Are you banging the wall rather than beating the drum?

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Forty-five per cent of project management professionals are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied with the current level of project management maturity in their organisation, according to The State of Project Management Annual Survey 2016, conducted by Wellingtone and the APM PMO Specific Interest Group. This can be a serious source of frustration. Project success is often a stretch target, without compounding the complexity of the mission with poor governance, methodology and process.

When I talk to project professionals that fit into this category, they often spend a great deal of time spinning wheels, trying to establish process, or ‘fighting the machine’. In these situations, senior managers are often uneducated about best-practice project management; they simply impose end dates and want it done.  

You have a choice. You can either muddle on, stand firm and fix it – or look elsewhere. These aren’t great choices, but there we are. 

For now, let’s focus on the ‘look elsewhere’ option. If and when you are at an interview for any project professional role, ask about project management maturity. For example: does the organisation have a project methodology? Does it have a clear understanding of the role of project sponsor? And (my favourite), how many live projects is it running? It’s a simple question, but nothing is more telling than when a bunch of senior people can’t give an exact figure or indeed have no common source for this type of information.  

Make sure you really know what you are letting yourself in for when looking to join an organisation. Will you join a great community of practitioners or be set adrift to battle on your own? Maybe you enjoy the challenge, and maybe you can be the catalyst for improvements. But, whatever your preference, make sure you go into  a new role with ‘eyes wide open’.  Ask questions at the interview. The interviewer’s responses will be more telling than anything else. How frustrated are they?

Other blogs in this series:

This blog first appeared as an article in the Spring 2016 edition of  Project Journal.

Vince Hines

Posted by Vince Hines on 13th Sep 2016

About the Author

Vince is the Managing Director of Wellingtone PPM; the project management consulting company based in Windsor, Berkshire. We retain a particular focus not just in the UK but Ireland and Spain.  Wellingtone is the only organisation that is both a Microsoft Gold Partner with the PPM Specialisation as well as an APM Accredited training provider.  Wellingtone is also the exclusive UK partner of the PMO Global Alliance and PMO Value Ring as well as PMOtto; the AI Bot for MS Project Online.

Wellingtone works closely with the APM and sponsors the Annual Salary Survey as well as the PMO of the Year Award.  We also run our PMO focused annual conference; FuturePMO.  We have developed courses in Legal Project Management and the PMO, both of which have been Accreditred by the APM as part of the APM Professional Courses route.

Our "PPM Intelligence" is also demonstrated by publishing The State of Project Management; the largest piece of annual reseearch of its kind in conjunction with UCL, the APM PMO SIG and the APM Systems Thinking SIG.

Vince is an expert Project Management Consultant, having worked with clients across the UK, US and Europe. He retains a number of professional qualifications including MAPM and has extensive real world experience of developing client project management maturity. As an active member of the APM community Vince is also a judge for the Annual APM Awards.

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