In reviewing projects across many sectors and organisations I am becoming more concerned that project managers are following a standard project management process with little consideration of the context of the project or what success means. The implications are quite profound.
- The likelihood of success looks like a bell curve with the luck of having the right conditions being the outcome
- Project management as a discipline gets a bad name when in fact if applied with due consideration can be tremendously valuable
- Project costs increase without improving the risk profile of the project
- People form bad habits with the thought that this is what project management is
- People are overpaid for managing a simple process rather than adding true value and reducing risk
- The project becomes slave to the process instead of the process serving the project
How do you know if your organisation is falling into this trap? Take the following test
|Does one approach fit all your projects despite the fact they are different types of work?|
|Are the artefacts the project?|
|Does governance feel burdensome?|
|Are stakeholders, including project personnel unhappy but not willing to speak up?|
|Does the process dominate the conversation?|
|Are all project issues dealt with the same way?|
|Is reflection considered a waste of scarce time?|
|Is PM accreditation considered more important than demonstrated understanding of project management principles?|
|Is delivery responsibility with the PMO and not with the Sponsor/PM combination?|
|Have people given up and just go with the flow despite it is clear that the iceberg cometh?|
|Is the answer to the question “why are we doing this?” BECAUSE|
If your organisation scored 5 or more, you have some real work to do. If you scored less than 5 keep an eye on the issues.
I am not advocating a free for all in projects. What I am advocating is understanding the fundamental principles and applying those principles to the context of the situation and the project at hand. This requires a greater sense of learning from past experience and the experience of others, a greater effort to understand under what conditions certain approaches have greater success. This implies a greater burden on post-implementation reviews to tease out those conditions for the benefit of all.