This chapter discusses how an organization can be said to have project management competence. It describes an organization that supports doing its work through projects. This still bothers me, since we were told by these authors that projects are not daily work. Let's see where they want to take us.
We see in the first set of bullet items on page 402 that the organization makes strategic plans for projects. It seems to use projects as the basis of their business.
We see a repeat of the advice about choosing projects, and choosing team members to work on them. The text expands the idea of project teams to explain that this organization may have a core team or a full time team established for projects. The core team has permanent members who handle business and technical issues, and also has "performing" members who are added to the team for particular projects. A full time team will have permanent members of both sorts.
We should move ahead to page 405 where the text presents a checklist of three critical project problems and possible causes for each of them. It may be useful to review this list in order to watch out for the underlying problems that may cause them. The bottom line seems to be that a competent organization will avoid these problems by avoiding the underlying causes.
Page 406 offers another set of things we should do, this time organized by the length of a project. There are fewer things to do with a short term project (the text calls them small projects). The common ideas are good for any project.
For a short assignment, compare the three lists of considerations on pages 406 and 407. Find the common themes and list them in your own words.
Page 407 turns to projects that are failing. The text describes a project that is not meeting its goals, a manager who has been overcome by stress, and a team that has worked too many hours to be effective any longer.
The text tells us that a good team leader will be watching for signs of the problems above, and will take action to change the team's behaviors that are leading to project failure. The bottom of page 410 shows us a list of symptoms that should alert a manager to problems with staff members.
On page 411, the text begins a section of advice about helping staff recover from the conditions listed above. Some of the advice is repetitive. No doubt this is due to the idea that readers of the book will be looking only at the sections that apply to their current interest. Despite that, the advice seems sensible"
The text continues this theme with several suggestions for preventing staff burnout. Some will apply better than others in specific projects or job situations, but they may all be considered.
The text turns to the subject of a project that needs to be recovered (salvaged) on page 415. A list of signs
that a project has problems appears on page 416. The obvious solution
to many of them is to address the problem stated in the symptom. Better
plans and better communication would address several of the points. The
text says that recovering a failing project takes smart thinking. This
means that we must perform some troubleshooting to find symptoms, to determine causes, and to plan corrective action.
The list on page 417 gives us many things to check, but does not
address what to look for, what not to look for, or what to do about
what we find in several cases. In actual practice, it may be best to
start at the project plan, and to examine each part of the project
related to the problems you have noticed.
Page 419 has a quick plan to recover a project, assuming it is suffering from the problems these steps address:
The chapter continues with more material that repeats other portions of the text.