Organizations of any industry and size need a Project Management Standard to manage external client projects as well as internal improvements. Hereby, there is a strong and direct correlation between the maturity of the organization’s Project Management Standard and the overall organization’s performance. Experts say that organizations will even not survive in today’s times anymore if they do not have an appropriate Project Management Standard implemented. However, in reality, approximately 40% of organizations this day and age still manage their projects with no defined Project Management Standard, which leads in the short-term to lower project success rates – and risks the overall organization in the long-term.
But how to establish the right Project Management Standard in an organization? Shall organizations build something up from the scratch by themselves? Many organizations have tried this, but failed, because it often results in a lot of money, time and effort spent with little return only. Then, shall organizations rather adopt a third-party Project Management Methodology and roll it in? But how to handle the organization’s differentiators then? And once the Project Management Standard has been finally built, how shall organizations then implement such standard, making sure that it will be used, and kept up to date?
This article gives the answers to such questions, explaining first the basic Project Management terminologies, methodologies, and third-party market standards; and leads after through the right approaches on how to enable organizations to develop, tailor, and implement Project Management Standards successfully.
When it comes to building knowledge in Project Management, there are a lot of (different) ideas on how to do it right and what should be in scope, starting with the usage of correct terminologies and the incorporation of relevant disciplines. To make sure everybody is on the same page, this chapter starts with short explanations on the most common used terms, and how to use them correctly:
- Project Management is the discipline of temporarily managing work with a team to achieve specific unique results by coping with scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholders. Related to this, Program Management is then the discipline of managing “a group of related projects, sub-programs, and program activities in a coordinated way“. Again related to this, Portfolio Management is then the “coordinated management of a collection of programs, projects, sub-portfolios, and operations“, which are grouped together to achieve organizational strategies and objectives. In other words, Portfolio Management connects the organization’s vision, mission and strategies with the operations, while the last are performed by Programs and Projects.
- Then, there are Program and Project Management Offices (PMO) which link, besides others, to Project Management work. Such PMOs have evolved a lot: today’s research says that there are five different PMO Frameworks in the markets which are important elements of matured organizations as of now.
- Proceeding with Project Management Methodologies, they can be seen as step-by-step instructions that guide teams, hereby especially the Project Managers, to manage projects successfully. They are usually also in place for all of the project team members to better understand their roles and contributions. In more detail, methodologies can be seen as a system of practices, techniques, procedures and rules, supported by additional tools and templates provided. The most important Project Management Methodologies in the market will be explained in the upcoming “chapter 2”.
- Different from the above is the Organizational Project Management Methodology (OPM). In short, OPM integrates the organization’s portfolios, programs and projects with the organization’s business framework. This framework will also be utilized within this blog article in the upcoming “chapter 5” to explain how to integrate the Project Management Standard building process into an organization.
- Project Management Standards have been developed by third-party organizations and institutes by using frameworks and contents of existing Project Management Methodologies as a basis, but adding additional flavours and differentiators like what certification standards to use. One example, besides others, is the PMBOK which is a standard for Project Management by PMI. Such third-party standards will be introduced in the upcoming “chapter 3”. A short note: Often, stakeholders mix the above Project Management Methodology term with the Project Management Standard term. However, in this blog article, we clearly separate them by using those different wordings. Plus, when talking about developing an organization’s Project Management way, we also use the term standard instead of methodology, because we do implicate that we can add additional assets (like third-party assets, e.g., certification procedures) that a pure methodology usually does not have.
- Project Management Techniques can be part of a methodology or standard, and describe practices on how to get things done in projects in the most efficient and effective way. Doing a gap analysis, or managing facilitation, are typical examples.
- Just to finally mention three other terms: Project Management Frameworks, Project Management Approaches and Project Management Best Practices – such terms have the risk to be a bit “buzzy”, as they are often used in different ways: sometimes they talk about a methodology, sometimes about a standard, sometimes about a combination of several techniques, sometimes about of a mixture of the formerly mentioned topics, or even sometimes about something else. Therefore, they should not be used too often to avoid irritations.
Having brought these definitions on paper, let us detail now what kind of Project Management Methodologies (chapter 2) and Project Management Standards (chapter 3) are in the markets, before we can proceed with discussions about an organization’s standard.
2. Essential Project Management Methodologies
Over the past centuries, a lot of Project Management Methodologies have been built, and become accepted and used in cross-industries around the globe. Probably, the most common ones are described here in the order of their invention year:
- Traditional Project Management, especially the waterfall approach: The classic! Phases and steps are managed one after the other in pre-defined sequences, which requires good planning in the beginning. Once a phase has been closed, it will usually not be revisited. It is difficult to really say when this traditional Project Management as a discipline was defined, because since the beginning of mankind, teams had to work together to deliver outcomes in specific time with limited resources. However, very often the 1950s is being mentioned as when organizations started to more systematically define Project Management Techniques to better manage complex projects, especially starting in the engineering sector. Besides that, this technique has further evolved, meaning there are now further modifications available, enhancing and changing the waterfall approach. To give one example, the Spiral Model is based on the waterfall approach, but adds further prototyping techniques.
- CPM: The Critical Path Method was invented in the 1950s, which is first and foremost an algorithm to be used for project modelling by focusing on the optimization of the project activities. Hereby, “critical” activities which lead to a longer project duration can be identified and optimized.
- Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a methodology for process and product improvement with a focus on fine-tuning by targeting on technical and cultural aspects. It was first introduced in Motorola in 1986.
- Lean Project Management: Based on the Lean Management philosophy, Lean Project Management adopted Lean concepts (Lean Construction, Lean Manufacturing), and defines a variety of techniques that can be used in projects, e.g., standardization.
- CCPM: The Critical Chain Project Management is a methodology invented in 1997 that enhances the traditional project management by trying to eliminate detrimental multitasking as well as by the optimization of the critical chain.
- ECM: The Event Chain Methodology is the next advanced methodology after CCPM. ECM focuses on network modelling and managing events that affect project schedules.
- Agile Project Management: Also sometimes called “Iterative” Project Management, the Agile Project Management is one of the newest Project Management Approaches: It focuses on continuous improvements and flexibility to deliver the project outcome faster and better. Agile methodologies include, besides others, Scrum, which is an iterative framework for product development.
This summary gives a quite good overview on the most well-known Project Management Methodologies worldwide. Of course, there are more, but we continue now with the next important topic – the Project Management Standards.
3. Essential Third-party Project Management Standards
Based on the above described Project Management Methodologies and their techniques, several companies and institutes have built their own Project Management Standards by combining sets or extracts of the above plus adding their own additional differentiators. As you will see, these companies and institutes often also collaborate (or compete) with each other. The following are in my point of view the most important global standards from third-party companies and institutions:
- PMI/PMBOK: The “Project Management Institute” (PMI), which was founded in 1969 as a non-profit organization for project management, has developed “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” (PMBOK), first published in 1996. The current newest version is PMBOK5 as of 2013, while PMI plans to publish the next version PMBOK6 during upcoming Q1 2017. Based on this standard, Project Managers can get certified as a “Project Management Professional” (PMP) cross-industries. The current PMBOK5 defines best practices on how any industry-agnostic project should be managed, by combining process groups (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, closing) with knowledge management areas (project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communications management, project risk management, project procurement management, project stakeholders management), which leads to 47 project processes (e.g., create project charter). These processes need to be managed (and repeated) in any phase any project framework has.
- Prince2: The PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments, version 2) standard was first released in 1996, and has continuously evolved. It is owned by a Joint Venture of AXELOS and UK government, and defines that any project needs to be divided into project stages (which are starting up a project, initiating a project, directing a project, controlling a stage, managing product delivery, managing stage boundaries, closing a project). Throughout the project duration, there are several management products defined that need to be maintained (e.g., daily log). As of today, there are five different Project Management courses and certificates available.
- IPMA: The IPMA (International Project Management Association) is a European-based, but worldwide acting Project Management organization. It was founded in 1967 first under a different name, evolved into the IPMA organization in 1996, and is connected to around 40,000 members as of today. Since 1999, IPMA publishes the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB) which is the basis for any global IPMA organization’s standard. The current version ICB4 from 2015 sets three competence areas for Project Managers which are “people” (personal and interpersonal competencies required to succeed in projects), “practice” (technical aspects of managing projects), and “perspective” (contextual competences that must be navigated within and across the broader environment). IPMA also defines four IPMA certification levels for Project Managers which are IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate), Level C (Certified Project Manager), Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager), and Level A (Certified Projects Director). It is important to note that IPMA is not globally managed, but important parts like, e.g., the certification process, differ by country.
- ISO: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has defined several standards related to, and to be used in, Project Management: ISO 21500 is the Project Management ISO as of 2012 and sets general guidance for Project Managers. More ISO standards are also related to Project Management, e.g., ISO 16326 from 2009 provides normative content specifications for project management sets, the ISO 31000 from 2009 provides principles and generic guidelines on risk management, and also the ISO 9000 should be mentioned, because it is family of standards describing fundamental concepts and principles of quality management. Connected to this, the ISO 10006 sets guidelines for quality management specifically in projects. ISO standards are connected to project management organizations in several directions: On the one hand, project organizations often accredit their processes against ISO standards like, e.g., PMI has done it for its certification scheme. Or the other way around, project organizations help ISO update or even create new ISO standards like, e.g., IPMA has done it by helping create the ISO 21500 standard (while also PMI has aligned their PMBOK with ISO 21500).
- GAPPS: The “Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards” (GAPPS) is an organization which is continuously working on benchmarks to compare (other) project management standards with each other. To do so, organization’s standards and frameworks are defined to develop, approve, publish, maintain, and review global project management standards and usage guidelines for the same. Even though no training or certification is provided, there are GAPPS standards for Junior Project Manager (“G1”) and Senior Project Manager (“G2”) set to complement other third party project management standards.
- CMM/CMMI: The “Capability Maturity Model” (CMM) is a development model from the Software Engineering Institute in Pittsburgh, United States, focusing in general on the optimization of company processes. It is based on the book “Managing the Software Process” by Watts Humphrey. Having started from a pure software development perspective, this model aims now to optimize industry-agnostic business processes in general. In 2003, the CMM was replaced by the newer “Capability Maturity Model Integration” (CMMI) to overcome several challenges like, e.g., better aligning co-existing CMMs in the same organization. As of today, CMMI in the Version 1.3 from November 2010 represents three CMMI areas of interest: CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV), CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC), and CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ). CMMI also defines so-called CMMI maturity levels (Level 1: Initial, Level 2: Managed, Level 3: Defined, Level 4: Quantitatively Managed, Level 5: Optimizing), based on which organizations can “appraise” (not certify!) themselves, depending how mature their processes are. The combination of the CMMI areas of interest as well as the maturity level leads to specific CMMI process areas which need to be differently covered by the organization’s processes, e.g., “Project Planning”, “Quantitative Project Management”, or “Risk Management”. In the end, it is possible to “appraise” an organization with a specific CMMI maturity level (while reaching the level 4 or higher becomes quite difficult), as well as to “certify” individuals in the organization in specific CMMI roles. However, Project Management Standards themselves cannot be certified by CMMI, but aligned with the organization’s process standards (which can be appraised and therefore associated with a specific CMMI level).
Just like the Project Management Methodologies, also here, there are a lot of more accepted Project Management Standards existing in the markets. We continue now to understand how to build a Project Management Standard for an organization.
4. How to build the Organization’s Project Management Standard
If we would follow 100% of the PMI terminology, we need to say that we are going to build the organization’s Project Management Methodology. However, as explained above, a Project Management Standard should include the Methodology, but needs further differentiators.
PMI has created a globally accepted Tailoring approach which can be seen as a method to develop an organization’s Project Management Standard by following nine process steps. It starts with an assessment (to measure the current organization’s maturity level and to suggest the desired change), continues with the development (to create the methodology), and finally not ends but again continues with further improvements (to make sure that there is always the right project management standard in the organization). Running through such steps gives an organization a standardized way to get the built done. The needed steps are as follows:
- Step: Identify types of project (assessment): Important factors, besides others, are size, level of complexity, industry, internal/external customer focus, typical project durations, project deliverables well-defined or unknown, et cetera.
- Step: Identify inputs (assessment): There may be a lot of inputs considered, which especially are organizational surveys, enterprise environmental factors, organizational process assets, existing templates, organizational structures and context, et cetera.
- Step: Identify constraints (assessment): Constraints are items that have to be followed without exception, and they therefore need to get identified.
- Step: Identify resources (assessment): Hereby, interestingly, this includes both the internal and the external availability of already existing methodologies! Internal existing methodologies need to be identified and – in best-case – merged into the new standard (by respecting eventually different project types). External existing methodologies or standards (!) may be those mentioned in chapters 2 and 3, e.g., the PMBOK standard.
- Step: Develop and document the methodology (development): This is one of the core processes! It’s important that all inputs, constraints, and resources from above are considered. Then, a team has to be staffed that is able to develop the standard as well as to be responsible for the organizational change. A lot of factors need to be considered here, e.g., the maturity of the organization, the focus on project types and sizes, the creation of the right project processes and templates, the incorporation of global standards like PMBOK (or others), and a lot of more. I recommend that you check out the “Implementing Organizational Project Management: A Practice Guide” (starting from page 77) to get more detailed information. I also will add another suggestion to this in the upcoming “chapter 4.2” below.
- Step: Derive output (development): PMI says that at some point, you will have a developed methodology, and you should “make sure that everyone knows now where to find it“. I would explicitly add here that once you have such an important standard developed, the sharing of this asset (means mainly to ensure the change) can become very complex, especially when you face a multi-country organization! Here, only the establishment of a global PMO structure, as well as rollouts to the worldwide key PMOs by the talents from the multidisciplinary core team will overcome this challenge.
- Step: Conduct continuous improvement (improvement): Once the Project Management Standard has been developed, a process has to be established to ensure its continuous improvement. E.g., once PMI launches PMBOK6, but your Project Management Standard still is based on PMBOK5, you need to ensure that your organization can react fast. The ensuring of this requires, e.g., the already mentioned PMO structures as well as the resources devoted.
- Step: Monitor key performance indicators (improvement): To make sure that the Project Management Standard works well, the success has to be measured. Here are several solutions on how to ensure this. Often, PMOs are also those instances in organizations which connect to the projects, and monitor and control the performance.
- Step: Repeat for each of the different types of projects (improvement): PMI assumes that by following steps 2 to 8, not for all project types, the Project Management Standard can be immediately built. For example, if you built the SAP standard for your organization, and you have now to add the Oracle standard, these steps have to be revisited, and the current Project Management Standard will grow further – with the goal to finally cover all needed project types in your organization.
4.2 Building with the “right ” resources
How to build now with the right resources? Hereby, one of the first questions raised above in “steps 4 and 5” is definitely how to handle already existing internal standards, including their resources. The basic rule should be to carefully check whether the existing parts are outdated because they very often are. Then, such methodologies should be kept temporarily running for existing projects though, but internally, they should be broken up into external and internal pieces: The external methodology or standard parts are often outdated and/or not adopted completely at that time, therefore they can be usually put aside. But in the remaining internal parts, there may be true differentiators to be identified, e.g., specific processes which are relevant for the IP (Intellectual Property), or, e.g., specific tools and templates which can be re-used under a new project management standard as well.
Just to add, it is not carved in stone that organizations should already have any Project Management Methodology established – and it may be even easier if they have not as this reduces the efforts and especially avoids politics in dealing with involved stakeholders who may have shares in the old “beloved” content. In general, the following pie charts illustrate typical situations on how organizations act with the usage of Project Management Methodologies in current days:
The second question targets what kind of external methodologies and standards should be adopted. For this, there is no silver bullet! Organizations do this differently, and in a perfect world, the right unique answer can be internally given by multidisciplinary project management teams who need to evaluate this in assessments.
When it comes to the right Project Management Methodology, there are still some experiences from the markets, e.g., there is a trend for IT projects to take more and more use of agile-based approaches, while manufacturing projects more often use traditional waterfall approaches.
And when it comes to the right Project Management Standard from third-party organizations, each standard has again its pros and cons: The PMBOK standard is, e.g., the most globally utilized standard, covering more than 185 countries, but the certification process is mostly dependent on a multiple-choice test in a training center only. The IPMA standard is very much focusing on the qualification of a Project Manager, but each country interprets this standard differently, which makes it more complex to establish one standard in a global organization. The Prince2 standard does not require too much cost and time for future Project Managers to invest in, however, it is globally not so strongly distributed as the former mentioned standard. To give market examples, some companies implemented (or rather aligned with) the PMBOK standard (e.g., SAP), some others (with) the IPMA standard (e.g., Siemens), and so forth.
Building your own standard is now about bringing together the right mixture of policies, practices, processes, tools, techniques, and templates. The incorporation and usage of well-known global Project Management Methodologies helps as well as the alignment with third-party Project Management Standards – and last but not least, the consolidation with the needed organization’s differentiators. The following overview illustrates the combination of these three parts:
1. Project Management Methodology (Chapter 2)
2. Project Management Standard (Chapter 3)
3. The Organization’s Differentiators (Chapter 4)
In more detail, the third point talks about the valuable knowledge from an organization in regard to its business, processes, culture, capabilities, and industries. As you remember, these assets are collected during the assessment (see “step 2”, described in “chapter 4.1”). At the end, the new organization’s Project Management Standard will need to finally reflect size, duration, the complexity of the organization’s targeted projects, industry focusses if any, the organizational culture, and last but not least the level of organizational maturity.
5. How Organizations can implement the new Project Management Standard
Now it is clear how to develop the organization’s Project Management Standard by content. But to keep the big picture in mind, the implementation of such required building process into the overall organization has to work out as well. Before doing a trial-and-error approach, a better way is to take a look into one of the most-accepted market’s best practice approaches which helps the implementation of a new standard into the organization be more successful: the so-called “Organizational Project Management Methodology” (OPM).
5.1 Organizational Project Management Methodology
The OPM methodology is used to help organizations implement and run through the overall building process much smoother. The basic idea is that it is not about Project Management only, but about the holistic management of Portfolios and Programs additionally. Following this philosophy, these three domains need to be integrated in the organization’s business management framework, and depending on the maturity of the organization, governed and supported by PMO Frameworks. The integration of these domains into the overall strategy of the organization will look like this:
This framework can be used not for Large Enterprises only, but also for smaller companies: There are several ways to ensure that the OPM implementation does not interrupt ongoing operations, e.g., by reducing bureaucracy, avoiding overhead, gain support of the right stakeholders, and more. In any case, to deploy the OPM correctly, any organization needs to run through the following steps by definition:
- OPM Step 1 – Formulate deployment: Important is to convince decision makers that there is a need for a new project management standard in the organization and gain the stakeholder buy-in. Once this has been achieved, the organization’s readiness to adopt a new Project Management Standard then has to be analyzed, e.g., by sponsorship, organizational structures, culture, policies, the role of the PMOs, et cetera. Last but not least, the scope of deployment has to be documented and detailed, e.g., phases of standard deployment, benefits realization plan generation, et cetera.
- OPM Step 2 – Plan the deployment: All the input from step 1 will be used to define now the deployment approach, to plan the stakeholder engagement, and to plan the transition and integration into the organization.
- OPM Step 3 – Implement the deployment: Now, the time has come to execute the plan! This means the organization will now be prepared for the deployment, the identified stakeholders need to get prepared, and the methodology outcomes need to be generated. This means that all the components need to be created and delivered. Please look back at ‘chapter 4’ for deeper insights into this Project Management Standard tailoring process.
- OPM Step 4 – Manage the transition: After the Project Management Standard has been created, it now has to be made sure that it is also used in the overall organization. PMI defines this as to “transition the methodology into business as usual“, to become a standard practice, which includes rollouts and trainings.
- OPM Step 5 – Sustain the new Project Management Standard: Once the new Project Management Standard had been transitioned into business, it has to be made sure to keep it stable and further improve it. Key activities, besides others, are continuous stakeholder engagement and benefits realization measurement. Also, the continuous updates have to be managed (see above “chapter 4.2” above in regard to adding additional types of projects).
This describes the overall implementation procedure. However, there are some focus topics which are missing; especially when it comes to internal training and certification (linked with steps 3 and 4 above), as well as external qualification (linked to step 3 above).
5.2 Training and Certification
One important approach to further increase the quality of Project Managers is to implement a training academy into the organization (or rather enhance existing training capabilities) with the training content of the new Project Management Standard; this is often enriched with an internal certification process, depending on the organization’s maturity.
A lot of constellations are hereby possible, meaning organizations may run even hybrid models by, e.g., training their people via their own internal structures, but sending them after to external training facilities to make them, besides other options, e.g., externally PMI-certified PMPs. Often, organizations exploit their established PMO Frameworks to manage such training and certification processes. But depending on the size of the organization, even such PMO structures may not always be able to manage all relevant stakeholders. In this case, another solution is to establish an E-Learning (and if possible, certification) platform to support the organization’s educational goals.
In case the certification process is also part of the scope, it needs to be aligned with the global HR department to become part of the career path organizations offer to their employees. The final certificates also may be optionally connected with external third-party institutes like PMI, e.g., to let your employees earn PDUs (“professional development units”, see also chapter 5.3.2 below) once the PMI PMP and/or PgMP is part of the Project Management Standard direction.
5.3 External Qualification
To underline the quality of the organization’s new Project Management Standard – or even just prove that the content from a well-accepted external global methodology has been inherited – higher matured organizations strive to get official awareness of the third-party providers they have worked with. But in many cases, those institutions usually do not “certify” or “qualify” such internal Project Management Standards. However, there are still options on how to officially connect: Even there is no silver bullet, and the approach differs, the following sub-chapters will give deeper insights on what is currently possible, going through some of the most important third-party providers.
5.3.1 IPMA Delta Assessment
IPMA offers to certify organizations on their project management maturity via a so-called “IPMA Delta Assessment”. Hereby, there are global as well as regional, e.g. German, prerequisites. Once an organization runs through this assessment, IPMA assesses the current and delta status of the organization’s competence in managing projects. This leads, besides others, to the following “Project Management Competence Profile”:
As one of the results of the assessment, strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s Project Management competence become visible, and lead to the suggestions of IPMA on where to further improve. Also large organizations, like Siemens, work with IPMA to further optimize their internal global Project Management Standard.
5.3.2 PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.)
PMI offers to make an organization registered as a so-called “Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.)”. This means that PMI can authorize internal project management trainings to finally issue PDUs (“professional development units”) to employees going through this training. To earn such R.E.P. designation, the organization must meet standards for quality and effectiveness as defined by PMI.
You may checkout also this video, explaining how organizations can prepare to apply for the R.E.P. program.
5.3.3 Prince2 Qualification
Prince2 helps organizations qualify their internal Project Management Standards after Prince2-standard. Prince2 says: “The majority of companies that implement Prince2 also encourage their employees to receive training and take exams. This often proves instrumental in facilitating the successful adoption and implementation of the Prince2 method into an organisation.” This affects also the training and certification strategy of employees to make their roles Prince2-compliant.
5.3.4 SAP Qualification
Different from the pure Project Management-focused providers mentioned above, it is quite interesting to see also how other purely technology-focused companies handle and align Project Management Standards. Let us take SAP as an example: SAP is very open to collaborate closely with its partner organizations, including aligning with an organization’s Project Management Standard , to help implement their SAP offerings on client sides through partners. The current Project Management Standard of SAP is called SAP Activate, which is named by SAP not anymore as a pure “methodology” only, but as an “innovation framework”.
Once an organization partnered with SAP wants to inherit SAP Activate content to be ready to also implement newer SAP offerings like S/4HANA on client side, SAP is eager to support by opening the SAP Activate repository to them – as long as SAP’s intellectual property is granted. Besides just access to its Project Management Standard repository, SAP is also recently starting a Partner Qualification Program which offers several level of partner engagements, depending on the relationship maturity: this goes from pure service qualifications to complete solution qualifications.
There are many more options on how to connect to third-party Project Management Standard providers, but here, only the few above are mentioned for now. If you have additional current information, I am happily looking forward to reading about your ideas in the comment section below.
5.4 Challenges and Critical Success Factors
Let us come back to the initial scope of chapter 5: After having the new Project Management Standard implemented into the organization, there are last but not least several challenges and critical success factors which have to be continuously managed. The following list gives an overview on the most critical ones, and on how to handle them:
- New market developments: Markets and technologies will always further develop. This will lead to new Project Management Techniques as well as new technologies which need to be consistently inherited into the organization’s Project Management Standard. Therefore, a lifecycle management has to be implemented, which will answer questions on when to adopt new Project Management techniques, and how to handle content that’s becoming outdated.
- Market focus of PMO team over time: Once the Project Management Standard has been built and implemented into the organization, there is a risk that the responsible PMO team does not stay connected to the client requirements forever. This could lead to the rise of consequences – which need adjustments of the standard – that are not considered (see also above point). Therefore, it is necessary to connect such PMO team constantly to the best-performing Project Managers of the organization, working onsite at clients, to make sure the newest client requirements are being considered in version-ups of the Project Management Standard.
- Communication and Training: To make sure that the organization’s Project Managers do not use old standards on client sites, it has to be made sure that the new standard is constantly being rolled out to all Project Managers via a well-defined organizational change management process with a well-established training environment. This process needs to involve, besides others, HR, academy, and PMO departments, and to be sponsored by relevant Executives.
- Collaterals: The larger an organization is, the more complex it is to reach out to all relevant stakeholders to keep them connected to the new Project Management standard. To improve this situation, a selection of the right communication mix supported by the right collaterals is indispensable. Collaterals can be, e.g., handbooks, brochures, and any further Marketing and Sales material.
- Global versus local: There are pros and cons to keep a truly global standard, or to also allow regional or even country-specific adjustments of parts of the methodology. The more individual the content parts become, the more difficult it is to keep the teams connected, and to retain a globally consistent framework.
This extract on the most critical success factors, besides others, already gives understandable insights on the complexity of such challenges faced.
Today’s organizations need their own Project Management Standard to act successfully in the markets! Building and implementing such a standard has direct correlations to the business performance. Organizations without an established Project Management Standard even risk disappearing from the market sooner or later.
A critical success factor in building a standard is the right mixture of required internal differentiators as well as the adoption of the right external methodologies and standards. Tailoring practices from PMI help manage this endeavour professionally. When finally implementing the new Project Management Standard into the organization, a holistic approach is needed to integrate also Program Management and Portfolio Management into the company’s business management framework, connecting all domains to the organization’s vision, missions and strategy. PMO Frameworks can help organizations coordinate such developments across multiple organizational business units.
An established Project Management Standard will lead to realized strategic objectives. It is important to keep such a standard in the organization continuously up to date. Looking forward, it will be interesting how new offerings in methodologies and technologies may further change the Project Management knowledge as we know it today.