How many local authorities created their own project management framework 12 years or so ago?
How many of these frameworks are now lost or gathering dust, or, at the very least, under used?
Out of the hundreds of local authority staff I train each year, from councils with existing frameworks only 10% of delegates know they exist. When asked if they have ever seen or used any element of these frameworks the number drops below 4%.
This does not mean that good project management is not happening in these authorities. However, it does mean that all the work that went into building these frameworks, and the benefits this work was intended to achieve, is not being fully realised.
So why is it so important to dust off these frameworks and encourage more staff to use them? Here are some of the benefits of having a standard approach to your project management:
Improved efficiencies – less time wasted reinventing the wheel with individual versions of documentation or searching for documents saved in different locations.
Increased clarity – everyone speaks the same language when referring to documents, stages & roles.
Increased consistency – decisions have consistency behind them - ‘this is the way we always do this…’
Increased confidence – if everyone follows the same rules when making decisions, naming and saving documents etc, then they will have more confidence in making decisions.
Skills development – a standard approach gives new staff more chance of developing relevant skills to use throughout their careers.
Improved flexibility – it is much easier for staff to move between projects or get involved in multiple projects when the roles, terminology, documents and rules are the same for all.
Whilst project management has certainly not stood still in the last 12 years, it has not changed so dramatically that a 12-year-old framework cannot easily be dusted off and updated.
What you then need is someone to re-energise the framework – remind everyone that it exists, promote its use, and support those who need help in using it.
There used to be a healthy attitude toward the project management office within the local authority sector and this has shrunk as the resources have been tightened.
A small investment in your existing resource would lead to a huge return in the improvement in project success.
Sarah Wilson is a project manager, project management advisor, and trainer from 54 Degrees.