CXO' not happy with project management? Really, what a surprise. PMForum reports a study - not sure in the statistical confidence of the study - that CXO's see PM as critical, but have little confidence in PM's.
Why? Here's why from the hands on experience in IT and hands on experience in defense and space. Our defense programs are troubled all the time. It's a project. That's what projects do. But here's the problem in many IT organizations. Project Management is an afterthought. In defense PM is mandated. There is no choice, we must have a Performance Measurement Baseline, we must report progress to plan every month at the least, and in some programs every two weeks. Physical Percent Complete, not some developers opinion of when he'll be done.
The Statement of Work, the Work Breakdown Structure, the Control Accounts, the Work Packages that produce outcomes, the oversight of all this, and all the other "Program Planning and Controls" roles are mandated.
All this, and we still have issues. Changing requirements, technological problems, subcontractor problems, staffing problems. With all those going on in IT AND none of the oversight and progress reporting, no wonder the CXO's have no confidence. They get what they deserve. PM costs money, don't spend the money? Then as Dr. Phil say "how's that work'in for ya?"
Time to face up to the fact the projects require Project Management. Project Management is a verb. It is NOT fundamentally touchy feely stuff many PM experts talk about. It's about the hard core definition of what done looks like, the units of measure of done, the processes that measure done in terms meaningful to all the participants, corrective actions to the plan when done is not being reached on the planned date for the planned cost.
Folks in heavy construction, defense, space, high risk domains all have a chuckle when they hear about the silliness of IT PM methods that don't contain the immutable principles of project management.If you're managing projects and don't have the project laid out along these lines, you're headed for the ditch and probably don't know it. No amount of interpersonal skills development, no amount of "agile development sticky notes," no amount of anything is going to help in the absence of:
- A description of the needed capabiltiies of the system in the form of scenarios or use cases
- A description of the requirements needed to fulfill the Use Cases or Scenarios
- A Performance Measurement Baseline of the Work Packages and Planning Packages needed to perform the work.
- A process to measure physical percent complete in units meaningful to all the project participants.
- A continuous risk management process for both technical and programmatic activities of the project.