Project Management

Suit to Fit: How to Be a PM Tailor

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I was genuinely surprised when I first saw the new edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMI members can get a free copy of the PMBOK® Guide here). There were quite a few structural changes in how it was presented, but there was also a significant focus on the idea of changing project approaches to suit the environment those projects are being delivered in—PMI refers to it as tailoring. It’s a big part of the new guide and addresses multiple elements, including all of the performance domains.

I wasn’t expecting to see such an emphasis on tailoring, and I’m hopeful that this acknowledgement of the importance of the approach will result in more organizations embracing the idea that methodologies and techniques have to be tailored to circumstances. I’m also hopeful that there will be recognition that project managers need to be given a greater degree of autonomy to deliver that kind of tailored or nuanced approach to their projects.

Where to tailor
The PMBOK® Guide identifies a four-step approach with two distinct tailoring elements:

  1. Select initial development approach
  2. Tailor for organization
  3. Tailor for project
  4. Implement ongoing improvement

I want to focus on number three, because I think that’s the one where most improvement is needed. It’s fairly common for organizations to choose…


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