Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Agile, Change Management, IT Project Management
Project Management in a Wild West environment
Network:302



Just curious on who experienced a Wild West environment with no standards or guidelines. Basically no PMO In place for law and order. The directive is to achieve outcomes any way you can get it.
Sort By:
Network:4435



Yes, functional organizations. Well, they have standards and guidelines, but not so much in the project management governance area.
Network:1337



That is not a Wild West environment. Organizations always do things using a method to do them. Organizations do not need a PMO. Organizations do not need to follow standards. Are the organization solving the organizational problems right now? That is the question to do. Use of standards, creating a PMO must be components of a solution to an organizational problem. If not there is no reason to exists because they will not add value.
Network:297



Drake,

As a consultant, I have often been called in to address the type of Wild West situation you describe. The first steps I take depend on the degree of support Senior Management is providing for project management, and the willingness of the organization as a whole to embrace it.
Generally, I'll first prove project management's efficacy by implementing it with a single project or department. I use network diagrams, project dashboards and other means to show how easy it is for different types of stakeholders to understand a project’s progress, its risks, who is responsible for what tasks and when they’re due, etc. (I tailor this presentation to the needs of the organization). Once employees and especially Managers see how project management can benefit them, they usually push to adopt, for various reasons. Some Managers want to improve their bottom line, while others don’t want their rival Managers to gain an advantage over them. It’s amusing to see Managers who vehemently denounced project management as a waste of time just a few weeks previously ask when it will be implemented in their departments.
Network:240



Drake -

This is a pretty common situation in those organizations where projects succeed because of heroics or individual expertise rather than a repeatable set of processes and standards. As project complexity or the size of their portfolio increases, either proactively (someone has the foresight) or reactively (they experience some failures) they realize they need to improve their organizational project management maturity. Some will then go about it appropriately while others might take the knee jerk reaction of setting up a PMO without really understanding what they are getting in to.

Kiron
Network:400



In any startup company we have what your call "Wild West". Producing results is much more important than to use documented processes (for project management or any other process). The outcome of the project is more important than the project documents.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Competent people can make reasonable decisions and create a simple, undocumented but working process. When this is done in a good way it is much more motivating than many of the PMO driven processes that are heavy on project documentation. Many of the agile methodologies and tools like information radiators help to create order without stifling creativity and motivation.

Naturally the "Wild West" can be both positive and negative. Positive if it gives lots of freedom, creativity and motivation. Negative if it demands endless heroics leading to burn-outs.
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Nov 11, 2017 6:06 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
What you stated is critical to understand. To be successful when implementing things like "formal" process the key is to understand the phase inside the company life cycle. If you are in the growing phase forget about to implement some kind of formal process. Why? Because the focus is to get money to growth and develop. Your comment is great because most of the people forget that and then fail.
Network:1337



Nov 11, 2017 4:16 PM
Replying to Tom Björkholm
...
In any startup company we have what your call "Wild West". Producing results is much more important than to use documented processes (for project management or any other process). The outcome of the project is more important than the project documents.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Competent people can make reasonable decisions and create a simple, undocumented but working process. When this is done in a good way it is much more motivating than many of the PMO driven processes that are heavy on project documentation. Many of the agile methodologies and tools like information radiators help to create order without stifling creativity and motivation.

Naturally the "Wild West" can be both positive and negative. Positive if it gives lots of freedom, creativity and motivation. Negative if it demands endless heroics leading to burn-outs.
What you stated is critical to understand. To be successful when implementing things like "formal" process the key is to understand the phase inside the company life cycle. If you are in the growing phase forget about to implement some kind of formal process. Why? Because the focus is to get money to growth and develop. Your comment is great because most of the people forget that and then fail.
Network:302



Thanks everyone for the great input.

The problem is in a mature organization with teams needing their hands held all the time to make sure they hitt their deadlines. The cycle keeps repeating while managers and supervisors still do not see the value in Project Management to control the "Wild West" environment to help their staff stay on course to meet deadlines.
Network:1337



Drake: "no pain, no gain". Nobody will perceive the value if they do not see that something is helping them to solve a problem. To put this on something practical that could help to others here my personal experience. For years (including today) my duty is to demonstrate the value of project/program/portfolio management. My driver is "people must feel they are more rich by using project management than without using it" where rich is not about more money only. Here comes the first tool: stakeholder management process. You have to know about your stakeholder as much information as you can. With that said, I use a method that is a selling method named "Solution Selling" or SPIN Selling. I am not a seller but because my work position in other companies I was trained on them Them helps me a lot. At the top of all this is what @Tom stated above: the phase the organization is located into the company life cycle. That will help to adjust your strategy about that matter.

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

- Berlioz

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors