"Our plans miscarry because
they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind." - Seneca,
Roman philosopher (3BC - AD65)
Why use a Project Management Method?
The simplest answer is that is saves you the time of inventing your own!
Every project requires tools and processes to manage itself. Why reinvent the wheel, when someone else has done all the hard work for you?
What is a Project Management Method?
Not as obvious a question as it seems! Many of the dysfunctional behaviours
in IT departments stem from a limited understanding of what a PMM actually is.
A (non-specialist) Project Management Methodology includes two key elements:
The Project Management Framework which defines how all the different products should be
The Management Products (MP) that one would expect to find in any well managed and sizeable project.
As an example, in a project to move a team from one property to another, the
MPs would include a project definition and plan, just like any other project.
There would be IT specialist products (SPs) that define desktop requirements for the team at the new site. However,
there would also be stacking plans and architects drawings of the new floorplate (Facilities SPs in this case) that have nothing to do with IT or Projects per se.
Besides a PMM, what else do I need?
Gven that a PMM defines only the MPs and framework for a project, you will
also need a process for managing the IT development, including outline SPs for your Intranet Portal project. I have included thoughts on this in the Development Methodology section below.
So which PMM should I use?
There are a number of different PMMs in use in the UK and North America.
Many companies have their own in-house methods, as do consulting firms and systems integrators (SIs).
If you are keen to use an established methodology, as you do not have a
well-developed approach within your own organisation, then I would suggest taking a look at the PRINCE 2 methodology used by the UK government and many large UK companies.
The beauty of PRINCE is that its creators have made it available in the public domain and keep it
up-to-date for download on the Internet (see links in the panel right).
The PRINCE method is particularly strong in the area of governance and role definition. When fully implemented, it can be
cumbersome and bureaucratic, but the trick is to use only those parts of the method that are applicable to your project (based on it's size and scope).
Other methodologies also worth a look
The Association of Project Managers in the UK (APM) have developed a very interesting 'earned value' approach to project progress reporting, which takes into
account benefit realisation as well as costs and timescales (see links right).
There are a number of other methods available through paid subscription and you can find links to them though the
professional organisations and forums listed right.
Some final thoughts
Just remember that there is nothing frightening about a PMM. Many years of
mistakes and learning have gone into developing these methods and you would be wise to benefit from this. This is about good management, not bureaucracy!