Friday, November 13, 2015

Evidence driven Project Management competency improvement

In Large and medium organizations, the competency improvement needs are identified using a top down approach.  This approach  helps in taking the organization to the next set of competencies, based on the process/product/technology road maps and assessment of the current competencies.  The needs so identified  are addressed  through the competency improvement of the individual employee, while addressing his/her career preferences. While this is usually helpful as a first step and results in a set of trainings, this  may not help address the deficiencies fully.  I take project management as an example and present an approach for assessing the competency gaps and tailoring an improvement solution that can be driven by Project Management Office (PMO) or equivalent role.

As we know when a  software projects is challenged, root causes are identified and a solution to address the same is implemented. This is more likely to be adhoc and may fail to address  deficiencies holistically. PMOs can  follow the structured approach below as a better alternative.

1) In the recent review period( last month/quarter/year), identify the challenges faced  by each project,  assigning one or more of  the 22  anti patterns (examples: Detailitis plan, Road to Nowhere, Micro management) compiled and  analysed by Pedro Silva, "Software Project Management Learning from Our Mistakes", IEEE Software, May/June 2015 pp 40-43.  This could be tailored as appropriate.

2) Perform a statistical analysis on the anti patterns to identify the top  anti patterns.

3) Identify the impacted roles and root causes.

4) Based on the above, identify the solution from one or more of the suggested solution types (process/role/technology/training).

5) Work with internal/external solution providers to implement the corrective actions spanning process redesign/training/coaching  etc.

6) Repeat the above steps to see whether  the solution  has yielded results.

In my extensive experience in industry, the first and last steps are  not given due importance with the result that the competency improvement remains weak at best. Do you agree? Share your views.