In your experience which project management processes are the most troublesome to embed? Close your eyes, no peeking, now name your three.
We asked this question as part of The State of Project Management Annual Survey 2017. This is the largest annual non-salary survey on project management in the UK, undertaken by us here at Wellingtone with our friends at the APM PMO SIG.
Here are the top 3 along with some practical guidance on how you might tackle them. Open your eyes and wrestle these to the ground!
Number 1: Benefits Realisation…or lack of monitoring benefits once the project has finished
We all agree a project is a great idea, just look at the business case.
Once the dust settles weeks, months, years later we have a completed project! The Champagne is drunk, the Project Manager exits stage left and the team disbands. No one is left to monitor the benefits, we are just glad the damn thing has finished and are now frantic with the next challenge.
Sponsors own the business case and own the benefits, but once success is declared they might not be inclined to pursue a rigorous assessment of this claimed success. Looking at this from a practical perspective this is a job for the PMO.
An opportunity for the PMO to add value (important!). I would suggest extracting the stated benefits from the Business Case, setting up a Benefits Log and tracking each project and the resulting benefits against these targets.
Each benefit should be listed with the agreed method of measurement, and frequency of measurement.
No2: Lessons Learned…or not capturing, tracking, using lessons learned
Let’s make the same damn mistakes over and over again.
Lessons should be positive, as well as negative and should be captured in a log from day 1 of the project. Some of these pertain to the specific project only whereas others could be of value to the rest of the organisation.
Lessons should be dragged from each Project Team at key life cycle stage gates and held centrally.
No point having a project specific Excel spreadsheet that gets lost immediately the project finishes. Again, this sounds like a job for the PMO (adding value again!). Extract key lessons from each project and hold them centrally.
As new projects are approved, assess the log and provide a list of lessons (remember, good as well as bad) as “top tips” for the new Project Manager and project team.
No 3: Change Control…or lack of a process
The number 1 reason why projects fail (sorry, “succeed with caveats”) is scope creep or lack of scope definition.
Let’s define the scope (so that means writing it down and getting this approved) so we then have something to change against. This is just as true for schedule and cost…we need this suite of baselines.
If there is a significant change we (the Project Manager) should invoke the change control process to enable formal review and approval (or rejection) of the change. This is such an important weapon in the arsenal of the Project manager as it enables you to change the goal posts.
You want more scope, more work, then I get more time and/or more money. Change control is in the best interest of the PM. The agreed process and document templates (change control form) should sit with the PMO for use by all PMs.
Wellingtone has recently produced the PMO Maturity Assessment Tool, this can help to provide a benchmark for future change.