How to improve continuously in project management?


Are you on the way to perfection? Did you start to think about your own project management, improvements or ideas? This is a good signal. Project management is not a function, which is already done, not even with methodologies already implemented. You have to be ready to change, collect weak signals and improve continuously.


According to KPMG 60 percent of organizations manage their projects in a portfolio structure. This number has been increasing in recent years. 


This is good news, but we still have almost half of the organizations which aren’t managing their project portfolio. Another way to think is how they are doing the project portfolio management. It may sound important, also top level may give ideas and expectations for the process, even select strategic tools for this. I have worked before with an organization which had official tools, methodologies and ways to manage all programs and projects, but it was still too far from perfect because not all projects were connected or managed same way. In a large organization like that, it took time to start improvements but now they are already more advanced.


Most of the companies are already selecting to use agile methodologies instead of traditional waterfall methodology. CIO reported as high as 71 percent of organizations reported to use agile methodologies for project management. This is however fact from the US publication and has differences around the world. 


While North American or European organizations have already adapted towards agile methodologies, typically some sort of hybrid, in developing world this will still be in progress. Sometimes part of the development is done in agile way, but actually many Asian organizations aren’t ready to go for this direction. It’s easier to setup short-term and long-term targets, common objectives. Then you can later improve after learning project management techniques, start even killing projects and making changes rapidly when needed.


According to PMI 62 percent of completed projects included project sponsors who were actively supportive. This means communication both ways: status reporting and advice from sponsors. 


If you’re connected in weekly basis with project sponsor it may help in reaching the target, but at least a monthly basis is important depending on project or program scope. It doesn’t have to be official, just keep communication open and reach each other. Also, project sponsor may help to keep project in acknowledgement of other departments and board of directors.


Proven steps for becoming next generation project manager

1. Start planning for project portfolio

First collect all project under one organization

Introduce same templates for reporting project, like setting KPIs

Involve project input part of strategy process in enterprise level

2. Think about using agile methodologies

You can try agile methodology in one project first

It’s more likely you end up using hybrid delivery, some part like development is done by agile but complete project follows longer timeline, scheduling for milestones

3. Use status reporting to involve project sponsors

Communicate with project sponsors weekly or bi-weekly basis

Learn how to report, escalate issue through status report to get immediate actions

Let project sponsors work for your success by keeping them updated and asking them to provide news, information to other departments as well.


If you liked this article, you may take a look at my Strategic Project Management course. How to avoid these failures are taught during the course with many other things.

Design thinking and inspiration

Another Australian I had please to listen is Ben Crothers. He’s design specialist who works for company named Atlassian. He is also a judge in annual award for Design of the year in Australia.

Ben gave in an example of good design. He told about Rastrum 3D bio printer building 3D cell structures that will be used in treatment testing, therapies. This kind of design will benefit individual, society and the company which made it. It has a real need, offers a solution and will probably save also life in the future.

What can we learn from Judy Dench?

Judy Dench is most recently known from role as M in James Bond movies, but she has much, much longer history in theater especially in roles from Shakespeare.

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