Project managers, boost your delivery with a good BPM tool.

Add longevity to the success of your project management efforts with a BPM tool - project management success is about more than just ticking boxes. Read the blog.

Building Futures was the theme of this year’s PMI conference, and one question posed was, when it comes to project management, what defines success? For many, it’s simply about finishing a project on time and on budget.

For project managers operating at the top of their game, the real measure is in what the organization is doing, one, three or even ten years after project completion. Did the project effect real, lasting change, or did the organization slowly but surely revert back to the old way of doing things?

Project management should be about the “enduring value” - leading organizations to better outcomes that continue to deliver value. A presentation by Bob Gutsell and Sarah Davenport from Fonterra backed this up.

They also suggested linking project outcomes to the strategic vision of your organization, and capturing learnings so they can be used and referenced rather than being filed away on project completion. 

Fundamentally it’s about transforming a business, and then handing the reins back.

But that’s easier said than done. It requires project managers to think beyond the practical day-to-day issues facing their project – and that starts with processes.

Start with robust processes.

Operating from a real understanding of the business’ processes is a critical – and often overlooked – factor in a project that delivers sustained change. Project managers are often asked to work with outdated process maps, or which have been created with little understanding of what really happens at the coalface. That puts the project on shaky ground from the outset. Without processes that reflect the reality of the organization’s operations, any changes implemented will be irrelevant, unhelpful or largely ignored by staff. 

It means your project will tick a delivery box, without realising any lasting change or benefit. The project creates a period of upheaval, it finishes and the project manager moves onto the next job. Meanwhile, staff revert back to their comfortable, familiar way of doing things.

Working with robust processes, project managers have a solid foundation upon which to deliver real benefits, and sustained organizational change.

Consider future risks.

Identifying and managing risk is a key part of project management. Operating using incorrect or incomplete process maps means you’ll be wasting time considering risks that may not be an issue, and worse, ignoring risks that could pose a real threat. Over the duration of a short-lived project, that might not cause any problems. But given enough time, issues will crop up. If your future-state processes haven’t factored those in, it leaves the business exposed. It may also result in businesses reverting to the old ways of doing things out of fear of any further issues.

Understanding and managing for the real risks will protect your project, the business, and your reputation.

Deliver in a format the business can keep using.

The point of any project is to leave the organization in a better state than when you started. That means effecting change in the beginning. But that job isn’t complete until things are transitioned back to the business. The ideal should be to embed the changes into the organsation while the project is still running, so by the time you finish they’ve become BAU.

Choose your tools.

As is so often true with the digital world, choosing the right tools is key to success. A key discussion point at the PMI conference centred around the idea of running projects using a process mapping tool rather than traditional project management software. A simple process mapping tool can help you to gather current-state process information from the people on the ground, build in risk management, and then hand it back to the business in a format they can continue to use every day in their new business process management (BPM).

I happen to know a great BPM tool used by project managers in hundreds of organizations. Ask me about how Promapp can transform your projects into more than just ticking boxes, or take a look at Promapp by signing up for a 30-day free trial below.  

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