Ask These 6 Questions About Your Project Management Process
Modern project management is about more than providing a set of practices for a project office to follow. To deliver on schedule and within budget, project management offices (PMOs) must have a successful project management process in place. Yet, knowing the difference between a good and a great process is difficult at best. At their core, successful project management processes provide agile, flexible direction for changes to a project.
Processes lacking these qualities may lead to confusion and disarray in the PMO. But, how do you evaluate their effectiveness? In addition, allying yourself with stakeholders and having their support relies on strong, successful processes in place. It all goes back to consistency and reliability. Thus, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of processes often by asking these six questions.
1. Do You Have the Right Team Structure in Place?
The right team structure contributes to better collaboration in the PMO. When employees understand their duties and how they impact the course of a project, they are more likely to satisfy their responsibilities. Meanwhile, collaboration begets a positive work environment and ensures team members have an equal distribution of work and authority over a project. But, what else makes a team structure effective?
The team’s structure should follow a business-driven approach, a key driver of successful project management. Unlike traditional approaches to project management, business-driven project management practices encourage collaboration by putting the project’s current and future value first.
For example, team members should focus on tasks that add strategic value and time to value, not just costs and outcome. In other words, completing a set of activities within budget may lack value if it requires extensions to the deadline. But, imagine how this example would apply if the delay reduced the costs associated with the project in the future.
2. Is Your Team Structure Being Correlated With ROI?
Project managers have the dual responsibilities of completing a project on time and within budget, while managing activities of their teams. A team structure must also provide a return on investment (ROI), such as increasing organizational maturity. Furthermore, project managers should have strong leadership skills, giving their team members an example to follow. This encourages collaboration, building skill and creating a productive work environment.
An ideal team structure should also use modern technologies to track their performance. For example, work completed versus hours worked can help teams ensure adherence to the schedule and budget. Meanwhile, this provides assurance to stakeholders and helps team members learn from their mistakes.
3. Are You Setting the Right Budget?
The budget is among the top priorities a project team must address. It is unrealistic to assume an initial budget will remain static. But, project managers can set the right budget by following these steps:
- Estimate the requirements of the project.
- Review project deadlines for influence of external factors, such as seasonal availability of resources.
- Be realistic in setting minimum completion times.
- Remember capital costs.
- Think in costs per milestone.
- Allow room for minimal scope creep.
Each step relates to the project management process by giving the PMO additional flexibility in all parts of the project. If you miss any step, you may incur delays and additional costs that undermine your project’s success.
4. Are You Setting the Right Goals?
Today’s project offices may oversee multiple projects or whole programs at the same time. An organization’s level of maturity correlates to having proper goals in place. Growing demands for visibility and accountability also result in additional pressures from companies to develop strategic value when setting goals.
Another issue revolves around the adaptability of your office’s goals. When goals lack strategic value, they tend to remain stationary. This leads to lost opportunities and increased costs. Meanwhile, a one-size-fits-all approach to risks prevents companies from coming up with new, innovative solutions to possible issues. While goals should retain strategic value, they should change to reflect changes in business as well.
The key lies in ensuring goals are in place to provide direction for team members as the office grows.
5. How Are You Evaluating the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Your Processes?
Evaluating project management processes should rely on data-driven analyses. When you make data-driven decisions, you can demonstrate to others why certain actions have resulted in specific outcomes. This may include providing reports on team members to stakeholders or to other members of executive-level management. Thus, your organization can leverage the power of data to increase visibility. But, that is not all.
Process evaluation should consider new technologies and best practices during all evaluations.
For example, emerging technologies in the Internet of Things may be used to improve fuel costs during a construction project. The only way to successfully evaluate their effectiveness is by understanding their costs and how they impact the project’s budget and schedule. Moreover, does implementing such changes benefit a company’s strategic goals, such as focusing on ways to reduce carbon emissions?
More than anything else, project managers must consider visibility, strategic value, and versatility when evaluating performance and effectiveness of project processes.
6. Do You Have the Right Training in Place?
The final question to think about revolves around the skills of your team. Do they have the training and experience necessary to complete the project and their responsibilities as defined?
There will be obvious signs when the level of training is appropriate. For example, budgets and schedules will be maintained, and issues will seldom arise. But, some indicators of needing training are more subtle.
For example, team members who require continued assistance with the PMO’s software system warrant training. Moreover, the team may lack roles and responsibilities. As a project manager, it can be difficult to see this indicator. The simplest way is to consider your personal responsibilities.
If you feel overwhelmed or incapable of meeting responsibilities that others could reasonably complete, your team needs additional training.
The need for training can be detrimental, but it can also help boost organizational maturity and overall success of the PMO.
Learn How to Improve the Success of Your PMO.
Working to increase the success of your project management processes and office should be your top priority. A successful project management process will help you land new projects and advance your career. To help you create a winning strategy for success in your office, start evaluating your business with the following questions:
- Is your team structure correct and correlated to ROI?
- Is your budget correct?
- Do your goals reflect the business?
- How do you evaluate efficiency and effectiveness?
- Does everyone have an appropriate level of training?