Project Management

Not Processing

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

Why do many would-be champions of process, from project managers to the executive ranks, seem to follow an ad hoc approach when it comes to their own responsibilities? In a new series on “making project management work,” editorial board member Mark Mullaly tackles the contradiction, and the reasons behind our resistance.

In most organizations, there is a gap between the project management that exists and the project management that is needed. This misalignment spreads right across the organization: the PMO, the project champion, the project managers, and the executives and sponsors who actually pay for the projects all hold different perspectives of the problem — and the required solution. Given the investment that many organizations are making in project management, we have to wonder what is causing this discrepancy. Is it a misalignment of expectations, or a misalignment of actions?
Looking objectively at what we want out of our projects, the expectations seem pretty clear. We want our projects to be successful. We want them to deliver the intended solution. We want our projects done on time and on budget. We want to get the payoff we expect from the investments we make. Given the consistency around our expectations, one would expect that we would see more successes than we do. The devil is in the details, however. While, at a high-enough level, expectations …

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"Weaseling out of things is good. It's what separates us from the other animals....except weasels."

- Homer Simpson