Every organization, whether a PMO or an internal team, needs an established project management process in order to give direction and organize their teams, as well as promote best practices that will (hopefully) lead to quality projects.
Unfortunately, not all of these processes actually help. In fact, some are downright harmful. But you might be so intent on finishing the project that you don’t see your current project management process for what it really is: an obstacle.
To help you gain some perspective, I’ve listed a few of the biggest signs of a bad project management process:
People Focus on Process, not Projects
A project management process is meant to make things easier for you by telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it properly. Granted, you also need to remember records keeping, updating project management tools, client billing, and more, but if your team starts focusing on all these administrative tasks instead of doing actual work, then you have a problem. Many large companies suffer from process-oriented workflows.
How many of the reports that you make are actually read and acted upon? If you don’t know the answer, then maybe you should question why you’re doing it in the first place. Redundant and filler reports are a waste of your time, and a waste of your team’s. If you can’t get rid of them, then combine reports or automate report creation and earn yourself a little breathing room.
It Creates Conflict, not Cooperation
Offices have limited resources. We get that. But if your solution is to have project managers face off against each other gladiator-style, spitting and clawing for the same team members, then you’re creating a hostile work environment. Competition is healthy. Conflict is not.
Project Management Process Imposed From Outside
Do you know who set this process up in the first place? Sometimes, management or the client will set up or introduce changes to a project management process that serves their purposes, not that of the client. For example, some companies stop work once you reach a certain amount of hours. While it’s good for a client’s budget, it kills project momentum and ends up being more expensive in the long run. Other examples include additional reports, excess client involvement, and management “fads” that do nothing to move the project forward.
Nobody Follows It
The surest sign that your project management process doesn’t work is when people ignore it entirely. They just go do their own thing. It’s disorganized and messy, but it still works better than what your process imposes. So what are you to do?
The first step towards improvement is to realize that it needs to happen. Once you know it, make sure other people know it, too: from team members to management. Make a strong case for change, and point to the signs we’ve just shown you as evidence. Only then can you figure out how your project management process can improve.
Image Credit: Flickr, Dough Wheller