2 Tips for Introducing Project Management to Your Organization
We’ve all heard the seemingly endless list of “common project management mistakes.” Here are a few quick examples to refresh your memory: senior executives don’t have up-to-date project information; project issues and risks are not being tracked or managed; the project schedule is unrealistic; there are no clear lines of communication. Project sponsors and stakeholders lose visibility. And the list goes on…
We’re all aware of these common problems that plague projects all the time. I think a lot of them boil down to a lack of project management knowledge in the organization. We see it every day – customers whose project managers are using a smorgasbord of tools and approaches to managing projects that don’t make sense to anybody but the project manager!
You can’t effectively manage projects when there’s no methodology or tool in place.
A Project Management Process
Many times, the underlying cause is that project managers do not have the proper knowledge or training to effectively manage a project. So, the first step on the road to introducing project management in your organization is to define a collaborative project management process.
It should not include too much project management rigor, as your organization is not likely ready for that (yet!). It should follow the basic project management approach, with as much detail along the way as is necessary for your organization. For example, a good starting point could be this basic five-stage approach to project management.
Then you will decide the amount of process you need, from loosely structured to fully structured, but the answer is likely somewhere in the shades of grey. Regardless, what’s important is that you now have an approach in place which you can modify and evolve as you learn more.
A Project Management Tool
So your organization has decided to embrace project management. Great! But how are you going to implement it? You need some way to capture your project management best practices so that the process is accessible and repeatable for project managers.
With SharePoint, you can create project sites that are configured to the precise project management needs of your organization. When you map the project management approach right into a SharePoint template, it is always available to start project managers off on the right foot.
Even better is the ability to modify the template as project needs dictate, capture those modifications and use them in new project sites going forward.
One of the biggest benefits of using SharePoint sites is the ability to bake EVERY step of the project management process into the template.
For example, one of the most important – yet most often overlooked – steps of the process is the post-mortem. There is a tendency to take flight when the project is over and move on to the next one. However, the more you learn from the project you have just completed, the more successful you will be with the project you are about to start.
With a SharePoint project site, you can map your entire process, including the project post-mortem, so that project managers are reminded of this is a critical step and don’t “forget” to capture the lessons learned.
Eventually, it will just become a natural part of the process so your organization can continuously improve its project management processes. If you decide this is no longer necessary, you can easily remove it from the SharePoint site – although I would advise against removing that one!
In summary, when introducing project management into your organization, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Define an approach for project managers to follow
- Capture your project management processes in SharePoint (or a similar collaborative tool)
- Evolve your methodology as project management processes mature.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.