May 14, 2009

The Soft Side of Practicing Hard Skills

Posted by in Culture & Change Management, Project & Program Management, Performance Measurement, Resource Optimization, Site News | 4 Comments

Debbie's comment regarding improved employee morale being an ancillary benefit of project management brings to mind a discussion I had with a client CIO last year who had been wondering about measuring the benefits of the project management and portfolio management methodologies he had introduced into his organization. Naturally he was thinking about “hard numbers” such as projects completed on time and in budget.

This CIO had not yet thought about measuring the human benefits he was achieving: the sense of satisfaction the staff would receive from knowing they were working on projects that were important to the company, the sense of accomplishment associated with achievement of commitments they had made, the feeling of belonging to a team with a common objective. As someone who had been doing project-based work for the past 30 years, I knew that working with a good PM, reasonably applying PMBOK® Guide-aligned processes, was a much more positive experience than working with a “shoot from the hip” PM.

When I shared my experiences with this CIO and we discussed measuring these indirect benefits, he realized that yes, perhaps there was something there to be surveyed and considered. And, no surprise, the results of his HR survey were aligned with Jeannette’s comments (in her post Agility Happens!) regarding employee satisfaction improvements.

Project management, when practiced right (just enough project management process, as indicated by the risk profile of the project) definitely has a positive impact on employee morale and turnover rates.


(24 votes. Average: 2.5 out of 5)

4 Comments on The Soft Side of Practicing Hard Skills

Sue Massey says:

I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
Very interesting posts and well written.
I will put your site on my blogroll.

Posted on May 14, 2009 at 9:31 am

Debbie Bigelow Crawford says:

Improving employee morale has a domino effect; production efforts could potentially increase; customer satisfaction levels could increase if there is interaction with customers/employees; ultimately sales could increase.  Motivation and morale should never be underestimated…thanks, Karen!

Posted on May 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

Dan Lorenc says:

well said, Karen!

Staff typically are too busy to raise their heads up and look at OTHER folks that are struggling with changing requirements, little planning, receiving tasks on a daily basis…

Planning is HARD WORK, and IS the difference between satification of being on a well planned project, and just being IT staff doing daily work….

Posted on May 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin says:

Thanks Karen for offering this anecdote that underscores the results of our CBP research. I have a book on my desk right now which (though I confess I have not read it yet) has what I consider the dumbest title in business literature history: “Creating Value Through People”. ... I haven’t read it yet because everytime I look at the title, I think, “As opposed to WHAT???” How else do organizations create value? Through paper? Through bricks? Through stuff sitting on shelves? Every widget we manufacture, every bit and byte of data we process, every thing that is sold—as well as, of course, every service we provide—has its source in the brains and resourcefulness of human beings. Agile simply underscores their central role in a new way.

Posted on May 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

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