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Implementing Project Management Practices

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2016.14.7

Include OCM Techniques When Implementing Project Management Practices

Most organizations do not follow a consistent project management methodology of any kind. So, how do you proceed with an initiative to introduce project management within an organization? The key to a project like this is to recognize that a project management initiative requires project managers to do things differently. It requires them to manage larger projects more proactively, more consistently and more rigorously. It also requires different behaviors of the people who work on projects and the people who are the stakeholders of the project.

Because we are trying to change the way people do their jobs, this type of effort is known as an organizational change management initiative. It is all about trying to change the culture. Driving culture change requires a lot more than simply teaching new skills, although training certainly plays a part. You must evaluate various aspects of the organization that drive behaviors. Processes that drive good project management behaviors need to be reinforced. Processes that are barriers to good project management behaviors need to be changed or eliminated. Resistance to the change must be accounted for and expected. It must also be overcome.

The success criteria for implementing project management include the following.

$1·        Stakeholder management. In any culture change initiative, it is important to recognize the various stakeholder groups that are impacted. You should then perform stakeholder analysis to understand their interest, power and motivation. You can use this information to create a stakeholder management plan that allows you to engage stakeholders based on their specific characteristics.  

·        A multi-faceted approach. Recognize that implementation is more than just introducing some new templates and initial training. It requires a multi-faceted approach that includes long-term communication, a common methodology, training for all stakeholders (project managers, team members and managers), coaching services, repository management, etc.

·        A long-term commitment. You must have long-term staying power. It is likely that the project management initiative will take at least a year for a small organization and 3-5 years for a larger one.

·        Strong sponsorship. You have to have strong, stable sponsorship. At a company I worked at previously, the project management initiative was sponsored by the CIO. However, the CIO was replaced and the new CIO did not share the passion for project management. The entire initiative was cancelled before the culture change could be fully adopted.

·        Manage as a project. The project management implementation work must be planned and managed as a project. This will help ensure that the work is scheduled, budgeted, coordinated, etc.

·        A scalable model. Implement the new processes in a scalable manner. In other words, do not require a lot of overhead for small projects, while at the same time you need to make sure that there is much more rigor and structure for large projects. Over-applying mandatory project management processes on smaller projects is a common reason that the culture change is not adopted in an organization.

Deploying project management processes and building project management capability in the organization requires much more than simply training the staff and then walking away. You need a holistic and multi-faceted plan to engage the stakeholders effectively so that the change can be adopted and utilized long term. 
At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at
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