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Out of the Box Forum: If It Doesn’t Make Sense , Why Do It?

At some point in the distant past the senior management team in virtually every organization requested the PMO to design a project management methodology to be used on all projects.

An admirable goal but it may not make any sense. Let me explain what I mean.

Related Article: Out of the Box Forum: Designg Project Management Methodologies is a Waste of Time

If you assume that all types of project structures have been defined, then it probably makes sense to define a single project management life cycle (PMLC) model that can be directly applied to the management of any project. The problem is the assumption is not valid. It may never have been valid. For certain types of projects, like home construction or training design it might apply, but these are a small portion of all possible projects. The contemporary project landscape is riddled with complex projects whose goals and or solutions are far from clearly defined. These are unique projects, and their PMLC Model may have to be defined as part of the process of executing the project.

Beyond the specifications of an organization’s PMLC Model, there is another concern that is at least as important as compliance to the PMLC Model. For some projects, certain required process requirements might not fit the project situation despite all efforts at designing a complete PMLC Model.

In fact, if such processes were included in the execution of a specific project, the result may be harmful or at least put the project in harm’s way. So the project manager is faced with a choice. Do the process and suffer the consequences to project performance or don’t do the process for your specific project and suffer the wrath of the sponsor, the client or your manager.

Other than deleting a process, they will have opportunities to revise existing processes for the project situation or even introduce new ones. The introduction of new processes requires a vetting process as a prerequisite to their use.

My suggestion is don’t do the process. But you better be ready to defend your decision. Someone will certainly take note and wonder why you did not comply. As complex project managers become more skilled at managing these unique situations, they will gain further creative skills and the credibility to make such decisions.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Have you ever been in such situation where you were asked to design a methodology that didn’t make sense? What happened?  

Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

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