By Dan Divinski with contributions from Will Cooper and Maelyn Wisch

Project Management: Building a Project Management Competency

Make a difference by building a center of excellence with project management as a competency.

As indicated in our last article, “Project Management: Utilizing a Reactive Methodology” a project can be recovered before it is canceled and labeled as a total loss with the proper approach. But how do we increase the probability of project management success within an enterprise? By implementing a project management competency for effective risk mitigation, resourcing, and time management.

Develop a Project Management Competency to Meet Goals and Objectives

First, let’s determine the essential items needed to create project management competency to meet the goals and objectives.  It comes down to three things: developing high-performing leaders, targeting the business value first, and driving a culture that produces results. Breaking down these items further:

  • When developing high-performing leaders, the project managers should be principle-based, focused on the best practices for scaled implementation, and capable of handling multiple initiatives as a shared resource. At best, this leader should be able to plan, organize, assess, and monitor the management of projects.
  • Focusing on business value first and foremost is achievable when based on the project implementation within scope, cost, quality, and schedule.
  • Accountability, support, respect, trust, and overall celebration of team success together help create a project management culture.

Next Steps for Project Management Competency

Start by building out the resource structure with the senior leadership sponsor and senior program managers’ hiring, onboarding, mentoring, and coaching of the project managers.  Next, develop a training camp based on essential project manager competencies.  Those include executing project integration processes coupled with other foundational activities, driving the creation of process artifacts, and focusing all team members through achievement.

Outcomes of a Project Management Competency

All stakeholders understand the rationale for the project that is based on business goals, benefits, and value that aligns with stakeholder accountabilities and responsibilities.  Team member progress is directed through integrated project plans tying together all parts: first, program initiation, second, program management plan development, and third, program infrastructure development (PMBOK®).  All teams will share the lessons learned and the knowledge gained through these experiences.

Measuring the Effectiveness of a Project Management Competency

Results are the bottom-line for building a project management competency.  If the project delivery success rate is increasing, and the number of failed projects is declining while the turnaround rate is also increasing, then the stakeholder buy-in is strong and constant.  Together these results mean that the applied project management competency is successful and effective.

In Summary

Stakeholders Buy-in

Without stakeholders’ buy-in, a project cannot be successful. Understanding stakeholders’ priorities through the use of active listening is the key to developing relationships. There also needs to be engagement, open communication, mutual trust, and respect. Buy-in leads to ownership of the effective and efficient delivery of the project. Effective delivery includes specific activities required to enable adjusting and aligning behaviors and taking actions towards the targeted and desired business value outcomes.

Proactive Methodology

Proactive project management methodology should be used from day one as it avoids failure and sets up a project for the best possible chance of success. Each project has an active sponsor with a strong business case defining the value as listed on the realization schedule. Project plans are structured for scope, cost, quality, schedule, and value. Monitoring and managing the progress of tasks are performed through frequent and consistent check-ins with teams. Weekly and monthly status reports are created to inform the executives, stakeholders, and other leaders of updates. Daily communication on progress maintains stakeholder engagement.

Reactive Methodology

Failing projects can be recovered before they are canceled. Recovery must be executed consistently and with repeatable processes. Start with confirming senior leadership’s commitment. Then conduct an assessment with analysis on all project aspects: resources, deliverables, and project variables. Report and share these results along with resolution options. Complete the re-plan and restart of the project. Finally, drive to a successful implementation.

Real Project Management Competency Success is About Developing the Right People

Success always starts and ends with a great team.  Build your project management competency with a highly skilled and energetic project manager.  Leaders that learn quickly through their onboarding, orientation, and applied mentoring are the ideal candidates.  They always produce the best outcome by adapting, aligning the project processes with the goals and benefits toward achieving the business value.


A Note from the Author

My professional goal is to improve the overall success rate of projects. Proactive Project Management (Pro-PM) results in successful projects by gaining stakeholder buy-in through strategic vision, effective communication, deliberate planning methodology, and building effective teams. With over 30 years of experience in the system integrations consulting industry, I have recovered failing projects for a multitude of clients ranging from manufacturing all the way to travel and hospitality. Currently, I work with Blackstone and Cullen (a local consultancy) that has a culture of “do it right, get it done.” My professional background includes working as a program manager for a big five consulting firm and as a major global system integrator.

Authors


Dan Divinski
Principal at Blackstone+Cullen
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With contributions from Will Cooper and Maelyn Wisch.