Talk of PPM, PMO and All Things Project

Welcome to this blog!

I hope to provide you with informational nuggets from my learnings and the successes/failures I have had in all things 'project'. I have worked across many industries and many cultures/countries, so most of my summarizations can be considered 'universal'.

Please send me an email if you have any special area of interest that you would like me to write on. If I can I will, if not, I will research and promise to send someone your way who can be of help.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How detailed a process do you need to govern well?

When it comes to executing projects, there are several levels of maturity that an organization or department or business unit can be at. Interestingly, I have found that no two managers see the maturity of an organization in the same way. That is because the "level of maturity" is judged by different people on different dimensions - managers differ on which aspects are more important in evaluation of maturity. Some examples of relevant dimensions in judging maturity are:
- areas and details of metrics captured and used (for example, do you capture how much is being spent on video conferencing charges versus travel charges)
- rationalized gating process through the projects
- well-concieved templates and widespread coverage of these
- comprehensiveness of checklists
- process design nimble enough to capture good stakeholder participation (a major cause of project failure)
- co-existence of good agile methodologies
- continuous improvement through methodical implementation of best practices
- maturity of process for handling risks
and so on.

Regardless, of where a manager judges his organization to be, there are some tested and acknowledged ways of judging maturity. Of these CMMI (Capability Maturity Model)is probably the best known and most widely used guage of maturity. PMI has advocated OPM3, ISO has SPICE, and there are several BPMMs (Business Process Maturity Models) which dictate processes for project execution. My opinion is that going through the exercise of formal evaluation of an entire organization lends little value to understanding what needs to be done to achieve sucsess consistently at the business unit level.

Having said all of this, let me summarize:
(a) there is no consistent way of judging how streamlined an individual unit's processes are
(b) various units within the same corporation can be at different levels of maturity
(c) a unit may be at different levels of maturity on different dimensions
(d) the details of the processes needed to govern well should be tailored to the dimension, the unit and the organization's environmental needs.

While a one-size-fits-all governance model may sound great for uniformity and consistency, it may be too light to have real impact in some units, emphasize the wrong dimensions in others while ignoring the right ones or may be too onerous to keep agility in yet other situations.

I recommend that business units need to take considerable time to define their critical survival and success factors and then tailor process/governane to suit a program of continuous improvement on those factors.

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