There is method in the madness!

Projects do not succeed by accident. [Though in my experience some end up being accidents waiting to happen…but that is a topic for another time]

Without exception, projects, whether major change programmes or an office relocation, have to be sustained and driven through to fruition by pragmatic and effective project management.

You would be surprised that some people (usually key stakeholders) think that once the project is agreed that magical things happen. Sorry for bursting your bubble; in the real world this is not the case.

For instance, an effective project infrastructure needs to be in place to ensure that the change programme can be planned and delivered. Obvious things, such as project resources, can be overlooked or assumptions made that they are already on-board. I’ve seen projects kick-off and there has been no project manager to lead it. Or a team is ready to work on project deliverables but either they don’t have the necessary equipment or there is nowhere suitable for them to do their work.

In order to achieve successful project outcomes, the right approaches and processes need to be in place and followed by all key players, in what some describe simply as a “road map” to project success. Such project management approaches and processes have evolved, over many decades, into full-blown methodologies.

Such “project methodologies” enable project managers to plan, manage and control projects using a proven approach that is consistent with others that use the method (there are several different methods to choose from). Such methods “ensure” that everyone, across projects, understand what is to be delivered and how.

Be warned, using a project methodology will not guarantee success, there are numerous other factors to be taken into consideration. Project methodologies can be viewed as the foundation of project success [the project manager position is the facilitator of project success].

One of the major methods in use today is PRINCE2 (stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments). PRINCE was first developed, in 1980’s by the UK government, to standardize the IT project management approach in government.

I have used the latest version of PRINCE2 (and its predecessors since the early 1990’s). PRINCE2 offers thorough coverage of the project management process.

I have also used bespoke project methodologies advocated by various blue chip organisations that have had the foresight, budget and resources to develop their own. Often their bespoke methods are based on PRINCE2 along with contributions from other industry approaches like the Project Management Institute (PMI) PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

The common goal is to ensure that the project method equips the project team with the right approach and supports the delivery of project deliverables, certainly to quality, to time and to agreed budget.

As project leadership, from executive sponsorship downwards, is eager to ensure that their projects deliver rapidly AND deliver the expected business benefits, you would hope that they support the use of a suitable method. This is not always the case! Madness!

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