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Topics: Organizational Project Management, PMO, Strategy
Evolve a low maturity level in a non-projectized organization or hit your pinky toe at the edge of a table. Which one is less painful?



Imagine yourself leading a project. A huge project with a lot of money involved on it. Easy to picture, right?

Now, place yourself in a environment where, despite everybody calling you as project manager, you can't use the best practices as we know. By the way, you should start immediately a project because your boss want to (there is no sponsor figure) and the schedule must be created by you in two days (only by you because you can't have a team without a schedule to convince other leaders). And I almost forget: there is no templates, no historical records, no executive believe that "PMBoK works", no information system, and no career for project management.

Crazy? Don't worry! You may have a PMO figure to support you (a person that updates PowerPoint presentations).

How do you go from there to a coherent maturity level that your organization need to success in its market?
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Well. I got this challenge 4 years ago. Twice! First, creating and structuring a Digital Services PMO, and then to structure the business-to-business PMO based at the evolution with PMO Cube Maturity Model and the MMGP-Prado Model.

At both challenges, I had to evolve from a "2 - isolate initiatives" level to a "3 - standardized" level. The first one took me 1,5 year (5 project managers, 80 projects executing) and the last one took 2,5 years (120 project managers, 950 projects executing).

I would love to see different insights from this subject because my challenge now is to evolve my organization to the "4 - managed" level, and I am freaking out! (again!)

Thanks!



Paulo -

Change starts with vision. One hopes that this vision comes through shared learnings or the wisdom of senior leadership, but in most of the companies I've consulted with, it comes through pain. Either the pain of failed projects or the pain of being beaten up by more efficient and effective competitors (or both).

Without that, you won't get the sense of urgency needed to support meaningful improvements in organizational project management maturity.

Kiron
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1 reply by Paulo Gomes
Dec 20, 2017 2:28 AM
Paulo Gomes
...
Thanks Kiron!

I agree with you, specially about the senior leadership support.

The great problem at this scenario is that you need executive support to make the changes needed, but most of the times you can't find this support because a low level of maturity organization don't have yet consistent indicators that proves the benefits of a good project management, right?



One the plus side, Paulo, it is a lot easier to improve on something that is not very mature. You should pick easy, quick improvements to motivate and get support for the longer, complex initiatives.
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1 reply by Paulo Gomes
Dec 20, 2017 2:41 AM
Paulo Gomes
...
That is an awesome strategy Stéphane, thanks!

Having a roadmap of engagement evolution based on these quick improvements may be a positive way to break the initial inertia of the organization.

It will be hard to priorize few actions in a sea of opportunities of improvements that is a low maturity level organization, but I agree that your suggestion may be the great strategy at the maturity evolution plan in this case.

Thanks for the tips!



Dec 19, 2017 8:27 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Paulo -

Change starts with vision. One hopes that this vision comes through shared learnings or the wisdom of senior leadership, but in most of the companies I've consulted with, it comes through pain. Either the pain of failed projects or the pain of being beaten up by more efficient and effective competitors (or both).

Without that, you won't get the sense of urgency needed to support meaningful improvements in organizational project management maturity.

Kiron
Thanks Kiron!

I agree with you, specially about the senior leadership support.

The great problem at this scenario is that you need executive support to make the changes needed, but most of the times you can't find this support because a low level of maturity organization don't have yet consistent indicators that proves the benefits of a good project management, right?
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Dec 20, 2017 8:18 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
Paulo -

While you might not have a wealth of historical data, all it takes is one spectacular project failure to cause "someone" to wake up and envision a better world. I've usually found a greater appetite for incremental PM improvement after such a situation...

Kiron



Dec 19, 2017 8:43 AM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
One the plus side, Paulo, it is a lot easier to improve on something that is not very mature. You should pick easy, quick improvements to motivate and get support for the longer, complex initiatives.
That is an awesome strategy Stéphane, thanks!

Having a roadmap of engagement evolution based on these quick improvements may be a positive way to break the initial inertia of the organization.

It will be hard to priorize few actions in a sea of opportunities of improvements that is a low maturity level organization, but I agree that your suggestion may be the great strategy at the maturity evolution plan in this case.

Thanks for the tips!
...
1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Dec 20, 2017 7:01 AM
Stéphane Parent
...
I would not worry too much about prioritizing at this point, Paulo. Pick something that you can do quickly to show them the benefits. The point is to get a quick win.

Once they understand and are on board, then you can get them to prioritize their pain points.



Dec 20, 2017 2:41 AM
Replying to Paulo Gomes
...
That is an awesome strategy Stéphane, thanks!

Having a roadmap of engagement evolution based on these quick improvements may be a positive way to break the initial inertia of the organization.

It will be hard to priorize few actions in a sea of opportunities of improvements that is a low maturity level organization, but I agree that your suggestion may be the great strategy at the maturity evolution plan in this case.

Thanks for the tips!
I would not worry too much about prioritizing at this point, Paulo. Pick something that you can do quickly to show them the benefits. The point is to get a quick win.

Once they understand and are on board, then you can get them to prioritize their pain points.



Dec 20, 2017 2:28 AM
Replying to Paulo Gomes
...
Thanks Kiron!

I agree with you, specially about the senior leadership support.

The great problem at this scenario is that you need executive support to make the changes needed, but most of the times you can't find this support because a low level of maturity organization don't have yet consistent indicators that proves the benefits of a good project management, right?
Paulo -

While you might not have a wealth of historical data, all it takes is one spectacular project failure to cause "someone" to wake up and envision a better world. I've usually found a greater appetite for incremental PM improvement after such a situation...

Kiron

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