Project Management Institute

A full circle

VIEWPOINTS ASIA PACIFIC WATCH

A solid project management culture relies on reviews and feedback.      BY RAMESH D. KANDADAI

Project management starts with learning the methodology and practicing it, but the process can't end there. Organizations must encourage a culture of continuous improvement.

The first step is to establish project management practices, starting with conducting performance reviews and benchmarking service levels. Performance reviews for the individual, team, project, program, portfolio and enterprise are necessary to constantly encourage everyone to strive for excellence.

Reviews should be conducted periodically and after the completion of major projects to evaluate employees’ practice of project management and to determine how often tasks are performed on time, among other metrics. Such questions need to be asked anywhere in the world, but they're marginally more important in Asia Pacific, where service levels are constantly climbing because of strong competition.

The reviewer should consider:

Is the employee comfortable with project management practices and concepts?
What additional training does the employee feel is required to take him or her to the next level?
Are project management practices common and spontaneous in the group or do these efforts require conscious effort?
Are the project status reports going out to the project, program or portfolio manager on schedule?
Does the employee have any suggestions?
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With a significant amount of IT development taking place in the Asia Pacific region, companies should adopt such transparent practices as a way to bolster client confidence.

Reporting activity must be generated both internally for senior management and externally for the client. Risks must be assessed, change requests managed, schedules reviewed and reassessed, milestones planned for and met, and resources and their utilization reviewed. All these activities must be spaced in such a way that the project management practice is kept alive and at the forefront. Any missing links in reporting will make the long-term establishment of a project management culture impossible.

In the early stages of deployment of the project management culture, a conscious effort needs to be made to keep the practices going until they become the default work culture. As the practice matures and learning accrues, the benefits will start pouring in, usually in the form of increased reliability in the process base and client satisfaction. What matters is that the organization is constantly learning and has a sound knowledge base born out of intelligent practices.

Other developing countries around the world have started to emerge as players in the outsourcing market. So Asia Pacific organizations would do well to pay attention to customer service if they want to remain part of a competitive service industry and to keep improving their profit margins. PM

 

Ramesh D. Kandadai is a consultant operating out of India with expertise in project, operations and team management. He has nearly 25 years of experience and can be reached at rameshdk@arm-c.com.

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PM NETWORK | DECEMBER 2007 | WWW.PMI.ORG

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