Sustaining Capability through Competency Development and Collaboration
Jaydeep Chakraborty

Organizations focus on business as usual as they transform their business operations. Initiatives that bring about business changes are achieved through projects. Such projects bring about benefits for the stakeholders and help the organization to achieve its strategic objectives.

In a rapidly changing and transforming world, the number and complexity of projects continue to grow. Any project of reasonable complexity can only be planned, managed, and delivered through project management tools and techniques, enabled by technologies. Besides business benefits, successful project execution demonstrate capabilities like problem solving, value delivery, and risk management.

Building and maintaining long-term relationships with customers can be achieved only through service delivery and solution excellence. Competency development for delivery roles is therefore a mandate to achieve the business objectives for any organization.

Large organizations also manage multiple service lines of their customers and handle stakeholders across the globe. An effective collaboration platform helps such global and diverse teams and functions to imbibe industry best practices, learn from experience, and leverage and enhance the tacit knowledge that leads to competency sharing and development.

Below are some aspects that an organization should consider in building project management capabilities.

1. Approach
Project management is one of the most important and crucial areas for customer engagement and is a key element in the successful outcome of any project. Any competency development program that blends the best of external certifications and internal practices enable project managers to handle projects systematically and effectively, leading to customer satisfaction. Project managers must continuously enhance their knowledge and project management skills to meet the high expectations of their customers. A large organization must follow time-tested activities as following:

  1. Building a framework supported by the necessary processes, tools, and systems

  2. Ensuring competency development through various training programs and the deployment while managing projects

  3. Enabling learning and sharing in the project management community

2. Deployment
The competency development program must be designed to help the progression of a project manager from acquiring basic project management and service management concepts to managing programs and portfolios. For a successful deployment an organization must:
  1. Ensure that the supporting processes, tools and systems are put in place

  2. Implement a framework for deploying training initiatives

  3. Design suitable training programs that reinforce project management fundamentals, and help develop soft skills (like effective communication, assertiveness, and negotiation skills), and leadership capabilities

  4. Develop competency and learning management platforms

  5. Implement an intranet-based knowledge portal to help store organizational knowledge – both explicit and tacit

  6. Create a mind-sharing platform for social networking at the organizational level

  7. Establish a governance framework to monitor and control using certain key performance indicators

  8. Institute rewards and recognition for high performing project managers

  9. Encourage employees to acquire external certifications and demonstrating thought leadership in external forums through paper presentations

  10. Learn from the experience of others through event management, collaboration through questions, polls, blogs, wikis, live chats, and project management webinars

Although face-to-face communication and interactions are the best, traditional classroom sessions that enable such communication may not be sufficient for a large organization. To help scale training programs, explore virtual training methods like video conferences and video-based learning.

3. Lessons Learned
Some of the lessons learned from a large organization:

  1. Sponsorship and buy-in from top level management and continued governance are the key factors for success

  2. An intranet-based knowledge portal with collaboration platforms leads to a knowledgeable global workforce

  3. Best practices and lessons learned from projects form a part of organizational process assets & reused in future projects

  4. Project management competency improves risk management, planning, stakeholder management, and teamwork in projects

  5. Change management teams promote awareness and acceptance of new project management processes and successful adoption by stakeholders

  6. While ensuring rigor in deployment, also demonstrate agility and continuous high value delivery for customers

(Jaydeep Chakraborty has over 20 years of experience in IT. He is a process deployment consultant at Tata Consultancy Services, Kolkata, and is responsible for driving project management competency in the organization.)

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