Every organisation should be actively working to maximise project management maturity.
The State of Project Management Annual Report for 2017 published by Wellingtone and the APM PMO SIG provides a fantastic insight into the UK project management industry and how everyone is doing with this noble ambition.
So, let’s take a peek at your PM maturity. No cheating! Yes, it’s time to take that that truth serum. “Veritaserum” cry the bit-too-keen Harry Potter fans.
Here are 5 questions. Answer the question for your organisation and see how you compare with UK industry. Possible answers are
- About half the time
- Most of the time
Question 1: How often is a defined methodology applied to projects in your organisation?
Hopefully your organisation has a defined project management methodology. Often this can be found in a dusty tome, innocently titled ‘Project Management Guide’ or ‘Handbook’. This methodology should be applied consistently to all projects, scaled to suit the complexity of the project.
Question 2: How often is a scoping document created as part of the planning phase?
The number 1 reason projects fail is scope creep or lack of scope definition. One of the most fundamental elements of basic project management is therefore having an agreed scoping document. Not one that’s written as an after thought halfway through the project. It’s supposed to be written as part of the planning phase!
Question 3: How often do PMs engage in some form of project risk management?
“VOLDERMORT” ARGH, oh no it’s just Risk Management! Phew, we all know about it but do you actually do it? If done correctly it does create more tasks in the short term, but that’s the point! Do some proportional mitigation today to save a hold heap of work down the line. However, before you give yourself a pat on the back, remember that adding some risks into an Excel spreadsheet is not the complete risk management process, it’s just one of the steps!
Question 4: Are project schedules actively used as part of managing projects?
Oh come on! “Plan the work, then work the plan”. Please tell me you have a detailed project plan that the team have into and is used to help manage the project? It has to be said that many Project Managers struggle to build a decent quality logically linked project schedule. My quick tips are:
- Build a high level plan using sticky notes first and then
- Balance the level of detail in the plan, don’t try and capture all task minutiae!
Question 5: Are project schedules baselined so that performance can be tracked?
Disappointingly approximately ⅓ of project schedules are not baselined. A Project Manager should not only know where you are on the journey of your project, but where you should be. Comparison to a baseline schedule (& budget, resource, scope) provides that important reality check! Yes, we are 56% complete! Great, but we are supposed to be 72% complete, not so great.
So how do you feel now? Smug and super mature like a Hogwarts Prefect or a bit of a muggle? I hope this gives you pause for thought. Do download the full report and if you’d like some help assessing project management maturity (and even PMO maturity) then feel free to contact us, probably better than the owl postal service, we live near Heathrow and it could get messy.