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Is There a Standard to Project Execution? The Project Execution Maturity Model

Overview

What do managers do when their project teams are unsuccessful? You probably do what most managers do and send them for project management skills training. There is some evidence that shows more skills equates to better performance.

But this relationship between training and project performance is really just a correlation. Yes, training equips your team with valuable knowledge and fires up your team for success, but having a trained project team does not guarantee a successful project. We know this because after years and years, and millions and millions of dollars, we still have less than stellar results.

Watch this video below and learn what you need to build a foundation to consistently deliver projects on time, on budget, and in scope.

Is there a “best practice” in project execution? Hi, I’m Mark Woeppel, president of Pinnacle Strategies. Keep watching and I am going to show you what you need to build a foundation to consistently deliver projects on time, on budget, and in scope.

What do managers do when their project teams are unsuccessful? You probably do what most managers do and send them for project management skills training.

It’s a natural response – if project results are not improving, you help your team, improving their skills. There is some evidence that shows more skills equates to better performance.

But this relationship between training and project performance is really just a correlation. Yes, training equips your team with valuable knowledge and fires up your team for success, but having a trained project team does not guarantee a successful project. We know this because after years and years, and millions and millions of dollars, we still have less than stellar results.

Research shows us that current approaches to project management just do not seem to produce the outcomes that managers and customers want.
-According to one research group, “A staggering 39% of projects with budgets over $10 million USD failed.”
-In another study, after reviewing thousands of projects from hundreds companies across various industries in 30 countries, they found that only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed their projects.
-In a Harvard Business Review study of over 1400 projects, they found an average overrun of 27%; worse, one in six had a cost overrun of 200% on average and a schedule overrun of almost 70%.

The fact is that project success remains elusive.

It is time we rethink the traditional model of project management, and focus on project execution.

The traditional approach focuses on control; planning, procedures and policies.

The problem with control is that it achieves compliance, which is not the same as results.

Between project control and project execution, there’s a gap – a wide gap. Inside that gap, there are conflicting priorities…a multiplicity of tasks in progress….a misalignment between what’s measured and what’s meaningful…a failure to identify and adjust for risks…undetected obstacles and bottlenecks that block progress…and more ground-level factors that have not been, and cannot be, addressed by control alone. After all, no one has perfect control over events. Why do we keep pretending that we do?

The truth is, project success is governed by a set of principles and behaviors that have little to do with compliance and everything to do with responding to the day-to-day realities of what is actually happening.

So – how are you doing on execution? We know the results of execution, but the processes to lead an organization to successful execution are difficult to see. Especially in large organizations, where one cannot directly observe the behaviors and processes to deliver projects, you can’t see what processes and behaviors to change that will make a real difference in project results.

Fortunately, the processes and behaviors to deliver consistent results are well defined and quantified. These processes and behaviors form the foundation of the Project Execution Maturity Model.

The Execution Maturity Model assesses three levels of execution capability:
-Basic Collaboration,
-Improved Coordination, and
-Integrated Planning and Execution

Each level of maturity is a reflection of the organization’s capability to manage activity and time. Basic Collaboration typically extends to a local work group and the time frame managed extends to the completion of the tasks currently in work.

Improved Coordination extends the capability to remote work groups and looks at tasks in work and those to be completed in the near future. Matching future work with rough estimates of resource availability becomes the focus. The management of delivery dates becomes more important.

Once an organization has established a foundation of appropriate behaviors and focused communications, Integrated Planning and Execution takes on more importance. At this level, the traditional project management focus of planning activities and a closed loop process between planning and execution drives ongoing project performance improvement.

Learn more about how to improve project execution by reading some of our ebooks or watching more of our videos. Particularly, our Why do projects succeed or fail? The 12 Drivers of Superior Execution in Projects eBook includes some very practical information you can use right now to improve your project performance.

Improving projects is our business, so if you are looking to transform your project execution, let’s talk.

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