Are you using the ‘best practice’ possible?

10 October 2012 | By Catherine Wheatcroft

This may be a simple question to answer: are you delivering projects on time, are your customers satisfied, are your project costs under control and are you ahead of your competition? I am sure that project managers and business leaders would like to believe that they can confirm the answer is yes, but that is difficult to do unless backed up by factual evidence.

The real trick to answering this question is to find a reliable and effective method of drawing out the ‘evidence’ based on real projects that are or have happened. So here’s a quick quiz for you to take and see if you can reliably provide the evidence to state you practice ‘best practice’.

There are 10 statements – how many can you answer ‘Yes’ to?
1. Customers rate your business highly on its ability to deliver on time and within budget.
2. Your team have specific targets and are held accountable for delivering successful projects that maintain your current high levels of customer satisfaction. These targets are regularly reviewed to keep in line with your business goals.
3. You have a simple and systematic approach across your business for managing and providing visibility of every project to all stakeholders.
4. There are documented and followed procedures in place for continual review of a project at every critical stage. The results and knowledge from these reviews is shared amongst project teams and management.
5. Communication and visibility of best practice is shared and instilled throughout the team, whether that is ground workers, sub-contractors or project management teams.
6. All team members know where to source knowledge and information on previous projects, so that mistakes are not repeated and good practice always followed.
7. The implementation of projects generally runs smoothly within the business, so over 50% of the business focus can be aimed at identifying and pursuing new opportunities and driving new growth initiatives.
8. You have created a ‘no blame’ culture within the business, with effective strategies for teams to deploy that create continuous improvement.
9. You regularly win tenders from your competition based on great client testimonials and references of well deployed projects.
10. Your project teams are fully engaged with the client, suppliers, sub-contractors, onsite personnel, project expectations and required deliverables.

How did you do? Mark yourself out of 10.
If you got a score of 9 or 10, your business will be profitable, efficient and able to hold strong through even the toughest economic times. Congratulations!
If you got a score of between 6 and 8, your business is in a good position and has some good processes and systems in place to maintain competitive edge, but there is likely to be a further 20% improvement that could be made across the project management life cycle.
If you scored 5 or less, you need to take some pragmatic steps to understanding how projects are failing in timescales, costs or lack of communication. You have huge potential to make huge improvements and better your position in the market to win more and better contracts in the future.