It’s a premise that goes against everything many PMP®s hold near and dear. Conditioned to see each project as a unique set of challenges in need of highly-targeted solutions, it can be difficult for those in the Project Team to shift their thinking and instead view projects in more standardized terms. But it’s a fundamental change that will actually help your team achieve greater success on every project that comes through the organization.
An outside consultancy can be instrumental in getting the Project Team out of the habit of seeing projects as individual snowflakes and instead move them into a mindset that offers the promise of repeatable results. With the help of an experienced external firm, the project team can begin leveraging a strong methodology capable of spanning every project, implementing communication protocols that are effective regardless of project size or complexity, and taking advantage of expert facilitation that can transcend organizational nuances to bring every project to a successful completion.
All projects benefits from a strong methodology. Many Project Teams attempt to deploy specific methodologies based on the details of each project. They may alter the project controls used, the way they manage resource assignments might change from one project to the next, and even their approach to involving particular stakeholders could be different depending on the clout or stubbornness of the groups involved. This strategy is likely to result in a multitude of issues throughout the project’s lifecycle. The team may discover, for example, that the latest flavor of project controls misses key metrics, leading to progress-halting problems that must be resolved.
An external expert knows that a robust, time-tested methodology will be effective no matter the details of the project—its complexity, the benefits it will create, the users it affects, or the level of importance it holds within the organization. A strong methodology will ensure that critical-path activities are properly identified and tracked, action items are moved forward as needed, and potential problems are spotted and resolved early.
Effective communication flows are key in every project. Using a per-project communication strategy is a common practice, but it’s usually causes problems eventually. Information transfer timeliness often suffers, potentially leaving sponsors out of the loop on project updates or causing vendors to miss vital pieces of data. End users may not have an opportunity to provide necessary input, or it’s possible they will not receive workflow-impacting information. In each case, the team must tweak its communication channels to address the issues, but those improvements rarely carry over cleanly to the next project, leaving the Project Team to recreate the wheel with each effort. The result is diminished customer satisfaction along with diminished efficiency within the project team.
Outside consultancies have developed communication protocols that avoid these issues. Because their practices for information sharing have been designed specifically to gather and distribute complete and accurate data in a timely manner, they can be successfully applied to any project without risking information loss.
Expert facilitation improves outcomes across every project portfolio. Most project teams lack the in-house competencies to effectively facilitate the important or sensitive portions of every project. Utilizing only specific facilitation skills based on the perceived needs of a project may lead to gaps when it comes to defining scope, involving sponsors, developing a workable budget, and even identifying other necessary skills that may be missing from the team’s knowledge base.
An external firm brings a breadth of much-needed facilitation experience to every project. No matter where challenges exist, an outside partner can help the Project Team improve communication channels and stakeholder engagement while eliminating the potential pitfalls posed by inadequate facilitation skills.