The ultimate purpose of any project management system is to drastically increase the likelihood that your organization will have a continuous stream of successfully managed projects. The best way to achieve this goal is with the development of a project management methodology. Good project management methodologies are based upon guidelines and forms rather than policies and procedures.
Methodologies must have enough flexibility such that they can be adapted easily to each and every project. There are consulting companies out there who have created their own methodologies and who will try to convince you that the solution to most of your project management problems can be resolved with the purchase of their (often expensive) methodology. The primary goal of these consulting companies is turning problems into gold: your problems into their gold!
One major hurdle that any company must overcome when developing or purchasing a project management methodology is the fact that a methodology is nothing more than a sheet of paper with instructions. To convert this sheet of paper into a successful methodology, the company must accept, support, and execute the methodology. If this is going to happen, the methodology should be designed to support the corporate culture, not vice versa. It is a fatal mistake to purchase a canned methodology package that mandates that you change your corporate culture to support it. If the methodology does not support the culture, the result will be a lack of acceptance of the methodology, sporadic use at best, inconsistent application of the methodology, poor morale, and perhaps even diminishing support for project management. What converts any methodology into a world-class methodology is its adaptability to the corporate culture.
There is no reason why organizations cannot develop their own methodologies. Companies such as Compaq Services, Ericsson, Nortel Networks, Johnson Controls, and Motorola are regarded as having world-class methodologies for project management and, in each case, the methodology was developed internally. The amount of time and effort needed to develop a methodology will vary from company to company, based upon such factors as the size and nature of the projects, the number of functional boundaries to be crossed, whether the organization is project-driven or non–project-driven, and competitive pressures.
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