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The importance of a good project management process is based on the methodology used. Not only will a good methodology improve your performance during project implementation, but it will also allow for better customer relations and customer confidence in your company. Developing a effective methodology may not be as complicated as you would think. There are four essential building blocks to the development of a workable methodology. If present, these building blocks can lead to the development of an effective project management methodology in a reasonably short time frame. The four building blocks are:
- Recognition by upper management that a methodology is needed
- Upper-level management support
- Overall commitment to the development process
- Utilization of the PMBOK for the methodology development
Developing a standard project management methodology that includes the majority of a company's projects, and is also accepted by the entire organization, can be somewhat difficult. The hardest part might very well be making sure that the methodology supports both the corporate culture and the goals and objectives set by management. There are several ways that a company can develop a methodology for project management, they are:
- Outsourcing: Some companies have template methodologies that can be used as a basis for
- Developing your company's methodology. This can be beneficial if the template method is flexible and adaptable to your company.
- Hiring a consultant: Consultants are experienced in analyzing and developing an organization's needs, then working with management to develop the project management methodology.
- Develop your own: Companies that develop their own methodology internally have greater success, especially if they incorporate their own best practices and lessons learned.
For companies who decide to internally develop their project management methodology, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has developed a set of knowledge areas that you can utilize as a guide. There are several great project management software applications on the market to support whatever methodology you choose. Joe Taylor's invaluable review of the best project management software for under $100 can help you get an idea of what software is on the market. Keep in mind that there are characteristics of good methodologies that you should include in your organization's methodology:
- A maximum of six life cycle phases
- Life cycle phases that overlap
- End-of-phase gate reviews
- Integration with other processes
- Continuous improvement
- Customer oriented
- Company-wide acceptance
- Use of templates
- Critical path scheduling
- Simplistic, standard reporting
- Minimization of paperwork