Project Map: Evaluating Project Management Practices

PDF DownloadWe originally planned this article to show how to set up a project management office. True to the rules of running a project, however, our plans changed once we began refining our scope. We quickly realized that the form a project management (PM) practice takes, though important, is secondary to the functions that need to be improved or developed.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, for example, has had a centralized PM office in the past. “It became too bureaucratic,” says Jack Pinter, the executive director of BMS’ Information Knowledge Management group. “We needed to bring it back down to the project level.” The company—from the executives on down—examined what its current difficulties were, what its peers were doing, and where it wanted to be, then designed an intensive training program and custom PM framework. Their reorganization emphasizes several important points: Don’t look back. Even though Bristol-Myers was widely seen, internally and externally, as having a successful PM practice, it knew it could do better. Do look around. An industry’s worth of experience produces better practices than any one company’s best. Look inside for support. Executives showed that they valued project management enough to devote their time.

This map is based on those principles of continuous evaluation and improvement. It begins with a companywide assessment, below, that provides a PM maturity “score.” That score translates to a level describing where your company stands, and what it should do next. The highest score takes you to Level 5, which, as you’ll see, repeats the message: There’s always room for improvement.

Download the PDF document (click the above icon) and begin evaluating your own project management practices.