Written by Brad Egeland
As organizations grow, the need for structure to wrap around those projects – software and otherwise – that come up grows as well. Let’s face it, they’re always projects, right? Not everyone can see the forest for the trees and see those for what they really are right – projects. But projects is what they are. And the sooner we recognize them as such and wrap some structure around them, then the sooner we can build some repeatable practices around what we do to manage and deliver success and the sooner we can put together practices and policies that can trace what we are doing right and wrong. Basically, the sooner we do all of this the sooner we can take luck out of the equation…which is a good thing.
So if you think you need to create a validated process that will grow a PM practice, you’re likely right. Now what? You want to champion it and that’s commendable, but you can’t do it alone. What do you do? Thoughts? Anything? If you want to get management support for and processes and templates in place for the beginnings of a project management practice in your own organization where there was none before, then I recommend this five step process to do it thoroughly and to do it right…
Go to your manager. This process of research and putting initial work into templates and procedures is going to take some effort and time. Therefore you need to get the ok to spend the 2, 5 or 10 hours a week it’s going to take you to do some research and make some calls. Go to you manager, explain your purpose and what you feel the benefit to the organization will be – documentation would be helpful as many people like the visual affect – and get the ok to extend the effort.
Do the research – make some calls. Do a little research. Find some articles in setting up a project management office and how to staff good project managers. Check out what the salary ranges are for these positions or the hourly rates for consultants. Talk to PMO directors at 3-4 organizations that are reportedly doing it right in terms of project management.
Grab job postings from around the country/world. Next you are going to want to start documenting what you need in terms of skill sets, qualities, years of experience and possibly even certifications. The best place to start is with the hundreds of project management job postings and descriptions available online daily. Actually, you won’t have to read through more than four or five to see that they are all about the same so this seemingly insurmountable task won’t really take you long at all. Start with what you find online and tweak the info to fit what you know you will likely need based on your market and industry.
Download templates. If you can find templates online that’s a great start. I know they are there to be shared…you just have to do the search. I personally share several useful templates with anyone who wants to download them. It will be easy to find some good free templates online to use for things like requirements capture, communication planning, risk management, a statement of work, project charter, test case layouts, sign off sheets and dozens of other things you may need to develop or include in your project documentation.
Put together a proposal. Finally, package this all up and put together a proposal of sorts for your management. This could be very formal, but I would start informal because the time and effort difference between formal and informal could be significant and formal may not be necessary or desired. It depends in your organization. Work up some ideas on learning curve, ramp up efforts, hiring needs and timelines and salary/staffing requirements. Numbers will be an important part of any senior management decision process about moving forward with the creation of a PM infrastructure. Then submit it and cross your fingers.
Summary / call for reader input
There’s a lot that must go into the project management infrastructure of an organization. What I have laid out here is far short, I realize, to what you would need to do to start up…say…a full-scale project management office (PMO) in a larger organization. But that really couldn’t be championed by just one individual anyway. What I have here is what I consider to be a grassroots effort by one individual to get some project management processes defined and hopefully approved by a smaller organization or by one that – to this point – has had no formal project management structure.
What about our readers? Do any of you have experience in championing such and effort? What do you agree with on this list and what should be added?
About Brad Egeland
Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.