—Drivers, the deployment of a project management methodologyInfluencers, and Contributors (Is this not a project in itself?).Because the operative environment in which businesses B. Project Management Standards and Industry Practicesfunction is fairly complex and all its components are strongly —Management approach and governance structures;interconnected, any change (even seemingly small) undertaken project life cycle definition, phases, and stage gates;by an organization might have a more pervasive impact than process knowledge and functional techniques; projectapparent. Conversely, an organization is equally influenced integration approach; and matriculation guidelinesby a number of factors that would affect the ways in which it are subscribed from one or many bodies of knowledgeundertakes these changes; hence, these would have a bearing and project management frameworks, such as PMI’son its methodology for delivering changes (i.e., projects). The PMBOK® Guide, OGC standards, including thefactors, therefore, that necessitate an organizational framework PRINCE2 Project Management framework, Six Sigma,of delivering changes and the parameters which would in some Lean thinking, and SEI’s Capability Maturity Modelway influence this framework or directly contribute to it, can Integration (CMMI), just to name a few. As mentionedeither be internal or external. earlier, it should be borne in mind that any of these At the outset, the definition and design of a project industry standards or frameworks is not a methodologymanagement methodology draw inputs from and get in itself that an organization can directly adopt andinfluenced by these four sets of factors (Figure 1): implement; these are similar to sets of principles, guidelines, and related process descriptions. C. Operative Business Environment—Industry dynamics or the domain trends, market conditions, competitive Organizational Attitude – Project Management situations, technological changes, regulatory environments, Culture, Ethics, Values Standards & Bodies of and legal provisions are the major external forces that Knowledge influence the reasons for and the ways in which an Project organization manages projects. Again, this is because the Management Methodology project outcomes, most of the time and in some ways, have bearings on external stakeholders and it vindicates the close interactions among internal and external stakeholders in a Operative Business Process Assets – Environment global, complex business environment. Learning, Templates D. Process Assets—Existing processes, established procedures, and proven practices; templates, checklists, guidelines, historical information, and previous project learning, business intelligence, and knowledge databases are some Figure 1: Drivers, influencers, and contributors for a examples of soft assets that an organization possesses and project management methodology. that can be further leveraged to define and articulate a project management methodology. Because most of theseA. Organizational Attitude—Based on an organization’s assets are aligned to an organization’s own needs, these history and current mission, its goals, values, beliefs, can be leveraged to the advantage of project management and inclination for change are reflected in its standards processes by further refining them, in the new project and practices. These standards, practices, risk propensity, management methodology structure. and outlook toward change, manifest themselves in an attitude with which an organization would initiate and Project Management Methodology Components manage projects. Organizational attitude will underline A project management methodology (which, by now, is the genre of its structure, capabilities, quality of people, probably clear) represents an organization’s overall approach PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 3
  4. 4. to undertaking and driving change initiatives as projects, with defined to ensure that we get the same, desired, orsignificant impact to itself and all its stakeholders; a methodology expected results by following the same set of actionsin this manner, represents a self-contained yet fairly complex under identified circumstances. Procedures guide usset of components, allowing a project manager and his or her through actions, standardize the activities, and helpstakeholders to keep track of his or her change journey. eliminate the effects of individual judgments; establish In terms of its structure, a project management workflows; provide clarity of roles and in effectmethodology can be represented as a jigsaw with the mature processes, resulting in increased efficiency andfollowing six pieces (Figure 2): effectiveness of an individual’s actions. Semantically, the definition of the procedure characterizes the essence of methods, and so the procedures in different phases and project management processes form the backbone of a project management Tools methodology. 3. Templates—Templates are standard documents that Organizational Standards Collaboration Channels contain layouts and styles that act as document guides to prepare and share relevant content in a specific format. Templates aid in standardizing the formats of documents, Procedures Templates & Checklists Structures / Roles by supporting the articulation of procedures and the implementation of processes, so templates eventually help in assuring a certain level of quality in the project artifacts, deliverables, and outcome. Checklists are used as aids to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. A simple example can be a to-do list or a list of pre-requisites for a specific task. Checklists help to ensure Figure 2: Components of a project management consistency and completeness in carrying out a task by methodology. minimizing the opportunities for errors.1. Organizational Standards—This piece of the jigsaw In the context of the PMBOK® Guide framework, identifies the principles adopted and formulated by an templates and checklists can be identified as organization for all their actions, behavior, and outcomes. organizational process assets that have evolved over a To an extent, this would also demonstrate the ethics and period of time or that can be defined and developed for values of the entity and will be reflected in its policy, the specific purpose of a project task. procedures, templates, and the organizational attitude 4. Roles/Structures—One of the most important discussed earlier. components of a methodology, a role can be perceived Organizational standards, whether made explicit or as a set of expected behavior or actions, authorities, and not, encompass the adoption of ideas from frameworks obligations by an individual or a group of individuals or schools of thoughts; compliance requirements (actors), in an organizational context. A role needs to with industry standards or regulatory benchmarks; be defined unambiguously (i.e., by clearly identifying internal norms and performance specifications; ethical the tasks, responsibilities, authorities, and interactions guidelines, and even the corporate social responsibility surrounding it). It is also equally important to avoid paradigm of the organization at the extreme end of possible overlap of roles for a task that could, to a great the spectrum. These standards are underlined in the extent, defeat the very purpose of roles. corporate or unit strategy, clearly specified organization A set of roles and their interrelationships help derive values, internal guidelines, implicit in its actions and one or more structures that can perform actions to for external users, and in the brand equity of the accomplish project tasks. The structures may be defined organization. in terms of team compositions, boards or committees,2. Procedures—A procedure is a defined series of actions, specific action groups, task forces or the complete activities, or operations used to accomplish a specific organizational structure, as useful for the management of task with a clearly defined objective. Procedures are a project, program, or even a portfolio. PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 4
  5. 5. 5. Collaboration Channels —The most essential aspect of project management is communication in its various forms throughout the project life cycle, and that is why communication skills are one of the vital traits of a project manager. With the size and complexity of the Enhance Define projects that we undertake, dispersed and virtual project teams, maturing project management processes and application of technology, the traditional communication channels have evolved into a variety of collaboration channels that can support the project management methodology processes very well. Beside the traditional means of written and verbal communications such as Practice Deploy meetings, telephone calls, memorandums, and e-mails, project management processes can be aptly supported with collaboration platforms on intranets (wikis, project blogs), social media (even external stakeholders), idea junctions, virtual conferences and at times extend beyond the project boundaries but eventually help effective Figure 3: Project management methodology project management. implementation life-cycle. A project management methodology should clearly identify and leverage the use of various collaboration Define: Drawing inputs from various sources as identified in channels to promote agility and clarity in communication the previous section (project management methodology— and interpersonal dynamics that are vital to project drivers, influencers, contributors) and re-using or refining management processes and hence to a project’s success. the process assets that are already proving to be useful; the6. Tools—In the project management context, tools are “Define” (or “Build”) phase is all about developing a project software programs, applications, devices and sometimes management methodology. even the processes and standards that can be used to The Define phase would kickoff with the recognition of the efficiently develop and effectively deliver a service, need for an effective project management methodology by the deliverable, or an outcome in any of the project activities. organization, the acceptance of the charter of implementing a The project management tools range from the planning new project management methodology, and whole-hearted and scheduling tools, office applications, design tools for executive support. As it would become clearer in the description process flow diagramming and modeling, and collaboration of the “Deploy” phase, the implementation of a project tools to the management information systems (MIS), management methodology is an important organizational control tools, and checklists. change like any other major transformation. Timely and A project management methodology needs to appropriate information sharing about the organization’s intent specify the application areas and use of desired tools for of this change is absolutely essential in creating awareness and identified tasks to standardize the practices and ensure preparing all end users and stakeholders for the change. effective project management. Significant to achieving all its key objectives, a project management methodology proves to be a strategic asset for anProject Management Methodology Implementation organization and determines the orientation, pace, and rhythmLife Cycle of the organization toward change. It is, therefore, equally vitalAlthough a project management methodology describes an that a methodology is so defined to help project managersorganizational approach to managing a project throughout deliver the projects that they have been tasked with. Some of theits life cycle, it is equally important to effectively administer key attributes of a project management methodology can be:various phases of the methodology development, deployment, i. It should be very unambiguously documented and easy toand use to maximize benefits. A project management use.methodology implementation life cycle can be thought of as ii. It should subscribe ideas, knowledge, and processes frombeing made up of four different stages along the PDCA (Plan- the proven project, program, and portfolio managementDo-Check-Act) cycle, as described (Figure 3): frameworks and best practices. PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 5
  6. 6. iii. Organization specific—it should be tailored to an throughout (i.e., vision, purpose, benefits, expectations, individual organization’s purpose, project management progress, bottlenecks, and achievements)! requirements, and process aspirations. iii. Executive support—Needs the sponsor and executives toiv. It needs to be elaborative enough to include procedures, acknowledge the value and extend their passion to attain instructions, guidance, examples, document templates, project management process maturity. and checklists. iv. Follow the culture of the organization, to drive thev. It should strike a right balance between a simple approach change through with the least resistance possible. with little details and excessive documentation with v. Provide for the infrastructure, tools it needs, and create bureaucratic controls. a group of people who will comprehend the need,vi. It should be adaptable enough to integrate appropriately essence, and benefits of the new project management with other tools, processes assets, as well as other methodology and also who can act as practitioners as well functions and operations of the organization. as ambassadors of the new methodology.vii. With current trends, it is common to deploy a project vi. Train formally, and wherever appropriate integrate with management methodology in a web-enabled interface global training initiative. form, enabling project managers and all project vii. Facilitate coaching and online help. stakeholders with an easy access. With the choice of viii. Show results with the use of the new project management technology and tools, it should provide an intuitive methodology—Pilot projects as required and validate the process-driven graphical interface. benefits.viii. Flexible and scalable enough to be used across different types of projects in the respective organization or unit that Practice: Having deployed the new project management would undertake these projects. Customizable enough to methodology, an organization needs to make sure that this be used at the enterprise and/or work group levels. remains the only approach for managing projects. Overcomingix. Should facilitate a good governance model through gates, the initial resistance when the project managers are starting milestone checks, and periodic reviews throughout the to apply the new ways of managing projects—acknowledge project life cycle to increase success opportunities and efforts, encourage feedback, and reward enthusiasm! avoid failures. The term “Practice” (and not “Use” phase) is used tox. How about a persuasive title for the methodology? A name underline the committed use of new methodology and need that captures the spirit of the methodology should foster due for active participation—continuous involvement of project enthusiasm about its use and set appropriate expectations. managers through feedback can drive the maturity of the processes faster, to graduate from level 3 of process maturity Because the creation of a project management to level 5 of continuous improvement (according to Dr.methodology involves adopting best industry practices, Kerzner’s KPM3TM model).standards and ideas from external elements as much asknowing the pulse of the organization, the “Define” phase Enhance: Not a discrete time-bound phase but really amay see the involvement of external experts or consultants to process spilling over from the deployment of methodology towork with business champions of the organization. It is also everyday use—improving processes based on lessons learned,necessary to involve representatives of the users (mainly the capitalizing on the new technology and employing new tools,project managers) in the development process. establishing benchmarks, raising standards, and augmenting the use of metrics, which all sounds worthwhile and exciting,Deploy: The implementation of a project management especially after investing in the implementation of the projectmethodology is an organizational change and “Deploy”ing management methodology in the first place!it is like walking through the change, and the overall success It’s a stepping stone to driving the project managers in a newof any change depends on people. Likewise, the excellence cycle of improvement and the organization in search of excellence!attained through the implementation of a methodology wouldbe determined by the buy-in of the users. As an effective Avoiding Pitfallschange strategy, a successful deployment on the new project Because a project management methodology is a core softmanagement methodology would require the following: asset and a key to the success of almost every project that thei. Get people on-board, plan for an effective business organization would take on, it might be useful to bear in a change and manage resistance. mind a few points that could prove decisive in implementingii. Communicate, communicate, communicate… a project management methodology successfully: PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 6
  7. 7. i. The project management methodology should befit which the unit or organization adapts itself to not-so-proven the organization by aligning with the types of projects (and at times radical) or changing ways of achieving goals. it wants to deliver. A methodology or framework that From an individual project delivery perspective, using has proven highly successful in one organization or a project management methodology provides a project environment might not be recognized well in some other manager with the information for efficient decision making environment. Also, during development (or definition of in delivering a project successfully. The innovation, however, the model), the organization needs to consider the types may still be reflected in project management behavior, based of projects they do. Although flexibility is desirable, one on the way a project manager goes about making a decision size may not fit all if an organization is handling projects in the given project scenario. The project decisions would highly diverse in size and complexity! relate to the project situation or circumstances and means thatii. Duplication and overlap can easily discourage the users being innovative can imply a choice outside the conceivediii. Don’t overdo—Use the right amount of documentation norms, the application of which can still be aligned to project and control to suit your needs. management methodology provisions.iv. A PMO is usually the custodian of a project management methodology once implemented; therefore, it is vital Conclusion to identify and clearly communicate the PMO’s role Every organization has its own ways and methods of during the definition, deployment, support phases, and delivering projects (written or unwritten, effective or enhancement purposes. not); however, recognizing the need for and benefits of av. Train extensively and create winners—Facilitate the tailored methodology helps an organization instill discipline required training for the use of the methodology and plan and consistency in the ways in which project managers to create winners. This will foster the buy-in, strengthen manage change delivery. Therefore, there is no denying the support framework, and provide an easy road to that implementing a customized methodology that suits improvements in the methodology once it has been the culture of the organization is going to improve the implemented. effectiveness of project delivery. The implementation of a project management methodology is an organizational changeInnovation Perspective and should be undertaken accordingly.Whether it means doing “new” things or doing things“differently,” innovation has been the buzzword in business for Referencesa long time and is of significant value. Although the project Herszon, L. (2010). Deploying a project managementmanagement methodology seeks to standardize and eventually methodology, International Institute of Learning, Inc.,mature the processes, does it inhibit the dimension of innovation International Project Management Day 2010, Power of thein project management behavior? Possibly not in a single project Profession Presentation.delivery and management aspects and certainly not in terms of “Kerzner Project Management Maturity Model Onlinethe wisdom and maturity of the discipline! So, let us see how. Assessment,” http://www.iil.com/kpm3/how_kpm3_works. Any process maturity model, including the one on the asp, retrieved on Dt. 24-Jan-2011project management process maturity by Dr. Kerzner referred Project Management Institute (PMI) (2004). A guide toto here, usually aspires for continuous improvement in the the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–processes, structures, and quality of the profession at its Third Edition. Newtown Square, PA: Author.pinnacle. Having discovered the best ways of doing things,it becomes a way of life, and then excellence can become About the Authora habit and having reached a level, people have a degree of Atul Ganatra, PMP, is a project and program managementself-motivation to keep doing things with certain standards consultant with extensive IT project delivery and businessof excellence. What is important at this stage are the right change experience in such sectors as the life sciences,methods of measurement of process performance and project agricultural research, manufacturing, and local governments.management performance (successes in project delivery) and Based in London, he currently works as a project managerthe consequent revision of benchmarking. A mature and for one of the leading global plant life-sciences companiesagile organization will follow technology trends, embracenew standards, and align itself to the changing environment and also works closely with SPINLondon (www.spinlondon.with an open mindset, adequate energy, and fresh ideas— co.uk), a forum for the improvement of software processesinnovation will be underlined in the ease and agility with and the promotion of business excellence. PMI Virtual Library | www.PMI.org | © 2011 Atul Ganatra 7

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