Can your PMO benefit from good project management standardization?
Do the majority of the projects in your organization finish right on schedule? Was the original estimation of how much money and/or resources would be required accurate? When the opportunity for a new project or customer engagement comes up, do you have a reliable method of determining how much time, money and effort will be needed to complete it? If not you could benefit from Project Management Standardization.
For many organizations, the answer to all of these questions is usually “no”. An estimated 70% of projects fail to achieve targets, many times without a clear understanding of why. Many organizations have teams and project managers that operate with independent approaches, with several people redundantly trying to solve the same problems, often without being aware of it. Hours are spent recreating project plans and processes that someone else has defined before.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Project Management is the planning, leading and execution of the activity required to deliver a product or service, or to achieve a result. There are many ways to apply it, but to do it effectively requires skill, experience and proven techniques. Good project management processes provide a framework for new projects based on what has succeeded (and lessons learned from what has not been quite so successful) before. It is also flexible enough to allow for necessary modifications to address the uniqueness of each project and/or customer being served without necessarily requiring a brand new process each time.
Here are some of the benefits of defining, deploying and enforcing project management standards in your business:
- Reliability. Excellency in project management can greatly reduce errors in planning and execution. Because you review, analyze and improve your processes as needed, you are ensuring that your teams are armed with the best strategy available at the time, and leverage tried and true best practices and lessons already learned.
- Consistency. Once outstanding methods and procedures have been identified and tailored to fit your individual business environment, they can be made into standard project management processes that all project teams in your organization can adapt for more consistent results. Consistent tasks and methods make it easy to work with team members when everyone knows what to expect.
- Reusability / Repeatability. Prevent reinvention of the wheel every time a similar initiative comes around. Set the groundwork with templates for schedules, risks, issues and status updates that can be reused to obtain repeatable results. Take away time wasted on figuring out what needs to be done so the concentration can be made on how to achieve the unique requirements of the project with the right adjustments.
- Efficiency. The value of reuse is that less time is spent figuring out what steps are required, which order and/or method works best, or attempting to create project schedules and presentation materials from scratch on each project. A good, standard process will make a record of what worked before, and what didn’t, what went wrong and how it was resolved. It will function as a roadmap for a project team to follow from start to finish, with highlights for where the speed bumps and traffic jams are because the path has been navigated before.
- Predictability. By improving your understanding of the work to be done and the pitfalls that could be encountered and how to avoid them, you improve your ability to estimate how long it will take. Also, if all projects have a plan being effectively managed, you will have the means to develop the tools to tell when your resources are going to be available to work on other initiatives that are waiting in the pipeline.
- Relatability. When the entire organization is using the same process and methods, most everyone at all levels will understand what you’re doing. Because you’re all “speaking the same language” you can communicate status with stakeholders and cross-functional team members more effectively.
- Competitive Edge. Customer Satisfaction. Once you have consistent results, you can much more accurately predict how long and for what cost a project is going to take. Delivering consistent, predictable results over and over, when you say you’re going to deliver them, and on budget, will let your customers and stakeholders know they can depend on you.