Developing New Project Managers, Take II

Yesterday I stated an approach to develop project managers who are either inexperienced or are “accidental” project managers, with experience but little formal training. I suggested an overview workshop, accompanied by a methodology (“how we do things here”) workshop and coaching and mentoring. Is this enough?

Actually, no, it is not. The culture needs to support this change otherwise the organization will revert to the prior way of doing things. Typically, an organization defined by the type of project manager we are talking about will not have a methodology in place or have implemented it in such a way that it supports the project managers and the projects. What is needed for such a methodology to be defined, developed, and deployed, if not already in place, and for the required organizational structures to be put in place to make sure it is followed.

How do we do this? First, clearly articulate the expectations:

  1. All projects must be approved before work begins.
  2. All projects must have charter and scope statements, etc, etc.
  3. All projects must have review processes in place. Here is where the organization can support the project managers.
  4. All projects must be closed by capturing and sharing lessons learned, returning resources to the organization, etc.

The key here is the review processes. While strict go/no go gates are a good first step, additional reviews are necessary to ensure the projects are making the necessary progress prior to getting to the go/no gates. Whether these reviews are formal or informal is something the organization needs to determine but they need to support the project managers in their efforts.

In addition, as articulated yesterday, coaching and mentoring should be in place to assist the project managers as they lead their projects. More on coaching and mentoring tomorrow.


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