Benefits of Project Management Maturity
Achieving a strategic level of project management maturity should be on the mind of every project based business, especially engineering and professional services firms. Proposals, budgets, resources, and estimate-at-complete (EAC) are activities a project based business can’t live without. In a perfect world, the project management activities will connect directly to time and financial systems. The integrated system (people, processes, and tools) will provide a level of visibility and control that will help mature your discipline and will improve execution success.
Evolving the Project Management Discipline:
Since project management depends on the strategic alignment of people, processes, and tools, it only makes sense to concentrate on the level of competency of each of these attributes throughout your capability evolution. Engineering organizations are all on different journeys as it pertains to capability evolution. Which one of these levels of maturity accurately depicts your current status?
Level 1 – Ad-Hoc
Achieving goals depends on individual effort and heroics. This is typically chaos and you might picture this state as people running around with their hair on fire.
Level 2 -Basic Management
Basic project management processes are in place and the necessary process discipline exists to repeat earlier successes on projects with similar applications.
Level 3 - Organizational Standards
Processes are documented and standardized, with approved tailored approaches adopted as needed.
Level 4 – Quantitative
Detailed measures on process adherence and cost/schedule performance are quantitatively measured, understood, and managed.
Level 5 – Continuous Improvement
Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from the process and from piloting innovative ideas and technologies.
How to Move Up the Maturity Ladder:
Level 1 to Level 2
- Agree as an organization that you are ready to climb the ladder!
- Create and document policies and procedures
- Policies should establish best practices for your organization
- Assure they will help the teams be successful
- Make sure there is a repository for easy access
- Feedback loop to make sure policies are being followed
- Create a self-audit plan
- Concentrate on the basics – scope, schedule, and budget
- Provide role-based training on policies and procedures
- Evaluate tools and evaluate future needs
Level 2 to Level 3
- Measure adherence of policies and procedures by the projects
- Listen closely to feedback at every level of the organization
- Evolve the procedures to be tailorable for different types of projects
- Compliance to policies and procedures for the organization
- Automation of the process with the right tools
Level 3 to Level 4
- Use data (historical and current) to drive business decisions
- Align forecasts and plans to corporate goals and objectives
- Utilize KPIs to directly influence achievement of business goals
- Consider past performance and apply learning to current forecasts
- Tools now support the process with minimal manual touches
- Continue role-based training for all stakeholders
- Tools training is a recurring activity
Level 4 to Level 5
- Invest in your people with training and a career path
- Establish a continuous feedback loop from all stakeholders
- Incentivize employees to be creative and listen to the suggestions
- Continue to evolve your processes, looking for areas to improve
- Collect and utilize lessons learned
- You will feel the organization firing on all cylinders
As an organization it is important to decide what level is needed to achieve your business objectives. Some may say that level 3.5 is adequate and it will meet their needs. Others might need a complete managed process that is striving for optimization so a 4.3. Making that decision is key to establishing a roadmap and overall timeline.
By working to mature your project management discipline, you will realize the following benefits:
- Improved visibility and control into project performance
- Improved predictability and understanding of overall performance
- Increase in realized profitability
- Common organizational standards ensuring consistent reporting, reduction of rework, and reduced dependence on heroes
- Optimization of the project management staff, allowing them to focus on their customer, not on turning the crank
- More efficient communication within project teams and to senior leadership
- Delivery of real-time insight on project financials and enabled resolution of identified risks
- More on-time and on-budget projects which equals a delighted customer
These benefits can be accomplished by partnering with Unanet both for subject matter expertise as well as an integrated tool for projects, people, and financials.