June 2016 President's Blog: Project Management Maturity
As project management becomes more recognized as a profession and a field of study, organizations are starting to realize that they need to standardize how project management is practiced within their organization. With some hard work, planning, and practice, organizations can increase their project management to very mature levels. And if these organizations that have a high level of project management maturity do not take time to review lessons learned to keep doing the things that made them successful and try to prevent the things that cause project failures, then the project management maturity that they had will quickly disappear.
One of the organizations that I have worked with over the years used to have a very high level of project management maturity. This organization was involved in retail store construction. The program director had created a program where they had completed nearly 300 projects on time and only had around 6 projects that had to be delayed and missed their scheduled completion date. All of the projects that had to be delayed were as a result of circumstances well beyond the control of the project team.
Presently they do not have this level of success. Many projects are delayed. Many of the vendors that need to be involved in the project are not even aware of the project. The vendors that are aware of the project have no idea when they are supposed to be onsite for the project.
How were they able to have such a high level of success? Why can they not get back to the level that they were once at? When they were operating at a high level, the program director that developed the program had a team of project managers and team of procurement specialists that understood the program, they worked well together, they had a high level of communication, and they worked well with their vendors. When new project managers were brought on to the team, their skills were developed and they were trained in the methodology that the organization used and that was proven to work.
Nowadays, the program director is no longer with the company and more than half of the project managers that were on the team during the years of high levels of success have been promoted to positions within other organizations. The new team does not communicate as well or as often as the old team. They are leaving many things to chance rather than driving them forward to completion.
Project management maturity doesn’t happen by accident. In order for an organization’s project management practices to mature, organizations need to study what they do right and find ways to replicate these things. More importantly, organizations need to study the risk factors that cause things to go wrong and find ways to reduce or eliminate them. Project Management Maturity only comes from concentrated efforts.