Thursday, 03 July 2008 05:19

Implementing PM: It

Written by Wayne Brantley
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Implementing PM can be quite a challenge in any organization. There will be a need to put a lot of processes in place, there will be a lot of reporting, there will be training, there will be software implementation, and there will be a significant investment made. Senior leadership has to see a return on investment (ROI) for all of this. Showing an ROI will generate support for the effort. When you begin to sell project management in your organization, you need to be aware of whom the stakeholders are. A list of stakeholders and issues that you should consider are identified as follows:
  • To have a successful implementation you must have senior level buy-in. Get a C-level officer to sponsor the PMO or authorize the resources to be used for your project management initiative.
  • Consider the structure of your organization. Start with the organization chart. Break down the business units and get their leadership endorsements.
  • The workers in your organizations want to be successful. Offset resistance to PM by rolling out project management in as non-threatening a manner as possible. Let them learn the methodologies of project management – and terminology - before you throw out to many comments like; “get the WBS done, establish an EV measurement system, show me the IRR for the project”. The bottom-line is if they feel comfortable with what is asked of them, they will support your effort.


  • There are many ways to slice a loaf of bread. But from an organizational learning aspect – pick only one way. The Project Management Institute has the internationally accepted methodology for project management. The methodology described here follows the PMI’s PMBOK.


  • There are numerous project management software products on the market. You should select the one that interfaces best with your other software products and applications. You should also consider the size of the project. Some products are better suited for larger projects, while they may be overkill for smaller projects.


  • Developing a curriculum for project management should be done in parallel with establishing a methodology. The methodology cannot be implemented effectively without a training program. Deciding how much training, for whom, when and how are major concerns when making a training decision. Methodology that is proprietary and vendor specific should be avoided. The PM methodology from the Project Management Institute is methodology with the widest acceptance around the world. Look for training that supports the PMI methodology. Some initial questions that should be answered are as follows:
    • How many employees do you have to get trained?
    • Are they geographically dispersed?
    • Do they travel?
    • Do they need to get PMP certified?
    • Has a PM methodology been identified in your organization?
    • Do you have a budget for this training established?
  • These are questions that you should be prepared to answer before selecting a vendor. Do not under-train or over-train your workforce. Match the training they need to the jobs they will be performing. It is important to prepare the employee for their duties before they are in the position where they require the skills.
  • In order to communicate the methodology used for project management, we must train our workforce. This should include the following:
    • Sponsor training for senior management
    • Project management fundamental training
    • Extensive and specialized project management training
    • Advanced project management training
    • Program and portfolio management training
    • Tools and software training
  • Training will enhance the probability of success for the PM initiative. Start by removing the culture that fears the change or acquisition of a new method or tool. Do this by developing your workforce competency towards the new method or tool. As they learn they will develop confidence in their abilities to utilize the new knowledge and skills.

Maturing the Project Management Initiative

Organizations must not only say that they are implementing project management, they must embrace it. This is done through a commitment throughout the organization. The following issues must be focused upon in order to maximize the ROI for an organization’s investment in project management.

  • Senior level sponsorship
  • The PMO
  • Dedicated project management resources
  • PM methodology
  • Training
  • Systems and Software
  • Measures of PM performance

Senior Level Sponsorship

In order for any management methodology to be embraced the initiative must be endorsed and sponsored by a senior level executive. This can include the CEO, COO, CIO, or CFO as well as other senior level executives in an organization. The saying that it starts at the top is imperative to maximize the effectiveness of project management. With the C-level endorsement many an obstacle can be removed. This C-level endorsement will encourage other senior level executives in an organization to support the program. In addition, you will find funding for various resources to be greatly enhanced for your efforts with project management.


The PMO should be the focal point for an organization’s PM initiative. The leader of the PMO should report to either one of the following two options. First, the CIO or the appropriate department where the majority of projects reside. Second, and a better alternative, would the COO, so that they do not have a particular departmental function alignment. The PMO should be responsible for defining the methodology, tools and templates to be used, and oversee the PM training.

Dedicated Project Management Resources

Organizations must allow for resources to be used on projects either full-time or part-time. They can report under the PMO auspices or they can maintain their functional alignment. This will require resource utilization management, so that they are not over or under used. The probability is greater that they will be over utilized. Managing the proper amount of resources that should be allocated can be challenging. This will depend on the workload for the organization.

PM Methodology

The internationally accepted methodology for project management is from the PMI. This organization has been evolving the methodology for project management professionals since 1969. A testament to their global reach is seen in the sheer numbers of organizations that have endorsed their methodology and certification - PMP - and the number of international chapters and certified members.

The methodology that is selected must be standardized throughout the organization. Processes must be defined, documented, and communicated to all concerned. It is imperative to mature project management that project documentation be archived. From this archiving, lessons learned and best practices can be accomplished. We will explore this aspect more as we discuss how an organization can develop maturity.

Systems and Software

There will be an investment for systems and software to execute project management. The capability to share information and communicate is constantly and rapidly evolving. Data can be collected, stored, and accessed immediately anywhere by any member of your organization that you wish. Monitoring, control ,and tools are numerous that can help an organization plan, execute, monitor, and report project performance. These tools must be selected prudently and trained to enhance the success of the project management initiative.

Measures of PM Performance

At the very essences of project management is the project plan. If you do not have a plan you do not know where you are going or at the very least how you will get there. PM performance is based on comparing actuals against the plan. A challenge for many project managers is that they rarely know what an acceptable variance is. Projects will not come in as planned. Imagine a large IT project estimated at $58M and 18 months of effort. Do you agree that it is unacceptable that after 18 months the project will be completed and at a $58M budget? What is the project came in at 19 months and $61M; would this be considered a failure? It all depends, what was the acceptable variance? We truly cannot measure performance unless we know what an acceptable variance is. It is imperative to know this range in order to measure the performance for PM. Techniques such as variance analysis, earned value, BCA, and ROI are measures that we look to in order to determine project performance.

Project Management Maturity Model

Maturity models have become quite prevalent in last 20 years. The software engineering institute and Carnegie-Mellon developed a capability maturity model that was used to assess the maturity of processes used to develop software. The model identifies five levels of process maturity for an organization:

  1. Initial (chaotic, ad hoc, heroic) the starting point for use of a new process.
  2. Repeatable (project management, process discipline) the process is used repeatedly.
  3. Defined (institutionalized) the process is defined/confirmed as a standard business process.
  4. Managed (quantified) process management and measurement takes place.
  5. Optimizing (process improvement) process management includes deliberate process optimization/improvement.

There are many models with a great level of similarity to the CMM model have been developed over the last several years to assess maturity of project management in organizations. The PMI has led the way with their model called organizational project management maturity model or OPM3.

An organization needs to realize that they must pursue achievement of higher levels of maturity in these models in order to realize greater ROI for their investment in project management. Consider receiving fantastic training received by rave reviews, what good would this fine training be if not applied in earnest on ensuing projects? The benefits realized would be minimal. To truly see the benefits an organization must utilize the tools and techniques they are trained on in order to start towards higher levels of maturity.

Developing Maturity

Step 1. Level I – Initial

Analyzing what your organization is doing in project management. Figure XX identifies the tasks and activities that a project manager performs on projects. Use this to determine what is done at each the project management lifecycle.

Step 2. Level II – Repeatable

Assess the practice and methodology that your organization utilizes as they use project management. Are there tools or techniques they use to:

  • Select a project
  • Plan a project
  • Develop the product
  • Monitor and control the project
  • Close the project

Step 3. Level III – Defined

The following questions will be helpful in assessing if your organization has properly defined practices for project management. Have polices and procedures using the tools and techniques identified in step 2 developed? Is there training and information about how to use these tools and techniques?

Step 4. Level IV – Managed

The use of measurement tools for project performance must be utilized to develop baseline data for project performance. In addition variance management must be deployed to quantify project performance. An organization must define what is an acceptable variance for a project in regards to schedule and budget performance as compared to the project plan. Configuration management will be useful here to ensure that the expectations of stakeholders have been met. Stakeholder satisfaction is a challenge because it cannot be measured in time or cost units. Qualitative data will be valuable as you look to identify the satisfaction of stakeholder expectations.

Step 5. Level V – Optimized

Best practices must be identified in order for an organization to continuously improve what they are doing with project management. Perform a Phillips ROI impact study to determine the ROI for your initiative. ROI will be ultimate evaluation tool to compile the various qualitative and quantitative data needed to ensure that the best tools and techniques are realized to ensure maximum ROI. For more information on ROI please refer to

Wayne has taught and consulted project management, quality management, leadership, curriculum development, Internet course development, and return on investment around the world to Fortune 500 companies. He has over 26 years experience from the Air Force as a project manager for AF technology training and curriculum development programs. Wayne has developed numerous AF and corporate training programs, classroom, multimedia, and Internet based programs. A dynamic presenter and trainer, Wayne has spoken at numerous conferences such as; the Project Management Institute (PMI®), the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), and the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) annual conferences. Wayne is a doctoral candidate with Nova Southeastern University specializing in Computer Information Technology. Wayne is certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute, a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) by the American Society of Training and Development, and a Certified Return on Investment Professional (CRP) by the ROI Institute. Wayne is currently an adjunct faculty member at Villanova University.

Wayne Brantley, MS Ed, PMP, CRP, CPLP is the Senior Director of Professional Education for the University Alliance (
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