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Improving project management through best practices & change management John Constance MSc in Project Management, University

of Liverpool Summary
It is practically impossible to manage projects, programs or portfolios without facing events that impact baseline plans and results require making changes to complete the initiative to success. This means all inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs of the project management process must be documented, implemented, monitored, evaluated, and certainly improved for the next project management activity to remain in business and retain a competitive edge. Today, organizations set maturity-level goals to achieve project management practice as a culture and way of doing day-to-day business. They use key best practices from their present way of doing project management and that of other successful organizations and use elements of change management to improve their project management culture. This paper analyses best practices to improve an organizations project management maturity level, and the elements of change management that can elevate the project maturity level of the organization. To case study the analysis the paper will describe and examine actions taken by the organization, DFCU, to improve its project management culture. Key best practices to improve organizational project management maturity level The Executive Director of Major Projects, Jonathan Simcock, in the forward of the Introduction and Guide to P3M3 Version 2.1 (2010), said the world is a place of change and uncertainty, wherein, businesses or organizations must repetitively adapt to the change stand no chance to contend with these new economic conditions or even remain competitive. As organizations venture to mature in the way they apply project management, best practices become an imperative part to enable organizations to change and improve in a controlled and adaptable environment. Best practices help increase product or service delivery quality and efficiency, and are used to improve project management maturity level of the organization. According to the OGC (2010) best practices including ITIL, managing successful programmes, and management of risk, P3O or portfolio, programme and project offices, management of portfolios, management of value, and P3M3 or portfolio, programme, and project management maturity model. However processes and planning systems for organizations to gain confidence and ability to deliver planned outcomes, to scope, on time, on budget, and quality will include the following practices: Maintain management control maintain strong leadership and direction, defined scope and steps or phases, potion of investment and review processes during the entire course of the project or activity. Conduct benefits management - make sure to clearly define all anticipated business change outcomes, ensuring they are measurable and is eventually achieved through a systematized approach supported with complete enterprise ownership. Conducting financial management always capture and evaluate all likely costs within the approved business case and categorized and managed this costs over the life cycle of the investment; showing evidence of involvement of appropriate financial functions, and organizational approvals.

Engage Stakeholders ensure engagement includes all levels of stakeholders (both internal and external) effectively to achieve support and engagement. Apply the required communications planning, and appropriate communications channels and techniques, in an ongoing and continuous process across all projects, programs and portfolios, parallel to the activitys life cycle and governance control. Continuously manage Risk maintain focus on balancing threats and opportunities, with fitting management actions that reduces or removes likelihood of threat happening, or reduces its impact if it does happen, and to increase opportunities. Maintain organizational governance deliver projects in alignment to the organization strategy or direction by maintaining activity start-up and closure controls and alignment during a projects life cycle. Conduct resource management - manage all the types of resources, including human, materials, tools and equipment, information, and other assets and supplies. This is vital for delivering the project successfully.

Key elements of change management to elevate an organization project maturity level According to the Office for Government Commerce (OGC) the key elements of change management include effectiveness, efficiency, improving, cutting, copying, experimenting, and accelerating. Effectiveness is doing the right things by learning about expediting, establishing expectations, meeting a formal guide, forming and defining. Also, effectiveness is gained through rules and procedures, problem finding and planning, Efficiency involves doing the right things right by learning the ways to do things, and developing, discovering and exploring new tools and techniques, and processes, achieved through basic expertise, expediting protocols and communication, and setting priorities. Improving is by undertaking things better learning new and improved ways to achieve efficiency and effectiveness, adapting to change in environment, as a whole, improving solution methods to issues and challenges. Cutting is letting go of usable or inapplicable or non-sustainable habits, such as the way of doing business, holding perceptions, and presumptions Copying is about implementing things the way others do things with success. Copying is getting to know what you do not know through observation and noticing. Copying is adapting, and also participating and listening differently to yourself and others. Different involves implementing things no one else is carrying out. It is about thinking differently, creating new ideas or methods out of old ideas or methods, exploring new areas, and managing risking differently. Impossible involves actions that cannot be done, or fast-tracking the rate of change, doing things beyond present rules and operations or roles. Raising is elevating project maturity level of an organisation through change management. It compliments the various levels of project maturity levels to make project management a culture.

Raising must be followed in a formal sequence to achieve a gradual and mature strength of the organization overall project management competency.

Dearborn Federal Credit Union (DFCU) Case Study According to Kerzner (2010) DFCU is a financial federal credit union service with more than US $1.7 billion in assets. It is located in Michigan, USA and among the US top 40 largest. The union noticed its success improving corporate culture increased its net income by 246%, achieving an increase due to effective project implementation. DFCU took specific actions that improved its project management culture. These included: Recognized change was in its best interest and initiated change Appointed a new president Made changes to its financial executive team Assessed its cultural balance sheet and planned to improve accountability in project execution, strategic planning and prioritize tactical, projects control through the business unit, reduced project management bureaucracy, increase empowerment Defines its brand to focus on the following: o Responsibility own and resolve all issues and complaints; and assigned large-scale initiatives to the business unit o Goals more effective strategically and plan tactically having the fit number of projects that could do done effectively, prioritising projects on whats best for the company and employees o Teamwork - provide optimal project environment o Empowerment - encouraged employees and members to speak freely on foresaw issues with negative impact on projects o Quality Put in place a process for rolling things out to the market, using simple project management forms and processes, setting priorities and resource allocation, and carry out pilots and feedback. Integrated its brands with simple set of Guiding principles: o Make their Day integrated with the brand action of quality; exploring several growth options, selecting a new core processing system conversion project strategically imperative for the companys growth. Make it Easy - integrated with the brand action of empowerment, establishing clear project ownership, and simplifying project planning and project tracking process. Become an Expert - integrated with the brand action of responsibility, teamwork and goals, optimizing the project environment through initiatives from business units.

The key action that did not benefit DFCU is the absence of a project maturity model to determine the organizations project management maturity level that influences project management practice, oversight and professional development _____________________________________________________________________________________ References Introduction and Guide to P3M3 Version 2.1 (2010) Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3 Available at P3M3model@ogc.gsi.gov.uk Office of Government Commerce: Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model, http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/p3m3.pdf Kerzner, Harold (2010), Project Management: Best Practices Achieving Global Excellence 2nd ed. Wiley Publishing