Avoid the Heavy Cost of Low Project Management Maturity

“Stop being so immature!” might have been something you were told as a kid. And while you likely rolled your eyes and muttered “whatever…” under your breath at the time, you probably didn’t realize that immaturity can still be an issue in your professional life—except we’re not talking about cracking jokes during meetings or pranking your colleagues. Instead, we’re talking about the impact low project management maturity can have on your organization.

A market study conducted by ProjectManagement.com asked organizations to rank where they thought their maturity fell on a scale of 1-5:

  • Level 1 – Low maturity with no formal process
  • Level 2 – Some governance/intake control
  • Level 3 – Full intake and project tracking
  • Level 4 – Intake, project tracking and budgeting
  • Level 5 – Formal framework, dedicated project managers, intake, tracking, budgeting, capacity planning, etc.

The study found an encouraging 30.4% of participants reported being at level 5, while a worrying 42.6% indicated that their organizations were operating at level 1 or 2.

That’s all fine and good, but if you’re wondering what the real differences between the opposite ends of the project management maturity scale are, it’s simple. Organizations at the top end of the scale are consistently delivering projects successfully, and those on the lower end of the scale are likely struggling to do so. That may sound overly simplistic, but these struggles lead to tangible outcomes that can have potentially detrimental effects on an organization.

We asked what percentage of projects achieved business goals and the average response showed that only 7.4% reported less than 50% of their projects succeeded, which is encouraging. However, what we also found is that based on that same metric, organizations at levels 1 and 2 were six and a half times more likely (14.3%) to have more than half of their projects fail versus a mere 2.2% of level 5 organizations.

Just let that sink in for a moment—six and a half times more likely to have more than half of their projects fail. Wow.

Another area of focus was benchmarking how successful organizations are when it comes to keeping their projects on schedule and on budget—specifically at a rate of 70% of the time or greater. On average, respondents reported more success with keeping projects on budget (52.7%) than on schedule (41.9%), but when we looked at the high and low ends of the scale, we found that level 5 organizations were at least twice as likely to achieve these project outcomes than level 1 and 2 level organizations.

So, while these metrics are certainly interesting—and perhaps even startling, we still wanted to get to the bottom of why this is the case. What we found is that project governance (or lack thereof) seemed to be the main predictor of project success or failure. And within that sphere, the areas that showed some of the widest gaps were resource capacity planning, formal project intake/governance reviews, and the existence of a formal project management office (PMO).

But fear not! Becoming a level 5 organization does not need to be the goal here. For many organizations, the focus should simply be on improvement—and that is very much within reach with the right amounts of information, effort, and commitment.

Leveling Up Project Management with TeamDynamix

With a staff of more than 450 employees, Kern Health Systems works with health care providers to make sure members get the medical care they need. LaVonne Banks, director of Kern Health Systems’ enterprise project management office (EPMO), oversees a team of 10 project managers who ensure the organization’s many projects are completed successfully.

About 90 percent of the organization’s projects have a technical component, such as integrating new state or federal rules and regulations into the software systems that Kern Health Systems uses to authorize procedures and process claims. These projects can range from just a few weeks to more than a year in duration, Banks says.

Previously, department heads would describe their project requests using a Word document and would submit this form to Banks’ office by email. EPMO staff would maintain a shared spreadsheet with information about projects that were proposed, approved, and underway.

However, this process was inefficient, and project managers did not have easy visibility into the status of projects. Looking to improve its project management process, Kern Health Systems implemented TeamDynamix in the summer of 2021.

Now, EPMO staff leverage TeamDynamix to manage the project requests and intake process.

With a simple and intuitive user interface, TeamDynamix makes it easy for project managers to evaluate project requests, approve and prioritize initiatives, assign resources and track and report on progress. TeamDynamix helps EPMO staff keep projects on course, establish clear expectations, and allocate resources more effectively.

“With TeamDynamix, I always have a source of truth on project data,” Banks observes.

Using TeamDynamix brings greater transparency to the project management process. It also saves Banks and her staff a great deal of time when they want to understand the status of projects and report this to organizational leaders.

“I love the platform’s reporting features,” she says. “They’re super easy to use. Being able to pull reports and quickly see real-time data is wonderful.”

Another key benefit of TeamDynamix is that it helps EPMO staff get out ahead of potential issues before they become full-blown problems. While some challenges are beyond the control of project managers, having greater insight makes it more likely that projects will be completed on time and under budget.

“We can quickly identify resource constraints and make adjustments when unexpected circumstances arise,” Banks says. “Because we can identify these issues earlier, we have a better chance of staying on top of resource management.”

Better transparency leads to more accountability and, ultimately, a higher success rate on projects.

When you consider that project portfolio management tools can cost several times as much for similar features and functionality, “the value of TeamDynamix is incomparable,” Banks concludes.

The Benefits of the One Platform Approach for Projects and ITSM

By bringing IT service management (ITSM) and PPM together on a single platform, you can better understand your resource capabilities and engage in true resource capacity planning.

With resource capacity planning you get a big-picture view of your entire IT organization, allowing you to balance workloads across projects and support; and to see the different types of work that need to be done at any given time.

For example, if you have three IT technicians that need to cover three functional areas of business – like service, projects and operations – you can engage in resource capacity planning and optimize each technician’s workload based on their skill set and their availability. As a result, the work can be completed more effectively and efficiently as each technician is focused on work that plays to their strengths. And because you have a full view of the work and the time it will take, you can avoid overcommitting or underutilizing your resources.

This approach is especially useful when you have limited resources, but an increase in demand for the support of remote learning and remote workforces. By having that single view of all projects and resources, companies are better equipped to face these challenges head-on.

Better Together: City of Sunnyvale Gains Single View of Tickets & Projects

Hema Nekkanti, project management office manager for the City of Sunnyvale, touts the benefits of bringing IT service management (ITSM) and project portfolio management (PPM) together on a single platform, “With one platform now we can actually see the tickets that are being worked on as well as the projects that are in the pipeline,” she said. “This gives us the ability to actually allocate the resources appropriately, and there’s no resource conflict.”

Eddie Soliven, infrastructure services manager, finds great value in the dashboards provided within the TeamDynamix platform. Nekkanti agrees, “The dashboards are the coolest things in TeamDynamix, I enjoy creating them as well as using them,” she said.

Nekkanti said she and her team use the dashboards internally to view projects in the pipeline as well as tickets. At Sunnyvale, each department has its own dashboard specific to their projects and tickets – within these dashboards they can view both the entire portfolio of work across the city, as well as their own projects.

“It’s all there, and when they drill down into each of those projects they can tell how far they are into the project. There’s a Gantt chart that shows the execution time and when the start time of each project is,” Nekkanti said. “This actually helps us (in the project management office) and those in the departments to understand exactly where the projects are and when they can be finished.”

Soliven said the dashboards also give him a good snapshot of the condition of Sunnyvale’s systems and where the service requests lie, as well as where the bottlenecks are, “It gives us an opportunity to address those in the background proactively.”

CIO Boutte said she highly values the resource management visibility she gets from TeamDynamix, “We really needed that visibility, and it’s why this has been such a great tool for us. Having both the service side and the project side means I can see whether my team is working on a ticket or a project and how busy are they? I get visibility into their availability, and I can forecast more accurately to know that I am not overworking staff or that we’re not just sitting on the bench twiddling our thumbs.”

To learn more about IT resource optimization and see how other organizations are using ITSM and PPM together check out:

This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated with new information.

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