In the past, corporations have viewed project management as a ROLE with the primary purpose to CONTROL projects, especially the expenditure of money spent on projects. The enemy is scope creep feared for draining cash and bankrupting businesses leaving them unable to implement strategy. Efforts in the 80s and 90s to standardize project management through PMOs (Project Management Office) to facilitate this control were generally unsuccessful, first challenged by stubborn staff who didn't want to be told what to do, next confused by iterative and agile development and later completely shelved to battle the recession. Just get it done. Let's call this approach Top Down PM.
Consider this current example from our work, which is a shared story for many of our customers. Five years ago, a large hospital system brought project management training in for their clinical (primarily nurses) training staff. Requested by the people in the class ('the pest inside'), this initiative's purpose was to create a common language/ process so that this team could do more with less faster. In other words, they wanted project management as a COMPETENCY with the primary purpose to COMMUNICATE / REUSE. Projects had become flash mobs; people who came together temporarily to do something then disperse. There were no longer dedicated project teams - everyone had their own stack of projects - and organizations were increasingly matrixed and fluid. In the highly competitive hospital, sharing expertise to deliver blended instruction quickly had become an imperative that project management could drive.
Since then, their success and competence has grown. They have a central place for templates they have created for their projects so all can find and see how projects are doing. There is a person whose role it is to keep track of these projects to ensure dependencies are understood, knowledge is shared, and duplication is avoided. Reuse is much easier on future projects. It's not about control. Their stakeholders have asked them to help them do project management, so the competence is spreading across the system. Each year we return to share new ideas with experienced and new staff.
This year, I'm invited to teach their executives how this project management as a competency works. What do the executives need to do to support this organic growth? What is a good project sponsor and why is it critical to project success? It amazes me that the hierarchy of the organization has been
flipped completely upside-down to successfully grow project management success, all because of a 'pest'.
If you'd like to be a pest for your organization, contact Brittney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 475 - 9311 X 3.