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OUTSIDE THE BOX Forum: A Hyper-Performance End State

A hyper-performance end state is an end state that can be visualized but probably never attained.

It is an ideal state. But it can be worked towards. It has four components:

  • A Hybrid Project Management Framework. This is a three-phase framework including Ideation, Set-Up and Execution Phases. It includes a feedback loop from the Client Checkpoint Step at the end of each cycle during Execution that goes back to the Set-Up Phase to review progress against plan and decide if the HPM Framework needs to be reinstituted for further revision. The Framework present unique PMLC Models for every project. That suggests that a continuous process improvement program should be implemented along with every project.
  • An Enterprise-wide Project Support Office (PSO). The PSO is the bedrock of a hyper-performance project management environment. The PSO is supportive whereas the PMO will have been more focused on compliance enforcement. The PMO is the first attempt at an office to establish standards and an enforcement process to assure standards compliance. Support to meeting these and other project needs was added later. The PSO is a new office. Its focus is support as requested by project teams and their managers. It aligns to the standards for support but not compliance.
  • A Complex Project Management Position Family. The project management position family defines the staffing resource for projects. A Project Management Position Family is needed across all positions involved with projects. The range is from task member to project director level. It includes non-professional position, professional positions, managerial positions, consultant positions, and executive level positions.
  • A Career & Professional Development Program. Achieving a hyper-performance project management environment requires not only an appropriately skilled cadre of project managers but also one that aligns with the long-term demand for such skilled personnel. These personnel are developed in-house rather than hired from the outside. Long term projections of inventories of staffing numbers can be calculated for planning projects, programs, and portfolios staffing requirements.

We will discuss each of these in detail in the following four articles. This article introduces the end state. A hyper-performance end state is an ideal environment but a goal worth working towards. It may never be realized but that doesn’t change its desirability as a valid goal. This article is a five-part article which describes the hyper-performance end state and the four components that define it. It is well worth the effort to read what it looks like and to consider implementing one.

Introduction to a Hyper-Performance End State

Implementing a hyper-performance environment and culture in an organization is not a plug-and-play exercise. The conditions can be implemented but the result is not guaranteed. It is not only subjective but is also a characteristic of an individual project rather than an environmental feature. Implementing an HPM Framework with a hyper-performance configuration can range from a non-event to a major cultural upheaval often burdened by several obstacles and resistances. It all depends on the current state of project management processes and practices in your organization, how risk-averse and change-averse a culture is in place, and what vision is held of the end state of project management. Before you jump into the fray with a textbook version of a plan you need to understand and appreciate these complicating factors.
In this article we will help you explore the realities of implementing an HPM Framework and offer a practical implementation plan for your use. In this article we build a model and a portfolio of tools, templates and processes for the successful management of complex projects and the delivery of business value. In effect we will build a plan for transforming your organization into this reality.
The HPM Framework is the operating project management process for a hyper-performance end state. It is a robust framework that can be adapted to any project. That adaptation occurs in three stages. The First Stage is an Ideation Phase to define the end state. The Second Stage is a Set-Up Phase to design a PMLC specific to the unique needs of the project. The Third Stage is an Execution Phase. It is quite similar to the execution phase of a TPM with one exception. That is the inclusion of a Client Checkpoint that occurs as the final task in a cycle. It may refer you back to the Set-Up Phase for adjustment of the PMLC Model for the future cycles.

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Recognize that hyper-performance is more attitudinal and behavioral than a condition that exists or state of being that has been put in place.

Understand that the organization can only set the conditions that support hyper-performance and then let what happens happen.

This article presents a deliberate process for migrating from whatever is the current project management framework in your organization to a desired end state for managing complex projects. The transition process is not a fixed recipe but rather is unique to every organization but always includes the following steps:

  1. Understanding the current state of project management processes and practices
  2. Envisioning the desired end state for project management processes and practices
  3. Formulating the transition plan to move the organization from its current state to its desired end state
    1. Define the organization’s ECPM Framework
    2. Establish a continuous process improvement program
    3. Plan the transition
    4. Implement the transition

The first two steps are data collection and definition steps. These steps define the “as is” and “to be” states. The hinge pin is the third step – the “how to step” which is an outline of a comprehensive plan for establishing a hyper-performance environment for project management. Every organization will have to complete these steps specific to their organization and make this transition sooner or later. Some have already done so, but many are mired in the confusion and need outside help. For those with a long history of practicing traditional TPM, evolving to an APM and xPM environment will probably seem chaotic and uncontrolled. The complex project mindset is very different than the traditional mindset and some project management practices will have to be relearned. Other practices will have to be learned for the first time. For those who are new to project management, they have an opportunity to form robust practices right from the get go. Whichever situation you find yourself in, the transition will be a daunting one, and its impact on the organization will be significant.

Every ECPM instantiation and implementation is a unique journey.

The desired end state project management environment must be a robust environment. It must include a vetted portfolio of tools, templates, and processes to support every type of project the organization can expect to encounter. That includes the TPM processes that might be in current use. Your TPM processes and practices will probably remain intact. So the transition adds or refines project management methodologies rather than replacing them. The transition also includes new processes that integrate all of the project management methodologies that result from the transition. The robustness of the final project management environment comes from the fact that the specific project management approach you use for a given project is derived from the project characteristics itself rather than any preordained “management recipe.” Project management is reduced to “organized common sense” rather than to pre-specified recipes. In other words, just as projects are unique, so is the best-fit management process for each of those projects. While all of this may sound like a lofty goal, such an environment can exist and must exist. It is the gateway to a hyper-performance environment. We have had the opportunity to work with several clients to help them create their robust environments. On balance ECPM works and it has proven that it works.
Given that projects are rapidly evolving to a state characterized by increasing complexity and uncertainty, project management processes and practices must also evolve to remain effective in that evolved state. If this is obvious to your organization and it has decided to make the transition, I congratulate you for that decision. You have made a courageous step in the right direction. But also understand that, even if done correctly, the transition will be anything but easy. It will require a new mindset about project planning and management, the nature of projects, and how to achieve the expected business value that justified doing the project in the first place. This chapter explores the best strategy I can offer for making that transition. The strategy is a cautious strategy one that is based on deliberate planning and execution. Above all else, this strategy minimizes the risk and disruptive nature of the pending organizational changes as much as possible. The velocity and extent of change is driven by the organization’s culture rather than by any timed schedule of events. That is important to every transition to an ECPM Framework. In the end, the transition must be an evolutionary transition and a good fit culturally.


A hyper-performance end state is one whose performance exceeds all levels one would expect of an end state. It rarely has occurred. In fact, it is a performance goal that can only be worked towards but never reached. There is only one enabler of hyper-performance – a continuous process improvement program. And the metrics that measure that progress are performance and business value based. We have anchored that performance in the Declaration of Interdependence (DOI) and the IRACIS.

The execution of that continuous process improvement program falls entirely within the scope of responsibility of the Project Support Office (PSO). Its goal is that hyper-performance and should be the sole measure of its effectiveness. 

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