There are lots of project management methodologies out there: Waterfall, Agile, and PRINCE2 are just a few, and that doesn’t even count all of their sub-types. But despite all this variety, many PMOs have trouble finding a method that perfectly fits their team. Either the process is too rigid, too unstructured, too complex, or too simple for their needs—sometimes all at once. So what can a project manager do?
Answer: Mix and match!
The idea isn’t as intimidating as you think. Organizations do it all the time; why do you think Waterfall project management has so many variants? In fact, Spiral Project Management, one of the newer methodologies, incorporates Waterfall and Agile project management into its own processes. So don’t be afraid to pick apart each process and scavenge elements from each. Just remember a few important things:
Focus on What Works
This exercise is meant to create a project management methodology that works for your organization. Concentrate on the processes that improve your team’s workflow and deliver a timely and high-quality product. A project management methodology that doesn’t achieve both is unsustainable. Too much of the former, and you might be sacrificing project quality. Too much of the latter, and you may be running your team into the ground. It may take a while to find this balance, so don’t be afraid to tinker until you’re comfortable.
Repeatable Processes are Still Important
The whole point of having a process is to have a reliable framework where you can plug in different variables (project specs, dates, deliverables) and still achieve consistent results. Even Agile, where the bulk of your approach varies according to the requirements, utilizes some key repeatable processes and philosophies. Set some procedures and stop reinventing the wheel.
Pay Attention to Feedback
Because you’re essentially building a process from the ground up (or at least welding one together), there are going to be some growing pains. Involve your team and stakeholders and work together to smooth over the bumps in your new workflow. You’ll be glad you did.
At the end of it all, you should have a project management methodology that is tailor-fit to your organization and its projects. And don’t forget to name it! Who knows? Your custom-made project management process may become a new industry standard!
Image credit, Flickr, Retromodern