Project Management: What’s Process Got To Do With It?

August 30 2018 | by Valerie Higgins

The timing of this project management blog series couldn’t be more perfect. Here at Stambaugh Ness we are currently assessing and refining our very own Project Management processes. It’s been an eye opener for sure and I look forward to sharing not only industry accepted best practices, but “boots on the ground” tips as we explore the 2nd part of our 3-part blog. In Part I our focus was on People, now we shift the focus to the critical area of Processes.

Build Your Process Foundation

It’s important to stay focused on the life cycle of a project when developing your in-house processes and best practices. For example, the life cycle we have adopted is a common model.

Project Management Processes

As you begin to lay out your processes, walk through each stage of the project lifecycle to ensure that every phase is represented. Leaving one of these areas out can derail your overall success. Based on my years of project management experience I’ve compiled the following best practices and tips to help you on this journey.

First Things First

  • Consistency is key! Successful adoption of your processes starts with a well documented Project Management Standards Manual. If it isn’t in writing, you can’t hold the team accountable. Take the time to write down each step. This way, you can see it from a fresh perspective and identify areas of weakness and inefficiency.
  • Identify the tools and processes you will use in each stage. Be detailed in your documentation and specify how each should be applied and maintained.
  • Ensure compliance by implementing tools which will provide reporting on KPIs that your firm identifies as critical to project management and delivery success.
  • Keep the client needs at the center of your processes development. Put yourself in their shoes!
  • Do you have a tool to assess the viability of a project/client? Develop a Go/No Go assessment tool and include it in your Processes.

Engage Your Team

  • Survey your team at the start of your Processes development project – don’t assume you know how they interpret the responsibilities of Project Management or what Processes they feel are good, bad, or missing. Ask to know.
  • Develop a team of Project Management Champions and identify them as Leaders and Mentors to your Project Management Team. We’ve done this, and the value-add has been incredible. Consider including not only Project Managers, but a Finance Team leader and an expert on your ERP or industry.
  • Internal training should not be an occasional event – establish a regular cadence for ongoing Processes and Best Practices training.
  • Lessons Learned meetings are a valuable way to improve Processes and something most firms don’t schedule – make the time – set a recurring Quarterly meeting to start. If you don’t schedule them, they will never happen!

Take Risks

  • You won’t know if something doesn’t work if you don’t try. Change requires a willingness to fail fast and redirect when needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to develop Processes that are different from the “way we’ve always done it.” Be willing to adopt change where it adds efficiencies and excellence to your Processes.
  • Identify industry trends and changes and develop Processes that will set your team apart as forward-thinking and innovative.

Next Steps

Consider these items critical when developing your Processes for successful project management. If you would like to learn more about how to develop or implement standards for Project Management within your firm reach out to me.

You may also be interested in our upcoming complimentary webinar, Optimizing People & Projects for Higher Performance where we’ll take a more in-depth look at how to successfully manage both employees and projects.

Or, check out part 3!

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