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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Organizational Dysfunction and Projects

Just over a year ago I posted about Projects, Leaders, and Discipline.  I started the posting with the text below: 

One of the things that hurt project teams most is the lack of an enterprise (executive) focus and oversight regarding the management of projects.  It takes discipline to manage projects, and enterprise project discipline is lacking when executives are disinterested and/or disengaged from the project process.  Great organizations (not project managers) manage projects well, and in doing so they have employees with higher morale, they get better project results, and implement projects faster with higher quality.

Is your organization disciplined?  There have been many studies that show a lack of executive support for projects is a key contributor to project failure.  You can meet all your project objectives and still have failed if your project does not support a business need.

Organizations that have successfully embraced and implemented project management have a few things in common.  They are:

  They treat project management as a profession

  They treat project managers as assets

  They have internal policies that support the management of projects

  They align their strategies to a published project portfolio

  They recognize that a project management methodology is only works when it is coupled with         experienced   project managers

  They have a formal training program for new and experienced project managers

  They have a formal job classification and promotion path for project managers

  They have a strategic program/project management office

  Have been through a formal project management maturity assessment

Regarding discipline, George Washington said, "Discipline is the soul of an army.  It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all".  

You cannot have effective organizational project management processes without discipline.  Discipline begins at the top of the organization and works its way to the bottom.  Organizations that have weak organizational discipline have weak leadership.

As I have stated previously, undisciplined organizations have high turnover, low employee morale, and poor project results. These organizations cheat their investors, employees, and customers by not providing the highest level of service possible. Highly disciplined organizations make and keep commitments, manage to clearly articulated and measurable goals, and have executives that are engaged and visibly participate in the oversight of projects.

BOLD TRUTH - If you are not visible, your are not relevant.  If you are not relevant, you are not needed. 

In closing, dysfunctional organizations believe that the workers are solely responsible for managing projects and other day-to-day work. These organizations believe that the executives should spend the majority of their time strategizing and making policy. This is a failed approach (see General Motors, Ford, K-Mart, etc), and ensures the work, including projects, will take longer than planned and cost more than what was budgeted.

Executive leadership and oversight of projects has been proven to motivate project teams to be accountable, results driven, and focused on achieving a common goal.


TranquilMind said...

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Stephen, your article is right on the money. While project managers maybe responsible for delivery they need the commitment from the business to follow through. Great organisations are great at getting things done and project management is a key part of this success.