When you think about project management, at the outset it seems so simple. You know what the customer wants, you plan the project down to the last detail, you get the resources and tools in place and you have well laid processes in place. Execution should be fairly straightforward. Yet, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2015: Capturing the Value of Project Management 2015, only 64% of projects meet their goals. The other way to say that is 36% of the time projects will fail. Customers don’t want to hear that. Stakeholders don’t want to see that. And project teams surely don’t want to get into projects knowing that.
What’s missing in the picture? If it isn’t the planning, tools, processes or resources, then what is it? Culture! According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2014 – The High Cost of Low Performance, high-performing organizations successfully complete 89% of projects, while low performers only complete 36% successfully. That’s the power of culture.
Project management success can be attributed to having the right people, tools and culture in place. (Read: Project Management = People + Tools + Culture). In this blog we will cover the culture aspect of Project Management.
We live in an age where technology and automation rule the workplace. Our every single movement is captured, measured and optimized. There are processes that tell us how to do our job effectively. But we have to understand that we are dealing with human beings, not robots. Culture is the glue that binds people together in a team and makes them contribute towards a common goal. Culture drives people to go beyond their defined roles and personal capacities to go the extra mile every time.
Culture breathes life into an organization, which otherwise is just a concrete tower with desks, chairs, computers and high speed internet. Building a high performance work culture takes time, effort and commitment across the board. It often stems from a set of values that the founders believe and live by. As the organization grows, offices change, people come and go, but values never get diluted. One example that always inspires me is Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard’s (of HP) Rules of the Garage. The company is over a 170 years old, but the principles are still so evident in the way they conduct business and treat their employees.]
Let’s look at the key elements that go into building a sustainable organizational culture.
Bill and Dave came up with Rules of the Garage in 1939, when they were just the two of them. To get generations of employees to believe in these principles over 180 years is a result of exceptional leadership. Leaders are torchbearers of organizational culture within the organization and ambassadors to the outside world. Apart from delivering business results, they play a crucial in driving culture across the ranks. Great leaders such as Jack Welch, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson have used their position and authority to carefully create organizational cultures that breed agility, innovation, customer centricity and excellence.
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One of most common grievances in companies is the lack of communication. Leaders are either not communicating their vision and organizational goals clearly or in a lot of cases the avenues for employees to be heard are not as effective as they should be. A healthy two way communication across the hierarchy is a must for project management success, especially in today’s global business environment. This keep surprises to the minimum and ensures everyone is working towards an agreed set of objectives.
The measure of good Performance is not just about the project outcome but also about effectiveness at every step along the way. Budget adherence, productivity, process compliance and quality adherence are few of the many parameters organizations need to measure themselves on. A culture that promotes transparency encourages people across the hierarchy to capture, measure and optimize for the greater good of the organization. Project Risk Management also relies on the fundamentals of a transparent culture, so that managers can raise flag risks well in time to plan mitigation. Everyone across the board then bases decisions on factual data, not assumptions. This inculcates a sense responsibility at all levels thus establishing collective accountability.
Employee and Customer Centricity
Richard Branson famously said: Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers. With so much focus on numbers, employees tend to become just resources. That sends the wrong message internally and externally. Employees don’t feel a sense of belonging and this in turn translates to poor customer experience. Leaders need to build and drive a work high performance work culture that gets people motivated to work towards a common goal. An organization that values its people demonstrates long term commitment to building a company with strong vision and fundamentals.
Building a culture is an organic process, also philosophical to a great extent. It requires vision, belief and focus. It is not an initiative driven by a person or a function. It requires every single person in the company to live and breathe a set of principles that are non-negotiable for the greater good. Look at history; it is culture that has taken companies through the tough times, the pay cuts, the tough market conditions and intense competition to come out on top. Culture drives to you wake up every morning and keep giving your best, rain or shine.
Celoxis is an enterprise class project management and PPM tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, time sheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for Enterprises globally, across Industry verticals. To know more visit www.celoxis.com