Creating a Project Management Methodology: Building an Effective Road Map

Now that we have taken a high-level look at the three key parts of the project life cycle, it’s time to start mapping our project management methodology to the typical phases or stages found in our current projects. If you have an existing Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) this is the time to dust it off and use it! If not, it’s time to build one!

In a way, we are building a Work Breakdown Structure for our new project management methodology, starting with the top down project management framework:

This framework for our project management methodology needs to be mapped and merged with our existing or new SDLC across both its activities, key review gates and expected deliverables. For example, let’s look at a generic SDLC for software development:

We will need to define the steps, activities, deliverables and review/decision points for the new project management methodology. This will be the framework that is mapped to the phases of our SDLC. For example, the activities found in the controlled start of the method will primarily map to the Initialization phase of the SDLC. We will have to decide which pre-project and initialization are to be performed by the project manager and the project management team.

It is important to review any existing project documents from the Initialization stage in the SDLC to see what they contain and how they are currently used. It is then time to decide who needs to review and approve our project at the end of this stage and what deliverables they require in order to make that decision. It is also essential to decide what the project manager needs to have in place in order to effectively manage both the overall project and the more detailed next stage of the project. Do we need a Project Charter, an overall Project Management Plan, the Project Scope Statement, and/or a Next Stage Plan for the Requirements Development stage? This is where we decide.

Be systematic in defining and mapping your project management method to your SDLC one phase at a time, looking at both management and technical deliverables, control and decision points and how to best manage this project across its life cycle. This is a time consuming step, but it pays dividends by creating a practical method that is both understandable and well-defined.

Susan Weese

Using the PMBOK® Guide to Build a Practical Project Management Process – Position Paper

This Position Paper offers an instructive and insightful approach to applying the various principles of the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition) when building a project management process that aligns with the unique needs and structure of your organization.  Download your free copy here!

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