Prescription for Project Success

Today I am at the Project Management Institute (PMI) Community of Practice (Cop) leadership event in San Diego, California.  I chatted at lunch with Mark (Doc) Dochtermann, a PMI CoP Advisory Member.   As a PMI-SP, PMP and a project leader at a large complex program for the State of California, he has tons of project advice for business leaders and practitioners.

Doc_DochtermannHere are his thoughts:

Organizational Project Management (OPM) is a lens to view project and organizational maturity.  It really allows project managers to ask business leaders some key questions:

  • What is the new business model e.g., what are you organizationally trying to do?
  • How does this address the problem that needs to be fixed?
  • How will you implement the necessary change to get to this new business state?
  • What are the drivers, customer impacts and measures for the proposed change?

An approach such as DMAIC is a perfect way to plan and exe cute on these questions so let’s dive into what he is doing on his current program. Doc consistently uses DMAIC to objectively look at the organizational present state and to propose improvements. What is the key foundation of this approach? Measurement!  The present current state has to be stated in objective terms.  For example, you can use lean six sigma techniques to create empirical data to support the premise that this problem really needs to be fixed.  This data can be used in the communication plan to influence which processes or performance issues need to be addressed and must be addressed now.  What are the other critical success factors?

  • Right team
  • Right leader
  • Right assignments

New teams are encouraged to take the time to use temperament assessments to quickly assess the “rights.” Now how do you ensure change sticks?  Control is required with both  consequences and rewards.  What else is needed for project success?

  • Right Sponsorship
  • Right Reporting
  • Right leaders from team and customer side
  • Right level of customer support
  • Right addressing of recalcitrant stakeholders.

Doc, this sounds like the right prescription for an organizational maturity model.


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