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Implementing PM in my company

By kwheatley ·
We do projects for both current clients & new. Up to this point we typically find out what the clients needs are (a brief summary) and then we quote them a solution based on similar projects we have done in the past and any details sales may pull from the initial contact. (shoot from the hip kind of deal)

I recently went to project management training/boot camp. I've done project management to an extent for various companies I've worked for in the past. My next personal/professional goal is to implement a project management methodology within my company. I have full cooperation with management which makes it easier. My problem is trying to figure out how much change we can endure during each phase without having my co-workers object or revert back to past methods. Its very important to me that I do this right.

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Setting expectations

by JamesRL In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

I've been in the position where I came from a company that had a long established(25 Years) project management methodology. I left that company, and so did some of my managers. One of them ended up at a company without a formal methodology and they asked me to come on board and implement the previous companies methodology.

What a rude awakening.

I thought we'd hold a series of meetings, explain what we are doing, have a pilot project and gradually advance the cause.

What I learned was that this is a cultural change, more than a policy or process change.

It will take years to make a new methdology stick.

The idea of a boot camp - I'm of two minds. Perhaps think of an introduction first, followed up in 6 months - a year by something more detailled.

I might suggest breaking down your goals - start with say, Project initiation, and formalizing it. Fix things, one at a time, and give it some time to achieve some successes before moving on to the next. Evolution, not revolution, is the way to implement lasting change.

Expect resistence. Expect apathy. Expect NIH.

Full co-operation from management is much easier than engaging the PM practishioners in creative dialogue. This requires marketing, clear and consistant communications, and a certain amount of flexibility. I would approach this by trying to set the expectations of management perhaps a little lower than your personal hopes.

Good luck.

James

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I agree and add

by ProjManager In reply to Setting expectations

One of the key issues is adopting a methodology that is right for your type of projects. Hardware or software installations are simple and just require some detailed planning. Software development is a big fish to fry. Then, get the right tools, perhaps MS Project or other PM tools that help people do the job. Develop some templates for similiar projects so people don't have to reinvent the wheel and you'll find a big reward. Maybe the last thing is manage to deliverables. Don't try to get every insignificant task on the chart. Put significant work, milestones to mark where you are and the deliverable that should be completed. When you roll it all up, you should be able to see just the list of deliverables and milestone dates. Then everyone can see what they need from the same project files.

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James nailed it for this

by j.lupo In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

This is about cultural change. It is great that you have management onboard. My suggestion in addition to what James had to say would be to get others involved as part of a "task force" or whatever name you want to come up with, to help implement it.

I find I encourage change by including people. When they have a say in the change, they sometimes will be more likely to be behind it. You want representatives from the respecitve areas that will be influenced by the new policies, practices, etc.

Now keep in mind, this means users, developers, tech writers, support, and so on. You need to pull them all together into the group that will assist you in your change goal. You will also get a better picture as to how they are used to doing things, why they do them that way, and what the roadblocks you may encounter are. Knowing that will allow you to formulate a success course.

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Promote the Benefits

by Jerry Pett In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

Clearly you have a challenge on your hands. However in my experience, introducing any change need not be that difficult if you can ensure all stakeholders are fully aware of the benefits. Ultimately, the vast majority of people genuinely do want to do a good job and if they can understand how new techniques and methods will help them they will normally approach change with the right attitude.

At the outset of specific new projects I would get the team together and explain the PJM principles you would like to use to define and manage the project. In response the horror and protests you will no doubt receive you can discuss the benefits of proper PJM as applied to that project. I am of course presuming you can identify these ;-)

As you state in your question, having got initial buy in, keeping everyone on track is alot harder! However restressing the benefits, rewarding positive behaviour, and gently highlighting negative behaviour are the only ways that I find really work. This is hardly rocket science I know, but it is in my view the best approach.

I hope this helps you, and good luck.

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You have a tough row to hoe

by mlefcowitz In reply to Promote the Benefits

All that has been said about the importance of cultural change, I second.

Projects succeed or fail because of people, not technology or process; they just make it easier once you get people working toward a common goal.

Before you start changing things; figure out if your organization is truely ready for it. It is a good bet that it isn't and it doesn't know the right questions to ask to get an idea when it will be.

Frankly, PM boot canp is not going to help you. I would suggest bringing on a Sr. consultant to show you the ropes for 6 - 12 months, and give you an analysis of the best way to proceed.

Around 71% of all projects fail to meet cost, schedule or performance criteria. Do you want to be one of them.

Mark Lefcowitz. PMP, CGB

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In addition to promoting the benefits

by deanwarman In reply to Promote the Benefits

I agree with Jerry. In my experience, in order to get the stakeholders to buy-in or own the change, if's best if you can to get the stakeholders to articulate:
* the dangers of continuing to do things as is (create sense of urgency, reduce "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset)
* the benefits they see to bringing in a new system (also helps determine some requirements, invests them in the to-be systems/processes)
* the barriers to developing and implementing the new solution
* ways to mitigate the barriers

A good way to do this is to solicit info in private and present in public - in a forum/workshop where you can continue to develop the articulations.

This will also help you to identify allies, fence-sitters and blockers, so that you can start aligning/mitigating/neutralizing.

Also agree with some of the earlier posters in that it's OK to dream big, but more likely to take hold if you execute piece by piece and build on successes. Look for some 'quick wins'.

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Link to Performance Management

by s.day In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

I think I might consider trying to the link the project management to personal Performance management. Try and get this to include personal development: training so there are clear benefits for the employee.

My view of project management is that it is common sense; it is a sophisticated "to do" list which we all need to keep when things get hectic.

I have worked in a similar situation to you KW but I'm now in Higher Education trying to push project management upwards which is hard(although it is being pushed down too).

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Dear Colleague,

by keith.j.kunz In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

Managing projects is part science and part art. It's a lot like playing the piano. It takes a lot of experience and hard work before you can expect to get it right. Force yourself never to make estimates until a reasonable percentage of the tasks have actually been completed. Try to divide projects into more digestable (and achievable) milestones. Stay close to your people in the trenches. Be there in the trenches with them often enough and long enough to know how they are really doing, what their struggles are and whether they are sandbagging or flying high. Remember, the last ten percent of almost every project takes as long as costs as much as the first ninety percent. It's a lot like starting a business over and over in that it costs twice and much and takes twice as long as you, in your best judgment, initially estimated.

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Improving the past experience

by jocelyn.boyer In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

If the organisation had some success in the past it certainly has some kind of method. Now what I did was to link the best of that past methodology to the more structure PM approach.
I found quite a bit of similarity that wasn't necessarily properly set. So every time I was promoting the new PM I always associated to either a bad past experience to help them to live better or a successful one (requiring them to be hero). So people didn't felt to be in the obscure world and couldn't agreed more to improve their own practice and live easier.
Remember that usually a change management require addressing more the feeling that the end result. Once you manage the first one you can set the other. I read the title of other comments and I suggest you also do not involve yourself too personally by using as they say Performance issues, deliverable and timeline schedule. So with those client and external goals (not yours) you can set objective (as already shown in other).

Remember Hero method sometime goes to Zero result. You must keep focus and because everyone goes to square one, you must help everyone to pick its own lather and maybe help them to climb but not push/pull them to do so (they are too weighty).
Regards and good luck.

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Introductions to PM, use the PMBOK

by lisa.d.coleman In reply to Implementing PM in my com ...

The company I work for approached the training like this, once a month for 9 months on a Thurs, Fri, Sat. 8-5 a class was held featuring 1 section of the PMBOK. We used the University of California but you do this other ways, as long as you have access to local experts, I think you'd be okay. I've since passed the PMP test. It was tedious and painful, and the required Sat. was a pain, but it gave us the exposure we needed to the concepts and terminology, without overloading. This was an excellent way to get the employees oriented. The first hurdle in my opinion is getting every one up to speed on the terminology. Then after the initial training setup a maintenance schedule of classes feature one aspect say quarterly to reinforce learning. I'm not sure that boot camp is gives you enough exposure to teach.

~Good Luck.

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