Three First Steps to Deploy Project Management Practices

There are likely approximately as numerous best practices as there are project managers in the world. However, there are certainly a few “foundation” project management practices that most will agree fit the list.

“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Three First Steps to Deploy Project Management Practices":

Project management methodology is a framework that allows project managers to successfully manage projects of varying sizes. Many organizations do not follow a formal, consistent methodology of any kind. How do you start with an initiative to introduce project management practices within an organization?

From a project management perspective you would probably start the project by identifying stakeholders and formally planning the initiative. But let's assume that work is done. Where do we start in the actual work associated with this type of culture change?

Step 1. Current State Assessment

When you are planning to change organization behavior it is usually good to understand the current state. This gives you the perspective and baseline to understand what needs to change. The Current State Assessment looks at project management practices, enablers, barriers, roles and responsibilities, tools, skill levels, portfolio processes, etc. You can uncover the nature of the current state through a formal assessment. The assessment could involve talking to many people in the organization and reviewing evidence from current projects. The assessment could also be as simple as a workshop discussion with a cross-section of staff members that can form a consensus of the current state.

Step 2. Define the More Desired Future State

While you are looking at the current environment, you also need to ask what the future vision would look like. This is usually not so difficult in may areas. For instance, if the current state shows that project managers have weak skills, the future state will probably be that all project managers have a basic skill level, and perhaps a certification. Seeing the weaknesses of the current state will help paint a picture for the more desirable future state.

Step 3. Define the Gap Between the Current and the Future State

Many change initiatives start off by trying to define what the future vision looks like. However, describing the future state of project management in your organization is not the major deliverable at this point. The ultimate deliverable is a Gap Analysis that shows what you need to focus on to move the organization from where it is today to where you want it to be in the future. This is important because you do not want to spend your time implementing in areas where your organization already does well. At the same time, you don't want to implement a number of changes and still see your effort fail because you did not address other important areas as well.

Next Steps

Once you have the Gap Analysis, everything else flows from there. You can describe the work required to close the gaps, the resources needed, the priorities and timeframes, etc. You can also define the organizational change management components that are required to move to the organization to your future state. You now at a point where you can move forward with the deployment project.

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