How to Assess and Improve Your Project Management Performance

How to Assess and Improve Your Project Management Performance

In today's business world, projects are essential for organizations to maintain their competitive edge and create valuable assets. As a result, many companies are turning to sophisticated project management tools and techniques to ensure effective project management. For forward-looking organizations, continuous improvement is key, and regular maturity assessments can help determine the rate at which an organization is improving and maintaining its high level of sophistication. Project management maturity models provide a framework for achieving excellence in project management, including a roadmap for formalized project portfolio management and a pool of competent project team members.

Managing stakeholder expectations is crucial to project success, and regular audits and revisions of these expectations are necessary. Definitive data must be used to evaluate project performance, and all elements of the project charter must be continually refreshed with current and accurate data.

Motivation for improvement can come from within the organization or from external sources such as clients or competitors. A maturity rating can be an excellent enterprise credential for competitive advantage when bidding on projects in a global market. Improving project management maturity can lead to benefits such as increased employee morale, stakeholder satisfaction, and client satisfaction.

Reactive motivations, such as crisis situations, tend to fade once the crisis is over. Instead, it is important to have a proactive motivation to transition from firefighting to fire prevention in project management. By continuously striving for improvement and sophistication in project management, organizations can maintain their competitive edge and create valuable assets.

The Secrets of Project Success

When asking a client to describe a project, their response will typically focus on the physical or metaphysical attributes of the project, such as cost, schedule, and scope. However, the project team will likely describe the actions, management plans, phases, and tools used to create the deliverable. One way to explain this difference is to say that the client is focused on the end result, while the team is focused on the process of getting there.

It's not surprising that the client and team may have different views of success, as they prioritize different aspects of the project. The client's main concern is meeting their business objectives, while also paying attention to the project's attributes. As their business case changes, these attributes may change as well, and the team should respond accordingly. The team, on the other hand, is focused on completing specific tasks and using the right tools to deliver the project as closely to the client's needs as possible.

While the team is not directly involved in the business case of the project, they should still be mindful of changes in the organization's vision that may impact the project's ranking and resources. Ultimately, the team's primary focus should be on the project management aspects, including managing things, people, and enterprise aspects. Best practices for these aspects may be provided by an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO), but the team may need to adapt them to fit the specific project environment.

Maturity Assessment is the key to continuous improvement, and Maturity Improvement is the path to excellence.

A clear indication of an immature organization's project environment is the sole requirement for promotion to the position of project manager being technical competence. As the organization matures, project managers are expected to handle issues related to people, enterprise, and project management, in addition to the technical content of the project. Only when all project managers attend to these issues, can the organization be deemed partially or fully mature. In contrast, organizations at lower levels of maturity tend to only have technical competence, while fully mature organizations possess a full range of competencies. To progress towards full maturity, organizations must address all aspects of project management, beyond technical content. Mature project management capabilities allow organizations to improve product development cycle time and respond quickly to changing customer needs.

A mature organization is project-friendly, where projects thrive and succeed in environments that support proper project management activities and goals. Project management maturity has significant implications for profitability, competitive edge, and first-class status. Therefore, organizations should continually evaluate how their projects contribute to success and growth. Organizations with a progressive standard for fostering project management improvement usually implement a project portfolio management process, establish a metrics program, and conduct regular project management maturity assessments.

Maturity assessments provide a detailed, objective, and formalized picture of the overall organizational competency. Regular assessments can provide insight into the realistic current state of the organization's competency, allowing for plans for enhancement, improvements in project success, and ultimately increased profits. Focusing on maturity and continuous improvement reduces the incidence of project shortfalls by providing a foundation for best practices geared toward success. However, assessments should not become an end in themselves, and organizations must be aware of the limitations and applicability of maturity assessment results.

Mature organizations regularly monitor project status and are fully aware of their capabilities and shortcomings. Regular assessments and enhancements allow for a quick detection of project performance issues and prompt remedial actions. By contrast, immature organizations may conduct occasional project audits only when there is an indirect signal that the project is out of control. To stay competitive and measure effectiveness, organizations must be aware of their success in project delivery, which is dependent upon being project-friendly.