Let me start with a few notes and clarifications. We define megaprojects as massive projects with capital costs around US$1 billion and a high level of complexity. Industrial megaprojects seem to perform better than infrastructure megaprojects. However, at best, what we have seen reported is a 35% success rate on the high end and as low as 0.5% on the questionable end. We do question the 0.5%, although it is reported by a reputable source. We also know that many organizations do follow a stage-gate process and might have project management systems. Then, why more projects fail than succeed? The response requires an analysis of the root causes. Next, the challenge is on finding a tailored approach for leading megaprojects concept to success. SUKAD has such an approach; therefore, it makes sense to write about it.
Recently, we have published on LinkedIn the CAMMP eleven principles or critical success factors. These are the principles necessary to build tailored project management methods in organizations. These tailored methods are for the management of projects and delivery of products. An online network connection (Mr. Larry Moore) raised the question: “Could you please explain just what you mean by “product and delivery processes?” Are these two different and separate groups of processes, or are they combined into a single set of processes? ”
So, what are the differences between product-oriented processes and project management processes? Further, why is it important for project managers to know about both? That is what we are answering in today’s article.
This blog article, combine three short articles/video blogs that we published a while back. We combine them here for ready reference. There are three videos: one for developing the schedule for a stage; another for scheduling across the project life cycle; and the third is about rolling wave planning. More related videos could be coming to this platform.
The text in this blog post is from a seven-volume e-book series that we are working on. It is Chapter 7 from Volume 2.
The Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects is a three-dimensional methodological approach. In other words, to manage projects effectively and at high degree of efficacy, we must consider three dimensions. It is possible to use one of the first two dimensions, on its own, to manage a micro, basic, or simple project but as projects grow in term of cost, time, or number of resources and team members, then we must consider the first two dimensions together, for good project management. For great project management, we advise consideration of all three dimensions.
What are these three dimensions?
The First Dimension
The first dimension is the project life cycle (the horizontal dimension), which helps practitioners follow a project from idea to closure (and beyond). Figure 5 (the first figure) is repeated from an earlier chapter, and it presents the first dimension. Keep in mind, this image represents the standard model without any customization, adaptation, or other tailoring steps.
The project life cycle consists of phases, stages, stage deliverables, and stage gates. What CAMMP offers is a standard model that can be tailored; tailoring is covered in more details in Volume 6 of this series.
The intent of assigning “the first dimension” to the project life cycle is to emphasize that a project life cycle is the most basic form of a methodology and must be the starting point. In other words, whether we are dealing with a micro project or a mega project, organizations should follow a project life cycle, or what is also known as a stage-gate process. The project life cycles will vary from one industry to another or project type. Hence the need to start with a standard model, then customize to an industry and organization, adapt to an organizational function, and modify to fit a given project class accounting for size and complexity. The ultimate purpose is to start with a standardized methodological approach to develop tailored methods that are fit for purpose[i].
Volume 3 will provide a detailed explanation of every stage, and its components.
The Second Dimension
The first dimension can be good enough to manage micro or basic projects without the use of the second dimension. It helps organizations manage a project C2C, concept to closure. Therefore, this dimension is a must for all projects regardless of type, domain, size or complexity. However, once again we must emphasize that as project grow in size or complexity, there is a need for the second dimension.
The second dimension is the vertical dimension of the project life cycle. It is about the application of the project management processes along the project life cycle in every stage or phase. In other words, the PLC help us manage C2C but to manage each phase or stage, we need the second dimension.
Before we show the big picture, let us emphasize a vital point. For the effective management of every phase of the project, we need a set of processes. PMI and ISO offer us the concept of process groups, which we modified and expanded it for the CAMMP methodological approach. Figure 6 (this second image) presents the set of processes to manage a stage or a phase, as modified by SUKAD.
Now, it is time to integrate the first two dimensions, which is the focus of Figure 7 (this third image).
What this image shows, is that in every phase, these set of processes repeat. Keep in mind that CAMMP use the term process to represent a set of process steps that are necessary to accomplish a process deliverable, such as a stage authorization document or a stage management plan[ii].
Volume 4 will provide more coverage of the second dimension.
The Third Dimension
A quick refresher first.
We stated that the first dimension can be used on its own (without the second dimension) for basic or small projects.
We also stated that as project grow in size, complexity, or number of resources and people required, we need the second dimension.
Integrating the two dimensions, the PLC help the project management team manage the project concept to closure, across the stages, whereas the processes help the PMT in managing each phase (or stage) of the project.
Wonderful, then what is the third dimension for?
The essential view of the third dimension
Unfortunately, we do not have a graphical representation for this since it is not like the first two dimensions; not a specific step or a stage or a process. The third dimension consists of layers, layers that organizations could implement along (and on top of) the project life cycle and the processes. These layers are what help organizations move from a fundamental methodological approach and transform it into a highly sophisticated and robust system that will enable and empower them to seek excellence.
In other words, whether you are managing a small or a mega project, a technology or a marketing project, in for-profit or not-for-profit organization, we need to apply some, if not all of the topics of the third dimension. This would be necessary, if organizations and teams want to elevate their projects and organizational performance to outstanding levels.
More on the third dimension
Organizations must ensure the competence of those working on projects. The competence would have to be appropriate to the type, domain, or class of the project. Competence is one of the advanced topics of the third dimension.
Along with competence, organizations cannot elevate performance without assessing the success of the projects they complete. We do have a project success model that we incorporate with CAMMP but it can also be used for other methodological approaches.
In addition to competence and project success, we address sustainability and best practices as the other two advanced topics to help organizations reach higher level of project management maturity.
Volume 4 will provide more coverage of the third dimension and its advanced topics.
As we continue to work on our next online adventure, How to apply the PMBOK(r) Guide in the real world, we decided to give you a glimpse, a sneak peek into what is coming and in applying the PMBOK Guide.
Applying the PMBOK Guide
Here we share a part of Learning Goal 4. We are sharing three learning missions, including one on tailoring. Click on the image to access, you will need to register on the PM Quest site. You can claim 2 PDU for completing this Sneak Peek.
We believe that our approach in this online course will challenge the thinking of many professionals and PMPs. What we include in this sneak peek, is an example of our approach, including a substantial discussion on tailoring and some of the common misunderstandings on tailoring.
By the way, the information that we present includes a blend of text, images, audio messages, and videos.
Do we execute or manage projects? Maybe we should be more direct and ask: do we kill projects or lead projects to success? We need to enhance our view and understanding of project management and project life cycle. Continue reading →
Do you think there are IT Projects or Construction Projects? We will start with a statement that might shock some people, we do not think there are IT projects or construction projects. Switching the words, IT Projects do not exist, almost. Construction Projects do not exist, almost.
We are willing to bet that the majority of readers will be choking or laughing now, or think I have lost it. Maybe, but I think I am still sane so humor me. Continue reading →