Organizational PM: Dream or Reality?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

Organizations do projects. Organizations hire project managers. Organizations acquire project management software. Organizations create Project Management Offices. In short, organizations do a lot to implement what is viewed as project management. But do organizations have an organizational project management capability?

To understand whether we do or not, we have to understand what this actually means. We have to explore where organizations are today--and we have to evaluate how close we actually are to the attainment of this goal.

To start with meaning, what is it that we actually mean by the concept of “organizational PM”? For many, this reflects the idea that when you approach an organization to manage a project, they will do so in a well-defined, consistent and standard fashion. In other words, go to this organization and this is the kind of project you will get. It’s not dependent upon the individual project manager who is assigned; the approach to project management transcends the person and is universally applied within the organization.

There are a lot of implications here that are important to understand. One of the fundamental and essential points here is that organizations don’t manage projects, people do. So if there is to be an organizational approach in place, that means that each person adopts, embraces and utilizes that …

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"We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away."

- ChuangTzu

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