Monday 6 December 2021

Method for Improving Project Management

A recommended approach to project management improvements is to take the following steps:

  • identifying symptoms of ineffective project management;
  • correlation of the identified symptoms with possible causes of ineffective project management by, firstly, studying the literature on project management, secondly, conducting an audit of current projects and, thirdly, analyzing completed projects;
  • identify opportunities for improvement in project management and rank those opportunities;
  • development of an improvement program or a special group of projects aimed at eliminating and correcting the possible causes of ineffective management;
  • execute the improvement program, evaluate results, and find additional areas for improvement.

A study carried out by the RM Solutions group found that "most companies rely mainly on a system of coordinated initiatives to improve project management in their strategy, rather than on one or two separate initiatives. 

Such organizational measures include: 

  • the establishment of a special body for managing the organization's project system, the project office; development of methodological principles of project management, necessary software; 
  • integration of project management into the main processes of the company; 
  • training of personnel in project management methods and tools; initiation of a development (professional development) programme for staff involved in the implementation of the project. 

Over 70% of the surveyed organizations have made more than three improvements in project management over the past three years of their work" [2].

Identification of opportunities and needs for improvement in the field of project management. An organization's need to improve performance and enhance its ability to manage projects can be determined by honestly answering a number of fundamental questions concerning each individual organization.

Do you have projects in your organization?

Does each project support your organization's adopted corporate strategy?

How effectively have the risks associated with each project been identified and how effectively are they managed?

Have these projects been completed or are being completed in accordance with the original (justifiably revised) schedule, budget, contract prices and other parameters established by the relevant contract or other authorized documents?

Have the profit targets for commercial projects been met? 

Have fines and compensation been paid?

Are your organization's existing management structure and planning, management, and control system suitable for the effective management of larger projects, a larger number of projects, or other projects necessary to implement the organization's growth and development strategy or for other long-term goals in the near or long term?

If the answers to these questions are yes, the organization's ability to manage projects can be assessed as exceptionally high. If not, your organization needs various improvements in project management. Possible areas of activity in which changes are not necessary may be:

  • knowledge and professional skills of people;
  • the assignment and allocation of responsibilities;
  • project management policies, processes, procedures, systems, tools and methods of project management, or all areas at once.

Symptoms and possible causes of ineffective project management. Among the symptoms of insufficiently high quality of project execution include:

  • failure to meet deadlines — delays in the performance of work, cost overruns and contractual penalties; low performing level of person / ha - high turnover of personnel employed in the project, excessive level of psychological stress, insufficient motivation and unfavorable psychological climate in the organization;
  • insufficient financial discipline - actual costs exceed the planned budget;
  • low quality of management - excessive involvement of senior managers in the details of project execution;
  • low quality of resource management - too frequent switching from one type of work to others (multi-tasking), duplication of efforts, inefficient use of specialists of functional units.
  • Identifying and addressing the causes of these typical deficiencies in project execution typically requires a very vigorous effort by project management professionals.

Use of a formalized project management review process. AT&T's Project Management Excellence Center has developed and implemented a formalized process for revising the project management system to develop "effective methods for translating the concept of project management into a practical process for ... assessment and identification of performance improvement goals" [3]. 


Reports on such formalized revision processes were published by management consultants based on the results of their practical work. An analysis of existing project management systems has also enabled them to highlight weaknesses in existing management practices, the identification of which is crucial in determining the necessary measures to improve performance.

Possible efforts to improve management. To achieve significant improvements in such a complex area as project management, it is necessary to carry out changes in all areas of activity - human resources, organizational structures, processes, systems, procedures - and all these changes must be precisely linked to each other. Some typical projects and improvement tasks in each of these areas are listed below. Special situations will undoubtedly require additional efforts.

Strategic portfolio management. Implement projects to improve performance in the field of:

  • development and implementation of an appropriate process for managing the organization's project portfolio;
  • formalization of procedures for selecting new projects and mutual ranking of all projects of each of the portfolios;
  • and the active use of risk and uncertainty management techniques in the implementation of programmes and projects.


Development of the management system and staff training. Make the necessary efforts in the field of development of the personnel training management system in order to:

  • improving understanding and acceptance at all levels of the organization of the basic ideas and principles of project management, as well as practical measures for their implementation;
  • developing staff planning, management and monitoring skills, as well as other skills required from the point of view of project managers and project support specialists;
  • development of leadership qualities of program and project managers;
  • creating the necessary understanding of personnel of project management policies, as well as modern methods, systems and tools for project management;
  • improving understanding of the basic principles and practices of teamwork.

Develop policies and procedures in the area of:

  • criteria for selecting (appointments) of project managers by type and size of projects;
  • development and professional growth of personnel engaged in project management;
  • assessment of the level of achievement and remuneration of project managers and other persons involved in the implementation of projects.

Assignment and distribution of responsibilities. Complete the following project management improvement projects that are required for your organization:

  • establish a project/program management office (project office) at a sufficiently high level of management of the organization, whose personnel will be responsible for the implementation and continuous improvement of project management processes, as well as for the creation and improvement of project management methods and tools;
  • establish an operational planning, management, and control office to provide support for common problems encountered during the management of small projects.
  • assign responsibility for the execution of each project portfolio, each program and each project at all levels of the organization and ensure that each responsible executive clearly understands and accepts his share of responsibility;
  • improve all project participants' understanding of the basic principles and practices of teamwork.
  • develop an appropriate policy in the field of determining the status and functions of senior managers, project portfolio managers, project sponsors, program and project managers, as well as the status of functional managers and project leaders;
  • create a responsibility sharing matrix based on project/work breakdown charts to clarify the relationships between all project managers and project participants.
  • describe all items and specification of key project management functions for all project types.
  • formalize the project-functional matrix of the distribution of responsibility and take the necessary measures to ensure that real appointments and performance control are carried out in accordance with this matrix.

Integrated systems, tools, methods and procedures. Initiate improvement projects. Purpose:

  • Identify and define the categories of projects implemented by the organization and document the Integrated Project Lifecycle Management System (AGCS) for each category;


Establish the necessary procedures to ensure the required coordination of plans and actions of all types of work/functions (marketing, technical support, procurement, production, etc.) during:

the adoption of project proposals or the acceptance of changes to existing contracts;
project execution;

Introduce new or revise existing procedures necessary to:

  • ensure that realistic commitments are made for all new projects;
  • develop and introduce framework limits on the cost and timing of the execution of tender proposals for projects;
  • authorize project work within supporting organizations and control the expenditure of project funds;
  • timely control accounting reports on costs and cost of the project; monitor and control the expenditure of funds for payments to executors;
  • plan projects using project/work breakdown structures and network planning methods.
  • predict the required number of personnel employed in the project and the need for other resources;
  • create an information structure for project support;
  • manage (arising during the implementation of projects) changes in the cost, schedules, as well as in the characteristics of the final product;
  • regularly analyze projects and reassess the cost of projects for all types of work;
  • implement an integrated project management information system based on the use of the Internet and other means of communication;
  • establish a separate office for the management of the largest programs and projects and develop the necessary procedures to maintain its activities.
  • Depending on the specific situation, the responsible manager (project manager) must select the necessary tasks to improve project management, establish the existing relationships between them, determine the priority for each of these tasks and, taking into account the available resources, develop a comprehensive improvement program.

Pilot project method. The nature of project-oriented situations provides a unique opportunity to develop and validate individual groups of changes (project management improvements) on the basis of one carefully selected project even before making full commitments to improvements. 


The Pilot Performance Improvement Project is not only a concrete mechanism for introducing and testing new project management approaches and methods, but also an excellent pilot model for studying and using HR management and training systems.

When referring to the pilot project method, special attention should be paid to the choice of the project (program) that will be used in this capacity. Such a project should:

  • have a not too long life cycle;
  • be typical of this organization;
  • not to contain such intractable problems (e.g. commitments with impossible deadlines) that the benefits and benefits derived from improved governance cannot save the day.

There is always a danger that a pilot project will enjoy increased attention from management and other stakeholders. As a result, such a project may be so successful that the impact of the studied changes in management will simply not be measurable In a situation where all resources are invested mainly in one project, other projects will be in an unequal position and all comparative assessments of management effectiveness will lose their meaning. In addition, there are a number of changes that, in principle, cannot be implemented only on one of the projects.

If the goal is to maximize the benefits, such changes should affect all actively existing projects of the organization. For example, the design and implementation of a project portfolio management process obviously requires the inclusion of a whole group of projects in the experiment. 


The implementation of a computer system for planning, managing and controlling a package of projects is another example when a researcher cannot fully work with only one project.

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