4. Understanding the Environment
A Top PM should not begin a project like a bull in a China shop.
Instead of forcing a methodology or project approach, the project manager should
perform an in-depth analysis of the environment, formal structure, informal structure,
culture, habits, tools, capabilities, and organizational assets at hand. Only
then can he or she start the journey of change.
While any PM understands
that the projects they're undertaking will have an impact on the organization,
Top PMs recognize that the organization similarly has an impact on their
Instead of a flawed, one-size-all mentality, Top PMs tailor
their approach by understanding their environment. In doing so, they're better
able to recognize the most pressing business needs, how organizations will adapt
or accept a solution, adoption, and which changes will be made to the solution
to achieve the right fit in delivering objectives.
While tailoring an effective
project management approach, Top PMs have to possess an in-depth understanding
of different methodologies, not only of different PM approaches but of business
analysis methodologies, change management frameworks, enterprise architecture
frameworks, and other useful analysis methods. This gives a PM the ability to
find the best-suited solution for the company at hand to deliver the project they
For example, if you are starting a project in an extremely
rigid hierarchical organization, where there is a lot of different approval levels,
the best approach may be a blended or hybrid project management approach. You
may carry out a structured requirements elicitation phase, with the requirement
approvals done in advance and then dividing the project into stages with formal
stage gates. In parallel, the PM could set up Agile-like iterative execution within
the development teams to capture the best practices of the iterative development,
despite running a more traditional project.
In summary, Top PMs will
respect company culture, while respectfully proposing new approaches and coaching
organizations in improving their project management practices. They recognize
that many organizations are at different points of maturity and readiness for
change, and see it as an opportunity, rather than a threat, to positively impact
each company's ability to implement project management best practices.
takeaway: "Project Managers should not blindly push their own agenda,
but should adapt to the organizations' ways of working, and deliver the change
slowly if needed."