Friday, June 10, 2016


Over the past four blogs I've set out what I believe we can do to make sure our projects don't fail. But, as I said last week, implementing it will be a major project or even program in its own right. So what are the steps in this process?

Establish the Current Status
Before you can start planning where you want to get to it is critical to understand where you are today. The easiest way of doing this is by establishing the project management capability maturity of the organisation using the CMMI capability maturity model, which is an excellent tool.

Establish the Objectives
Once you have a full understanding of where the organisation is currently you can begin to define where you want to get to. The SMART acronym comes in handy here, although I use my own version of it: 

Strategic: the objective must address a strategic business need, if it isn't important to the business, then it just won't happen.

Measurable: if the objective doesn't include some form of metrics, then you will never know when you have achieved it.

Agreed: if the objectives are not agreed by all the stakeholders (the business, the project managers, the implementation team,suppliers and customers) the project will fail.

Realistic: if the objectives are not realistic, the project will fail.

Timed: if it's not time-bounded, the project will never be completed.

Develop the Plan 
Once you have a set of realistic objectives, agreed by all concerned, then you can develop the plan of how you are going to achieve it. If you are using the capability maturity model, then the plan should be to move up one level at a time, this suggests a series of projects, hence a program may be the best route to take. The steps, if you are starting out at level 1 are:

Define and document sound project management processes (involving the organisation’s project managers) and establish a project office to coordinate and support the processes. That takes you to level 2.

If you are running programs as well as projects, then define and document sound program management processes (involving the organisation’s project and program managers) and establish a program office (or develop the project office into a project and program office) to coordinate and support the processes. That takes you to level 3.

Introduce a peer review (gateway) process for all projects and programs (involving the organisation’s project and program managers) and charge the project and program office with coordinating and supporting the process.That takes you to level 4, which is as high as many organisations want to go, but the greatest pay off comes from the final step.

Implement portfolio management at the highest level in the organisation and establish a portfolio office (or develop the project and program office into a project, program and portfolio office) to co-ordinate and support the process. That takes you to level 5.

This will take some time to achieve but it is achievable and I have done it in a number of organisations (it is also set out in detail in “Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps”. But I would like to leave you with two final tips to consider:

Involve all your project and program managers in the process. They are key stakeholders and you want them all on-side.

Without the full commitment of your organisation (and that means support from your very top management) it just won’t happen. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to produce a high-level plan for what you want to achieve, then sell the benefits to your project managers and top management. 

Good luck and enjoy the journey,
John (a.k.a. P M Blogger)

1 comment:

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