Create the Vision of Modern Day Project Management

The first step in this approach is to create the vision to enroll senior management and allow a focused discussion of the future state of modern day project management in the organization. In developing a vision statement, the organization must determine the boundaries of project management.

Develop a Mission Statement with Objectives and Goals

The Mission Statement provides project or program, objectives and measurable goals.

The following is a sample Mission Statement.

The company will organize all new development work as projects from October 1,

1995.  Any existing development work due to be completed after December 1, 1995 will also be reorganized. Project management will be recognized as a specific discipline and all project team members will be trained on a ‘just-in-time’ basis in specific techniques and assessed in these areas as part of the personal appraisal process.

Projects will be assessed at key points against predefined standards for improved project coordination, better utilization of project resources, improved monitoring and forecasting of workload, and conformance to quality requirements. Procedures and guidelines to support staff will be developed and tools will be put in place that minimize the procedural knowledge required to carry out project management roles.

To achieve this overall objective the following goals have been established:

1.  Identify target development projects – 6/1

2.  Create job role descriptions – 6/1

3.  Create project performance standards – 6/1

4.  Carry out skills assessment – 7/1

5.  Establish “just in time” training infrastructure and procedures – 8/1

6.  Reorganize 50% of target projects by 8/1

7.  Revise personal appraisal process – 9/1

8.  Reorganize all target projects – 10/1

With this framework sketched out you now need to check your organization’s capability to meet these goals and objectives.

Start with your People

This is one aspect of pre-implementation that is often neglected and yet it is mission critical. Many organizations are developing a single overall approach (competency model) as a way of responding to the organizations rapidly changing job skills’ requirements. These models identify the skills required and the how they will be provided. It is not sufficient to just add the modern day project management skill requirements to other existing organizational and technological initiatives.

A suggested approach is to develop a basic set of project management competency levels that is achievable within the organization. One approach is to build these competency levels around the eight project management subject areas identified by the Project Management Institute, taking account of the size and type of project.

Subject Areas

1.Scope; 2.Human Resources; 3.Contract/ Procurement; 4.Communications; 5.Quality; 6.Cost; 7.Time; 8.Risk

 

Develop Skills to be measured   – test, assessment of deliverables, peer review

New skills   – project workshops, external training, on the job training

Support Infrastructure – training, project   support, functional support

Management – involvement   as sponsors, line managers, and leaders

Reward Infrastructure – formal,   informal, ties to existing company system

Existing work environment and how it can be changed to enable modern project management.

Review your Current Standards and Procedures

Many companies or parts of organizations have at some time implemented project management. Any associated standards or procedures need to be reviewed and either refined and integrated into the proposed solution or discarded. In many cases existing standards or procedures will be beyond the proposed organizational capability – for example, project managers with 5 years experience will be responsible for project budgets previously supported by cost engineers or finance staff with 15 or more years experience. In such case the standards and procedures must be simplified and automated support becomes a critical success factor.

In the areas where gaps are identified, new standards and procedures can be developed, or purchased and refined. Methodologies are available that detail project management activities providing “what do I need to do,” techniques providing “how to,” deliverables providing “what should it look like,” and standards providing the “framework.”

The initial roll out may not cover all the subject areas of project management, but the following is a list of  major project management deliverables that require the development of some standards and procedures.

 

Project Management Subject Areas Major Deliverables
Scope Scope Document

Work Breakdown Structure   Cost/Benefit Analysis Change Management   Configuration Management

Quality Quality Assurance Procedures

Quality Plan

Quality Control   Procedures

Cost Project Budget

Earned Value Reports

Project Cost Plan

Time Schedule Update   Process

Schedule Reports

Project Estimate

Risk Risk Management   Plan

Risk Response Document

Communications Project Communications   Plan

Issue Resolution Procedure

Human Resources Resource   Planning Process (identify, plan, acquire)

Conflict Resolution Procedure

Contract/Procurement Procurement Plan

Dispute Resolution Procedure

Examine your Project Workload

The other aspect of the organizational environment that needs to be examined is the workload, both current and prospective. Project measures need to be developed around the principle objectives of completing a project on time, within budget, to the quality specified, and achieving client satisfaction. Process measures covering the effectiveness and efficiency of how project management deliverables are produced also need to be

developed. Examples of process measures are: the time (elapse and/or resource) it takes to prepare for a project kickoff meeting/ proposal/ quality review; the number and types of projects that can be carried out at the same time; the number of earned hours that can be achieved by a specific group; and staff utilization rates.

The principle in establishing these measures is to define and track only those measures that will be used in decision making processes. The project and process measures must be implemented prior to the roll out of the modern project management initiative (by at least three to six months) to provide quantifiable measures of the gains and losses. This is a reminder that the driving force behind any initiative is to be more profitable.

A survey of current and prospective workload needs to be carried out, logged, and updated from this point onwards. This is another aspect of the implementation that is mission critical – the total scope must be quantified and tracked. On the basis of this information and the above sections, a detailed roll out approach can be developed. One suggested approach is to apply it to all new projects that meet minimum criteria from a particular date onwards rather than an incremental approach. This approach would adjust the initial scope and objectives based on organizational capability.

Prepare the Organization

Many project management implementations focus on the project teams and devote little time and resources to preparing the project sponsors and business partners. It is assumed that they will know their roles and understand the required project management techniques. By providing some education and training that orientates management, a higher level of understanding and commitment can be achieved. This approach also helps solve the dilemma of what level of senior management involvement is required – the answer is very little if they understand the information that is generated and the purpose of the techniques being used. Following their orientation, formal management commitment must be gained and communicated throughout all levels of the organization. One approach is to formally sign off all implementation documents and have management give lunch time presentations on what they have signed off.

These top down overview sessions need to highlight the:project and process measures that will be regularly communicated lines of communication support structure.

The person who is accountable for the roll out needs to be in place prior to the overview sessions.

Implement the Support Structure – Provide Expert Support

There are many ways this can be accomplished that do not necessarily require a large amount of additional resources, either during the transition or ongoing. Some areas to check prior to establishing the support structure are:

1.  Qualified part time resources – project managers currently on leave of absence or retired.

2.  Local colleges – research students and faculty members engaged in project management.

3.  Project Management Institute – recommended suppliers and job search directory.

4.  Automated tools that can be centrally administered by an existing group, e.g.

LAN administrator.

5.  Local third party support services.

The support structure must be in place prior to the first ‘just-in-time’ training session.


Commence ‘Just-in-Time’ Training

‘Just-in-time’ training is one of the key elements as many project management implementations fail because the training overhead is excessive for the people and the organization. It can be both ineffective and inefficient. By taking a ‘just-in-time’ training approach and providing as much of an automated support structure as possible, training can be minimized and consistent quality deliverables can be produced. This approach can also accelerate the start of a project and reduce the learning curve of the project team.

The ‘just-in-time’ training approach may seem inefficient at first sight, especially if multiple classes are required for relatively small audiences. Smaller workshops producing actual project management deliverables, mentoring provided by in-house staff, computer based training, and video conference training can provide an effective and efficient result. One other advantage is the lowering of the stress level by avoiding the need to learn many techniques in a short period of time. The capability for ‘just-in-time” training will impact the scope and objectives of the implementation.

Commence Project Management Roll Out

Assuming all the above sections have been adequately addressed and reviewed, the roll out can begin. The emphasis should be on communication, the integrating function in project management  Some suggested implementation coordination tips:

Formalize the commitments that are made. Do not rely on verbal  agreements. Keep an action list that notes critical actions and the committed date and the person/people responsible. Update this list and review it at a weekly meeting.

Have all implementation team members meet for 15 minutes every morning during the first month of the implementation. This is an operational briefing. If there are any major problems, hold a follow up at the end of the day.

All team members have lunch together once a week. No formal agenda.

Seek the advice of the organization on increasing effectiveness. Allow genuine feedback and encourage positive suggestions.

The initial success of the implementation depends heavily on the effectiveness of communication and the empowerment of the implementation team.

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