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Project Management is Needed Now More Than Ever

sticky notesIn today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations are constantly pressured to adapt to changing market conditions and changing priorities. Organizations have shifted to agile environments, but is it enough given the rapid acceleration of technology?

With HDI/ICMI Consultants working across numerous organizations on various projects, we’re noticing a clear gap in the ability of executive leaders to implement timely strategies. We believe it is due to the shifting business environment and a pressing need to rethink organizational strategy.

Enter Outside Project Management Organizations

According to PM Solutions research, over 85% of companies now employ some form of a project management organization (PMO) internally or externally. A PMO is a group specifically hired to implement and manage a portfolio of efforts critical to the company.

While most organizations have already shifted from waterfall style projects to adapt to the ever-changing, agile, customer experience needs of the business, it has come with its share of challenges. As a consulting firm charged with delivering results on time & on budget for our customers, we find there are a few things that many organizations are failing to do to help tee up successful execution in an agile environment.

First, if change management has not been successfully deployed internally to help communicate and incubate expectations of an agile project, we see immediate confusion. While some may be able to adapt and understand the communication, flexibility, and innovative style of these engagements, others may have a tendency to drag their feet and slow the project down. In many cases, these project resources have not been given empowerment to iterate and make quick decisions with the goal of continuous improvement throughout the lifecycle of the effort. They’re instead attempting perfection from the onset. It requires an experienced leader to coach them through the mindset and change required.

Secondly, from a project deployment standpoint, change management has also come into greater focus as a critical success factor for everyone impacted outside of the project team. A deep understanding of proper change vehicles and processes will only become more necessary as the speed of projects increase.

There are a number of obstacles that can derail the project bullet train unless maneuvered by a skilled project management professional in advance or in the moment.

Project Complexity

In the 10th Global Project Management Survey, conducted by the Institute for Project Management, data showed that 41% of all projects were rated as “complex”. From a technology and operations perspective, the shifting digital economy requires a lot of extra thought on the number of dependencies within a project. There simply is no easy out-of-box solution for most projects or implementations.

In many cases, you also will need to negotiate numerous contracts and internal decisions before even making a purchasing decision for a technology project. Having an experienced consultant or project manager who knows how to avoid the obstacles and can also do more than just check the tactical boxes is a must for any high-performing organization of tomorrow.

The Slow, Integrated Merge of IT and Operations

While an increasing amount of CIOs now report to the CEO, it’s not just this relationship that matters in the overall organizational design. it’s the organizations that have put purposeful effort in connecting IT and operations resources that successfully complete a project on budget and time. CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, and COOs of any company should be aligned and kicking with the same foot. In many instances, we as consultants are attempting to align all of the C-suite after the project has been funded and kicked off. This creates debate, delay, and a lack of prioritization or vision, at least until the executive team is aligned.

Execution is everything for so many of today’s critical business initiatives. Organizations need to adapt beyond their agile methodologies to create cross-functional teams that understand both technology and operations at almost identical levels, and filter that knowledge through the lens of customer experience.

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