In this post we address two important concepts about project management, which are:
- How to manage projects in organizations, and
- How to manage projects successfully.
We split these topics since the first deals with the organizational system – policies – procedures – processes – methodology, among other factors. The other topic, deals with offering a model to deliver project success rather than just project completion.
To be honest, it is not a coincidence that we are offering two workshops (courses) on the above topics in a couple of weeks in Malaysia and Singapore in collaboration with Knowledge Method.
- Managing Project Success is the first workshop in Malaysia from 9 to 10 June.
- Organizational Project Management is the second workshop from 11 to 13 June.
Organizational Project Management
Obviously we cannot put the course content here, therefore, we will only offer a brief; or more specifically, the drivers for building a sustainable system for managing projects. We have written on this topic before and you can refer to past article, including Do not build the PMO build the OPM System.
In general, organizations often build a PMO but they do not realize that the PMO is an organizational unit that could be limited in term of mandate to reporting or supporting project. If a PMO is only supporting, without having the proper systems for managing projects in place, there is a chance the PMO will either fail, offer less than optimal outcome, or do a good job in support but not leading projects’ performance.
What organizations (private – public – NGO …) (department – business unit – whole organization) need is to build a standardized approach for managing projects. Numerous research, by PMI (the Project Management Institute) and others, reflects that to enable organizational change and effective implementation of strategy and strategic plans, organizations need:
- “Standardized project and program management practices,
- Engaged sponsors,
- Managing people through change.” 
If we take another look at the above three factors, in one way or another they are related to a system approach … organizations need to pair people and process to effectively manage projects. To expand on the above … organizations need the engines of people-process-tools.
A few years back, we started to think and research about why projects still fail.
We looked at PMO – we reviewed research on PMO – we talked with clients – and we observed practices.
What we noticed is an over-emphasis on certifications rather method and methodologies.
What we realized is that PMO – often – are not empowered – not understood – and their mandate is limited to be effective “Change Enablers”. Although PMI research  clearly indicates that PMO could have significant roles in organizations and are critical to transform an organization into “Change Enablers” .
The reviews and research lead us to believe that one of the gaps is that individuals and organizations are considering a “system approach”. When they focus on one standard, such as the PMBOK Guide, they are only considering one element of success – one of the elements needed to build a proper system.
- What should the full system include?
- What is missing?
- What is required to elevate projects’ performance?
- What do organizations need for project and program management practices to be core skills for enhancing organizational performance?
- What is required for organizations to comprehend the power of systematic project management and its strategic role?
- Ultimately, what and what would it takes for organizations to believe that a project management department/unit/function is as vital for their success as HR, Finance, Marketing, and strategic planning?
We tried to answer the above questions and the first thing we came up with was the SUKAD Seven Elements of Project Management Maturity = The Elements of the Organizational Project Management System, which we present in the following image.
In our workshop in Singapore (11 to 13 June 2014), we will discuss the necessary background on this vital topic. However, most of the time, we will engage the participants to develop the proper approach for building this system with an emphasis on how to sustain it!
Managing Project Success
We will write more about this topic in the future. In the meantime, we refer the reader to past articles on the subject.
Hope to see some of you in Singapore!
 Pulse of the Profession – Enabling Organizational Change – by PMI
 Various publications by PMI under the Pulse of the Profession or Thought Leadership series.
 PMI recent research – our model came a few years before PMI published these research reports.