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In a matrixed organization without a PMO, where projects tend to be coordinated by different resources (perhaps a Team Manager, perhaps a technical lead, perhaps the person who proposed a given project), where none of the project coordinators have formal Project Management experience or training...

Are there any recommendations about the best way to start introducing the basics of project management to these people? People who would rather just "get the project" done than spend time attending a brown-bag training on even the basics of writing a project charter, work breakdown structure, capturing basic risks, performing basic communication status tracking/reporting?

  • What's the point of "introducing the basics" to these people? What goal do you want to achieve? – yegor256 Mar 28 '11 at 17:54
  • Excellent question yegor... Without a charter (or some definition of success/completion in advance), nobody knows if a given project is ever "done". Without communication, nobody knows how the project is progressing and who is doing what by when. Without defined ownership and accountability, work is duplicated or not completed because "somebody" else must be working on it. I suppose the problem to be solved is ensuring that projects are effectively completed if there is not a central office or person to approve, manage, and run. Perhaps the solution is to demonstrate effective management – Sean Earp Mar 28 '11 at 19:40
  • of the projects I can/do control, and gather some metrics I can share with stakeholders about the impact of investing time in formal project management practices. I suppose leadership needs to see that an investment in training and project management overhead results in worthwhile returns. – Sean Earp Mar 28 '11 at 19:44
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From your question and comments I get the impression that you really have a lot of convincing to do.

My suggestion would be to objectively make an analysis of what goes wrong or could be improved. From your examples I gather you already have a thorough understanding of that. Then show them how PM principles and techniques may give an answer to those problems and how it may improve the lifes of all those ad-hoc PM's.

Also check out the links I gave regarding 'Stealth Project Management' in a related question.

As a side-note: most people that I teach PM principles in my organisation, who have had no formal PM training, but have to juggle projects apart from their normal jobs, are really pleased and convinced after I have tought them the simple technique of the WBS.

Start with simple solutions for big problems; I would wait with formal methodologies or standards until you have made a few improvements.

Good luck!

  • +1 - Great suggestion on starting with simple solutions and for the reference to "Stealth Project Management". Small changes are easier for others to swallow than large, formal changes. – jmort253 Mar 29 '11 at 3:38
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If you're the PMO (which it sounds like from your question -- one-man PMO), brown-bags that are short and sweet might be the best way. Make sure they're short though (under an hour) and practical, so that whoever attends can see the immediate benefit of adopting whatever you're teaching.

Depending on how much people resist, you can hold informal seminars (eg. "lunch and learn" presentations during lunch), formal presentations, or even workshops. I would again stress that attendees must see the benefit, or they won't attend.

Personally, I decided to go the PMI route, and I'm glad I did; while their framework is clunky at times, it's comprehensive, and it covers pretty much all of the core concepts you need to learn along the way, along with practical advice (depending on how you study for it).

Other than that, it's up to whatever your creativity can muster!

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Isolate one project (as much as possible) and implement your PM discipline there. Achieve some results and make a summary of what you achieved. Demonstrate your results to the management. Try to convince them to give you enough permissions to do same things with other projects. If they agree - mission complete. If not, re-iterate with another project. After a number of failed re-iterations change the place of work.

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I'd say keep it problem/solution oriented. At least at first. If you're dealing with a group who sees no innate value in basic project management, then saying "do it because it's how other people do it" is not likely to be a sell.

But if you can link project management good practices to problems the teams are trying to solve - then you have a way to build advocates, because you are giving them something they need.

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