Enhance your project management maturity
Are we ready to exploit upcoming opportunities?

It has been proven that project management is an essential tool to gain competitive advantage in any business environment today. It helps us to change fast and adopt to environment in a timely manner. This is one reason why PM has become one of the fastest growing methodology in the world. The PM tools are important to Sri Lankan organizations in particular, because of the rapid development activities expected soon. It can be said that PM and development are inseparable allies in any Nation Building effort like this. There can be National level projects undertaken by the Government and projects undertaken by organizations in support of their strategies and objectives.

The issue in point is that most of our organizations that undertake projects do not recognize them as projects. They generally use existing routine procedures and systems to manage projects, increasing the probability of failures. Since projects are unique and dynamic, they can't be implemented using routine processes. We need to recognize them as separate endeavors and create a team structure and use PM processes to implement it. In other words there should be a separate PM methodology.

A methodology is a process that documents a series of steps and procedures to create a successful project. This entails what are the phases, what is to be done under each phase, what documents and formats to be used and what are the approval levels etc. Organizations that undertake project should have a singular, repeatable methodology that provides the quickest path to consistent results.
When you have a methodology, you should aim to achieve maturity. How far are we using PM best practices to achieve strategic objectives ? Do we have PM procedures and processes that are repetitive in nature and provide a high probability that each project will be a success ? In order to enhance maturity first we must assess current level of maturity by identifying the best practices in use and capabilities available to implement them.

This has to be done against a best practices standard. If there are gaps, action should be taken to introduce lacking best practices and capabilities to the PM system. A Best practice is the best way recognized by industry to achieve a particular objective. A Capability is a specific competency that should exist in the organization to execute best practices. For example; Best practice; we have a process to mobilize qualified people for projects. Capability: we use performance appraisal record to determine training needs.

Now you will understand that this is an ongoing exercise for an organization that aspires to improve the PM methodology continuously. This model completely supports the continuous improvement concepts preached by Walter A. Shewhart and Edward Deming. If we are to exploit upcoming opportunities, we must ensure that we have a reasonably matured PM methodology that guarantee successful project implementation and increase organizational competitiveness.

The author Duminda Weeraratne is currently working for Project Management Solutions as a Project Management Consultant.

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