Project Management

Consistency Just Might Be Overrated

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

An article of truth for most organizations in implementing project management is that consistency is important. It’s also a fundamental principle embedded within maturity models; they assess the rigor and consistency of management practices within organizations. A consistent practice, consistently applied, is an essential stepping stone to higher levels of maturity.

Why this is the case is correspondingly less obvious. It is built on an underlying assumption that better process delivers better results. While this is intuitively very appealing, there has been until recently comparatively little research evidence that demonstrates the impact of maturity on realizing value.

Findings of the Value of Project Management research project demonstrated that some organizations were able to realize significant tangible value with relatively immature practices. This was primarily amongst organizations in the business of selling project management services. Provided they operated in a market where there was overwhelming demand, there was money to be made regardless of the consistency and rigor of the practices employed.

A different picture emerged for organizations who implemented project management as an internal capability, however. Here, there was a measurable and demonstrable relationship between the maturity of practices employed and the level of value delivered. …

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"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true."

- Francis Bacon