28 Apr Part 1 Project performance – Get on the path to continuous improvement
Editor’s Note: Michael J. Weymier, PMP, is founder of PM Maturity and joins the Wisconsin Technology Network as a columnist. In this new column, Continuous Improvement, Weymier will be exploring the various aspects of project management as part of an exclusive series for WTN.
So, tell me, why are your projects still late, costing too much and not delivering what you promised? You’ve got a great staff, consultants and the right software. You had a methodology developed so everyone knew what to do and the attitude was there…
Einstein said it best when he defined “insanity” as doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results. Will Rogers said that even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. Jack Welch understood that an organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action was the ultimate competitive advantage.
This series will explore some of the common techniques of continuous improvement. You will see articles about total quality management (TQM), the theory of constraints (TOC), control objectives for information and related technology (COBIT), 6 Sigma, the capability maturity model (CMM) and the Project Management Institute Maturity Model (OPM3). These certainly aren’t the only paths, but they are ones you should consider. All contain continuous improvement as the integral section enabling enhanced performance.
Embarking on a journey of continuous improvement is the only way to achieve significant, lasting and widespread project performance improvement. Continuous improvement means not repeating the same mistake twice: It’s understanding and analyzing what’s been done to improve what will be done and doing better next time. It’s reinforcing your successes and remedying your failures.
The key to improved project performance is simple, yet difficult at the same time. It doesn’t lie in hiring better people or bringing in better consultants or doubling your training budget or even buying more software. Redeveloping your methodology or organizing a “steering” committee typically brings marginal results. If this was all you needed to do, every project would be done on time, on budget and the user would be overjoyed with the product. You’ve tried it – you’re still not satisfied with the result. Improved project management can help develop faster, cheaper projects that actually give clients what they want. It will allow you to get the recognition you deserve and leave the competition in the dust.
The secret to continuous performance improvement is to approach it as a journey. As in all journeys, there’s a path that should be followed. Paths are evolutionary, not revolutionary. Steps build upon each other and different paths can lead to the same goal. Techniques have been developed by others who have taken the journey. You can learn from their experience.
The destination is a state of continuous improvement. Once everyone in an organization begins continually searching for ways to do the project better, faster and cheaper – is the journey over? Einstein would characterize not learning from the past as organizational insanity.
The next article will explore the total quality management movement and why it should provide the foundation of your improvement initiatives.
Michael J. Weymier, PMP, is founder of PM Maturity and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.