The term project management refers to the process of controlling, organizing, planning, and supervising of the project tasks by a project manager to ensure the success of any given operation. No project can be undertaken without proper planning. It is, therefore, the role of a project manager to plan and organize the future course of actions, which would involve making arrangements, providing staffing, directing and monitoring. Essentially, a project manager ensures that duties are shared among the project team members in order to enable completion of the plan within the required time schedule. The aim of the paper is to analyze the project management maturity model and its impact on the success of a project.
To start with, the Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM) denotes the basic stages that a business can go through to achieve quality in project management. According to it, a particular level of an organization’s project management maturity can be reached through organizational efficiency, beneficial performance, and consumer satisfaction. For any organization to assess its project management maturity, it has to evaluate the knowledge of project management performance, which can be accomplished with the help of a project maturity model.
The primary aim of such a model is to establish the weaknesses and the strengths of any given project for the purpose of seeing the business opportunities within. It can, therefore, ascertain if a particular scheme succeeds or fails in generating consistent and justifiable outcomes. Project maturity model enables an organization to evaluate the maturity level and suggests any changes for improvement. Moreover, it also helps an organization to make any necessary recommendations and comparisons to other groups. In other words, the company itself can make self-assessment in terms of improvements. Project management maturity shows the progressive procedure that allows organizations to make constant improvements during the project course. It is a continuous process of monitoring the progress of a project until its completion that may be set, depending on the needs of the business, to the extent of particular degrees of maturity.
To be precise, the Project Management Maturity Model has five levels in determining the success of projects. The first level is the common language level: it involves providing training in project management and employment of project management experts. It encourages the utilization of a corresponding language in projects and enables the use of various project control apparatuses, patterns and forms. Accordingly, the second level is a set of standard processes, which involves increasing the funding for project management all over the organization. To ensure sustainability, it also requires the acknowledgment of the long term profits of project management and using the best possible strategy for future operations.
The third singular methodology level employs all methods into a collectively recognized project management approach. What is more, it also promotes a sense of collective accountability for the principles of project management. The fourth level is benchmarking, as it is essential for any project to reach a higher level of project management maturity through understanding the benefits of benchmarking. The last level is the continuous improvement: through assessing the lesson learned after the benchmarking process. It is thus important for an organization to conduct successive projects on the basis of the lessons learned from antecedents. Thus, an organization can apply the project management maturity model to increase their productivity by means of making changes and necessary improvements in future projects. Aforementioned can be ensured through the continuous improvement and training of competent staff, provided businesses constantly monitor the schedule and budget for effective project control. Some may say, it can be done through the feasibility study, defining scope and objectives of the projects. It is, therefore, the role of a project manager to guarantee that the project team is meeting the objectives and goals of the project in a proper manner, by monitoring the activities of the team and acting in agreement with the stakeholders’ and donors’ guidance.
Organization’s productivity can be increased through proper planning, the achievement of all tasks and overcoming milestones. Therefore, it is necessary for a project manager to implement project management strategy, which involves controlling tasks in a project. In detail, it involves choosing the goal and objectives, planning for the operational work in accordance with the schedule, sharing the tasks and distributing funds. Thus, the operation manager should work towards executing proper project management.
Importance of Organizational Strategy
Some may argue that an organization reaches successful project management maturity only through delivering a tactical plan. A well-formulated and implemented strategy institutes the grounds on which the company can produce, display and measure the degree of their success. However, many project managers discover that policy and its purpose as challenging to deliver. Nevertheless, the organizational strategy is critical to the success and sustainability of any organization for various reasons: strategy assists organizations to comprehend their organization and the essentials to its prosperity enable an organization to understand its major abilities, rule out and address its weaknesses and look for means of handling risks. Last but not least, strategy assists companies to search for ways to reach better results, productivity and increased profits. For such purposes earned value analysis can be valuable, though the standard method of measuring the achieved progress at any point of given time and prognosing future breaking points, which can be used as a part of a strategy acquired by a company. Such method integrates cost, schedule, and scope and can be used to forecast future performance and project completion dates.
In its essence, external environment tactical assessment plays a particular role in implementing long-term benefits and growth of a company. Trends in the external environment can impact business operations and organizational strategy is needed to advise on the way such changes should be handled. All in all, such a tactical way helps in creating a vision and direction for each project and for the whole organization at the same time, thus creating a mutual determination between them. Also, it sets the pace for achievement of goals and a set of actions in order to reach the goal, attends to every individual operating towards the same result, monitors that time and resources are being assigned due to the same objectives and purposes. It is important for an organization to come up with a well-formulated strategy that will lead to growth, productivity and benefits for present and future generations. Thus, the project leader should lead their team members to shared goals and objectives that will maintain the organizational focus as they work together in the same direction.
Clearly, a good strategy does not only allow a company to continue moving forward, but it can also establish its future vision through a dynamic performance of project supervisors. Such leaders, who are open to changes, will motivate its members and organize them towards achieving progress. Cooperation is essential for any organizational strategy, as it involves not only teamwork and mutual guidance, but bringing the team members to work efficiently and effectively in delivering their duties. Nevertheless, apart from allocating tasks to individuals, laying out datelines of progress is necessary for a good strategy, as it should expect and make emergency plans in case of obstacles that may arise in the future. Although it enables an organization to have its methodologies and processes evaluated according to management best exercises, a project strategy also provides room for self-assessment of each project. In such a way it allows the company to clearly define all of its objectives so that each member may be informed and meanwhile encouraged to use their own experience, to be a part of the changes that occur during maturation. In the long run, that will become the beginning of the project strategy becoming overly successful.
Objectives of the Model in Achieving Success of a Business
Project management needs to link to objectives to achieve the required results, which are generated through the analysis of ideas and accomplishments. The overall goal of project management is to coordinate and control activities to complete the project in compliance with the precedential analysis of all possible threats. Though effective objectives need to be set during project initialization, as this will lead to achieving an accurate result, they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). In most cases, the project team is required to move from minor objectives as they head towards achieving the primary purpose to arrive at a particular outcome in certain individually productive steps.
In particular, the objectives have to be stated in a manner that will allow the organization to achieve the required results, thus it will have some fundamental elements. Firstly, it has to obtain a particular level of performance and quality, as the final product of a project must meet the requirements for which it was created. Secondly, the project will have to meet the budget and be accomplished without surpassing the approved spending. In particular, financial frameworks are not always unlimited, and a project might be restrained altogether if resources end before termination. Thirdly, the time of completion means that all important stages of a project must be undertaken within the specified dates, so they are completed on or before the end date. It is argued that the time limit objective is essential as late submission of projects is unpleasing to the donors and stakeholders. All things considered, success and efficiency are obtained only in case all of the objectives are met in accordance with the main strategy.
Project Management Communication
Another major issue is a skill that is required on all projects to initiate and complete a project effectively. A project manager must utilize the skill of communication in outlining and executing projects. Social relations are very essential among the stakeholders, the project team, as those are diverse groups of people, who work together as a unit in their daily activities to benefit the organization. The complicacy within the project may arise out of cultural, geographical, organizational, gender, age, religious and education factors and each of them should be fixed through individual and group communication sessions. Therefore, project management communication is challenging at times, but, a successful project management communication requires the contribution of all participants and the readiness of each of them to commune and share. Communication can enable the group to address challenges collectively, appreciate the concerns of individual team members and of the sponsors for whom the project team delivers the task. The main role in communication plays not so much oral language but body language, and it is the duty of the project manager to make the best use of the effectiveness of communication within the team by leading as an example using both. This can be attained by being present and communicating efficiently with all levels of project members. Besides, a successful project management communication depends on being able to debate on the up-to-date matters and cost-effective challenges regardless of individual statuses and prejudices.
The project communication issues also include communication of one’s vision, as some claim it to be the inner purpose of the project accomplishing. By discussing one’s view of the project, problems, incentives, costs, objectives, results, a project manager, the essential part of whose duty is the communication of project status with the project team and other attracted parties, can move the parties closer, which will be beneficial to everyone. Strong presentation skills are, thus, necessary for a successful project manager as, given the possible geographical and the organizational variety within the project team, they need to consider how the team can socialize and apply tools to enable well-organized and shared communication to avoid the complications to which the lack of it might lead.
The other important feature of good communication is the ability to understand what is being communicated; this involves adding to the communication individual’s feeling together with the reasons for their discussions. In this way, one can better understand what they are saying, the reasons why they are stressing one or another subject. It can only be achieved through the communication process that understands the experiences of each party through contact with their emotions. For instance, if the project stakeholders do not convey the right information to all members, it may cause communication problems, which could lead to interruptions, confusion, frustrations, job conflicts and disagreements in stakeholder expectations. Therefore, employing effective communication methods is vital to project success.
The methods of communication can be divided into three broad groups. Interactive communication, which is also considered to be active, assumes for all stakeholders involved to respond to each other instantly. Examples of this process include face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, telephone calls, and messenger talks. Face-To-Face communication is the most efficient as there is immediate feedback, and one can simultaneously observe body language and facial expressions of the recipient. This method is also more effective if the project manager needs information from stakeholders, and one can just gather them in a room and brainstorm together. The second is the push communication method, which is passive: information is relayed without getting any feedback from the recipients. This method can be used by stakeholders to notify members about any press releases, commonly used in project undertakings and by organizations. An example of the push communication is giving information through email or voicemail, as in such cases feedback is not required. The third method is pulled communication, which is mostly used for large audiences that require accessing data at their disposal. For example, in a large project in case one has conducted training for a set of stakeholders, after its completion, to ensure that members assess the training material once more, one can upload the slides and other backup materials into a corporate intranet. Such information can be used for future reference, thus proving to have the most efficient usage opportunities.
Importance of Stakeholders to Project Manager
Stakeholders in any given project are individuals who contribute directly or indirectly towards the success of the project. They are individuals who are concerned about or have invested some interest in the project. Usually, the stakeholders are actively involved in the operational stages and have something to lose or gain as a result of the project. The top management assists the project manager with working on detailed plans, identification and addressing milestones of the project, advances status reporting methodology to be given out on a scheduled basis and informs the project manager of the potential risks and the impact of the project. However, the project sponsor, who is an executive in the organization, has an overall authority to distribute resources and make decisions regarding the project, the other stakeholders are the beneficiaries, subcontractors, suppliers and the government. By the way, the project manager, project team, and managers from other departments are also considered as stakeholders. As a project manager, one needs to analyze the stakeholders, understand their expectations, involve and inform them of the purpose of relating to them despite the social differences. What is more, it is the duty of the project manager to update the stakeholders on the progress of the projects. Stakeholders can also finance the project and act as linkage agents, thus, their role is vital in the project implementation process.
More than that, the project leader also has to work in close cooperation with the team in solving project problems and accomplishing tasks, establishing goals and objectives. As the resource managers assist the project manager in the provision of resources, the manager should maintain a good relationship with them to acquire the best staff and proper equipment for the project. The external consumers assist the manager in the marketing stage of the products, whereas the government provides the regulatory environment for project undertakings. The contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers provide expertise to the project, as most of the projects depend on the goods offered by external suppliers. They work together with the team and the operational manager in the progress of the project and to its completion. They are essential for the success of the project in advising and holding meetings to ensure that the projects are heading in the right direction.
The Uses of Project Quality and Earned Value Analysis
It is worth mentioning that project quality is essential as it ensures the meeting of beneficiaries’ needs. The aim of the project quality is to outline tasks meant to deliver products with the purpose of achieving consumer’s quality expectations. Project quality evaluates the accordance with the project’s relevance and beneficiary satisfaction. It enables the project team to manage the responsibility of every stakeholder and conveys document control at all stages. For the purposes of project quality, the project team can be even taking special training for them to help in maintaining quality records and audits. Hence, it is critical for the project team to develop a project quality plan on the basis of interconnected information. The aim of it is to create awareness of possible quality assurance. In such a case, the project managers can arrange the settling of any complication during project execution, and it translates to quality standards being met.
Project team members should address the problems, and avoid making the same mistakes in future projects, thus, the ability to predict on the basis on past projects is a primary necessity. Some minor changes, if unforeseen, can lead to different outcomes, which from some miscommunication, small undertaken risks, inexperienced execution of plans by stakeholders or management can grow to destroy the operation completely. Thus, there is a need to adjust one’s attitude in case of project failure and be ready for any outcome.
Earned Value Analysis is an essential tool used for keeping track of the progress of projects. For this reason, it allows doe early detection of problems or limitations when it comes to costs incurred. The analysis involves calculating the time taken to accomplish a particular project and the resources incorporated. These amounts are then compared with the actual values to determine if the project is on schedule or is late. In other instances, if the resources used are more than planned, it means the project is carried out inefficicently. It is always a difficult task to meet deadlines if monitoring and follow-up are not in place. To accomplish projects at the required time using the limited resources enables the project to withstand other external factors. This is the reason why Earned Value Analysis is paramount. The tool enables cost control and planning of activities for easier functioning.
An example of a troubled project is one that entails poor planning. If the project involves the introduction of new public toilets, there is the need to plan o the number of users and its benefits. Without a proper planning strategy, the project is likely to incur more costs and take time before its completion. In most cases, the project may involve determining the required level of these toilets by the public. If the benefits are more than costs, then the projects are considered viable. However, a troubled project will have vague objectives. Additionally, failing to clearly put in place the main objectives might result in so many unnecessary changes during the implementation of the project. Successful projects are those with well laid down project plans and objectives. The risk management strategy should be well planned to avoid any extra costs of challenges that might arise. Also, these projects should meet the expectations of the stakeholders with their easier contribution and giving feedback on the progress.
In conclusion, an organization with the ability f improving its project management is likely to succeed than one that is ineffective. Having a well-trained project management team is essential because they ensure that every aspect is done without omission. The need to have well-planned activities is the characteristic of a well-performing organization. it is necessary for organizations to conduct organizational project management maturity assessment, as it is proven to be beneficial to the overall success of each individual project as well as of the company in general. The assessment will determine whether the firm is on point with each project requirement and does not allow for any mistake that will hinder proper implementation. It allows to measure the level of maturity step by step, shows project progress, strengths and weaknesses, and proposes the usage of various devices to improve the overall status. The essential importance of quality project management should be evident in project succession. Moreover, essentially important for the project team members is to develop SMART goals before the project implementation phase and provide day-to-day overall communication until the project execution. In such an environment the expectations of participants raise gradually as it shows proper planning and efficient use of resources. All in all, a project management maturity method is necessary for any professional organization that cares altogether about the process as well as about the successful results.