Project Management Webinar: Maximising Project Success Through the Implementation of Best Practice

In today’s world, you’d be hard pushed to find any organisation that doesn’t want to improve the success of its projects. However, what success looks like can differ wildly between companies. While some might see staying within budget or hitting a deadline as the ultimate performance indicator, others might want to see ROI or meet certain business requirements. In some cases, success might look like all of these things combined.

While there is no hard and fast way to achieve project success, efficient project management can increase your chances tenfold. To discover just how to maximise the likelihood of successful projects through the use of best practices, we recently hosted a webinar to further explore and discuss this interesting topic.

We felt there was no one better to help us during this session than Project and PMO leader, Hemal Khanderia. Having worked in various organisations within the media industry, Hemal has been involved in countless projects including data centre moves, hardware and software upgrades and streaming service launches.

During the webinar, Hemal discussed the challenges that can come from a PMO and how best to overcome them, as well as sharing practical tips on how any organisation can benefit from utilising a Project Management Maturity Model or PMMM.

It was a highly insightful and interactive session that was brimming with practical advice that will be useful for organisations wanting to improve the success rates of their new or existing PMO.

Keep scrolling to read a summary of Hemal’s most crucial insights from our webinar session.

Project Management Maturity

45% of respondents who took part in the recent State of Project Management Survey shared that they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their current level of project management maturity. This indicates that there is growing recognition and interest into what “good” project management looks like.

But before an organisation can aspire to reach the top tiers of project management maturity, they first need to uncover how they are currently structured. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by utilising a Project Management Maturity Model (or PMMM), which can provide a deeper understanding of how structured a company is, based on their performance in several framework areas in project management.

To measure performance across these twelve areas, the PMMM utilises a measuring system, comprising of six levels of maturity ranking from level 0 (unaware) to level 5 (optimised). As a company progresses through the levels of maturity, they are likely to see improvements to their project success rates, as well as seeing a positive impact on standards and consistency, ensuring strategic priorities are met.

However, while you might think that every company should be aiming to reach level 5, Hemal explained that this level of maturity is not necessarily suitable for every organisation and that being at the lower end of the scale isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He shared:

“It’s important to know where you are and where you want to get to with your PMO. But your organisation doesn’t have to be at level 5 to be considered successful. You could be at level 0 and in the early stages of your PMO and still be successful. It all depends on what’s right for your organisation.

Typically, companies like NASA or Pfizer are at level 5 because they are dealing with human lives. They have to be efficient and stringent- nothing can go wrong. In my experience, most of the organisations I’ve worked with are between Level 1 and 2 and aspire to get to level 3 but could get to level 5 if it was right for them.”

To determine where a company currently sits on the PMMM measuring scale, a three-step process is required. This firstly involves a questionnaire to be completed by the project manager that analyses their performance across all twelve framework areas, followed by a 1-2-1 discussion to discuss roles and responsibilities and the optimal level of structure they wish to reach. Finally, a review of the current project management process is carried out as a form of validation in the tools and processes currently being used.

Once the current level of maturity and potential areas for improvement are identified, the PMMM can provide a roadmap that outlines what necessary steps are needed to achieve further project management maturity advancement and improvement. This can be beneficial because it identifies exactly which areas you should be putting time and energy into improving to increase project success.

While many strive for improvement in all areas, Hemal shared that in his experience he’s found that a lot of companies would rather stay where they are in terms of their maturity. He said:

“Don’t feel pressured to strive for higher levels of maturity in certain areas if you don’t think it’s necessary. If you’re happy with the level you’re currently at, for instance, in your analysis and selection, you can keep it where it is. Not everything needs improving or changing in terms of its structure if its working for you’.

Negativity can be Positive

One of the most challenging barriers many organisations face when implementing a PMO is resistance to change. Unfortunately, this appears to be a widespread problem. In a 2022 study by PMSolutions, it was found that 42% of organisations are resistant to change and adopting new PM methodologies, with a further 41% saying that demonstrating the added value of the PMO to their team is their biggest challenge.

This research is further backed by another study by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which found that only 46% of companies say their organisation values project management.

While many project managers focus on the technology, processes and financial aspects of a project, ultimately, it’s people who can make or break it. Without their buy-in and support, the chances of a project failing rise considerably. Understandably, this is something that many organisations want to avoid.

While having a strong and often negative resistance to change might seem like failure in itself, Hemal explained that this can actually be an opportunity for development and growth that many organisations often overlook. He said:

“When it comes to change, it’s not always a bad thing for someone to express negativity. It can actually push us to think about what changes are required to make things better, not just for the individual, but for everyone. This could mean giving further help through training or by offering one to one sessions. It could also mean taking the time to understanding what their fears and concerns are and better communicating the benefits of the change.

 In my experience, the people who were once resistant and negative, once these conversations have happened, can change drastically. They go from being negative to being a superstar who promotes the change to everyone else. That’s the ideal scenario.”

Hiring for a PMO

PMOs are on the rise, according to a recent report by Wellingtone. Their findings found that 89% of organisations claim to have at least one PMO, with 50% claiming they have more than one. But despite there being an undeniable increase, there continues to be confusion amongst many organisations into what a PMO is and who they should be hiring to run it.

This lack of understanding could be partly to blame on the acronym of PMO meaning different things, including project, portfolio or programme management office, to different organisations and industries.

Unfortunately, this can wreak havoc during the hiring process, as the organisation could potentially hire the wrong team for the PMO function they currently have, or they want to introduce. This could then lead to further challenges down the road, such as missed deadlines, lessened efficiency and maturity, and financial losses.

Hemal explained that defining their PMO and the roles they require should be an organisation’s first course of action if they want to overcome these challenges. He said:

“More than anything, organisations need to determine what the P in PMO stands for before they start putting job ads online, whether its project, programme or portfolio. It can’t just be PMO on its own either, the roles need to be more specific such as Head of PMO, PMO assistant or PMO co-ordinator.

If you’re a portfolio management office, you’ll need to be focusing on things like benefits and demand management. Whereas on the project side of PMO, you’ll want to be focusing on resource management or scheduling. This is something I’ve spoken to many organisations about over the years.”

The journey to successful project management, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to have a one size fits all approach. But clear communication and further education and training into the function of a PMO seem to be crucial elements, regardless of the organisation, industry or the maturity of the PMO.

If you’d like to find out more about attending or speaking at one of our events, head to our Networking Events page.

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Aedan Lee

24th April

From the Experts Industry Insight