Managing portfolio’s, programs and projects… it’s all about people!

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Every company or organization we support, every program or project we coach and whatever the specifics of their environment: the quality of managing portfolio’s, programs and projects ALWAYS depends on the people behind them. Is this a surprise? For ourselves not at all, but apparently so for 95% of the organizations where we identify projects in trouble… What can go wrong then? By far, the idea of project management as a standard framework that can be applied ‘off the shelf’, already leads to an important number of mishaps…

Every method, whether based on Prince2 or PMBOK, needs to be tuned to the characteristics of its environment and the maturity of the organization where it is applied. Management should be aware of this… Quod non. Reality is in some cases even worse: not ‘one’ method is used, but methods seem to differentiate between departments…

A clear and well defined portfolio- and project management method, tailored to your specific needs, is a first requirement. Secondly, once the ‘applied’ method – the one, ‘tailored-to-your-needs’ – with its rules, practices and governance-aspects, has been defined, it should be practiced – rigorously – by everyone involved… and – once again – actively and continuously supported by the management team. If the people at the top are not behind and are not taking advantage of every opportunity to support the usage of that one-and-only company-wide project management method, the results will stay sub-optimal…! The best way to do this is, is by rewarding proper usage and letting your people embrace your project management method. From top to bottom, everyone should live by the standards you have set, respect the project-governance. Projects will never fail again, the way they did before!

Conclusion? For your organization, the  question is not which method, neither whether ‘some’ or ‘everyone concerned’ should apply your PM-method. It is ‘everyone’, and everyone homogeneously, consciously and with discipline. But again, reward this behavior. When people ‘love’ and embrace project management it will become part of your company culture. Good portfolio- and project management is a mixture of transparency, mutual support, responsibility and freedom… Lived like that, everyone will enjoy and take advantage of its results!

Peter

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