The April 2016 issue of PM Network provided updated project management capability findings from PMI’s 2016 Pulse of the Profession ® report. An unfortunate statistic is that only 38% of organizations are placing a high priority on creating a culture which recognizes the importance of project management.
Organizational project management support can be either a blocker in lower maturity companies or an accelerator to project performance in higher maturity ones. A good project manager who is working in an organization which doesn’t value project management could find themselves stymied at every turn whereas a novice project manager could easily exceed expectations in a higher maturity firm.
Effectively supporting project management doesn’t just mean setting up a PMO and expecting that it will be able to work miracles as the report indicates that 68% of organizations have a PMO. Establishing a PMO within a low maturity organization but not vesting it with the authority or sponsorship to influence behaviors and culture can be the kiss of death.
Project management maturity is also not realized just by having good project sponsorship as the same report indicates that three out of five projects have engaged executive sponsors. While an engaged project sponsor can increase the odds of success for the projects or programs which they are sponsoring unless that executive has the influence and inclination to champion the transformations required to achieve a higher level of maturity such successes are likely to remain limited.
In addition to effective sponsorship, some of the following conditions should be met.
- Staff who are directly or indirectly supporting project work (e.g. functional managers, HR, operational support teams) should be provided with a good grounding in project management fundamentals and in the specific methodologies utilized within the organization. They should also be trained on the role they will need to play in achieving project success.
- Objectives and performance measures for these staff should include a healthy balance between operational and project success metrics.
- Project managers should have flexible growth prospects with the ability to either take on progressively more senior roles within the project management career path or to move laterally into functional leadership positions.
- Project managers will be expected to provide feedback into the performance evaluations of the team members who had worked on their projects.
- The path to an executive role should include the engaged sponsorship of at least one successful initiative.
- New sponsors are provided with onboarding support and ideally will be paired up with a seasoned executives to help them succeed.
- Lessons identified on projects are broadly shared and those which are deemed to be chronic, recurring blockers will be escalated to the appropriate level of executive visibility and resolved.
- The prompt communication & escalation of issues and risks is encouraged and identified issue or risk owners are encouraged to respond in a timely manner.
- Leaders spend significant effort ensuring that the structure and processes for project governance are efficient and effective.
- The culture encourages transparency – health status is reported consistently from the project team level all the way up to the top of the house.
What else do you feel is required to demonstrate effective organizational support for project management?