I was recently listening to an episode of the Project Management Office Hours podcast, and they were discussing the upcoming publication of Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Seventh Edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide. PMI’s flagship publication is a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry, and I believe this new version represents a sea change in project management and a major shift from output and deliverables to outcomes. After listening to the episode and having done more research into the upcoming seventh edition PMBOK® guide, I realized that Changepoint’s solutions are uniquely suited for this transformation. Planning for this release will be an important opportunity for organizations and project managers (PMs) alike. To help you get ahead here are seven key observations about the upcoming seventh edition PMBOK®, and how Changepoint is already aligned to its new guidance.
- Focusing on outcomes instead of deliverables will change where PMs are spending their time.
- Emphasis on tailoring will mean that projects will be run in more ways than we can currently imagine.
- PMs will need more time for leadership and less time creating deliverables.
- Holistic thinking will require a new way of pulling together projects and what is important for them, which will require data from many other places in the organization.
- A larger focus on teams, stakeholders, stewardship, and leadership will require tools that make it easy for everyone.
- The new language of project management will require tools that can easily adapt to new nomenclature.
- The transition to this new way of thinking will require tools that can adapt to changes over time.
Focusing on Outcomes instead of Deliverables will change where Project Managers are spending their time
With a new focus on driving outcomes, project managers' main focus will no longer be on deliverables like project schedules, charters, requirements documents, and the like to ensure project delivery. That’s not to say that those are no longer important, but those now must have a concrete connection to a project outcome. Changepoint Project Portfolio Management (PPM) offers two capabilities that will make this newfound focus on outcomes much easier.
First is the capability to create a business outcome dynamic application. Much like a SharePoint list or an Excel workbook, a dynamic application lets you define the important elements of a business outcome and track those with your project work. See the example below:
Next is Changepoint PPM’s unique capability of tying those outcomes to any other element in your project. For instance, you can tie an outcome to a task in a schedule, or a document, or a stakeholder. By tying these together with our link function, we make it easy for project managers to show how the activities in the project are supporting that business outcome.
Emphasis on Tailoring will mean that projects will be run in more ways than we can currently imagine
Prescriptive methods are likely to diminish as Project Managers aren’t heavily encouraged to enforce them, rather they will be encouraged to use the best tools and techniques to manage those efforts. Using the dynamic application capabilities discussed above, a project manager will be able to pull from a library of commonly used dynamic applications and define new applications for their unique project needs. If those "project defined" applications prove to be of enterprise value, then an administrator will be able to make those dynamic applications available to the entire team.
This project-level tailoring will not only allow for traditional waterfall and agile methods, but it will allow PMs to tread into new waters like project gamification. Imagine a PM who offers points and rewards to team members who complete tasks, identify issues, mitigate risks, or enhance business outcomes. Those points can then be used on a team member of the month scorecard, and perhaps paired with a caffeine of choice gift card as a reward. More carrot, less stick.
Project Managers will need more time for leadership and less time creating deliverables
Deliverable creation is always a major time drain for Project Managers. The new PMBOK® will ask PMs to spend less time on deliverables and more time on leadership. Deliverables are not becoming obsolete. Those deliverables in support of outcomes as stated above are still going to be important. It will be key to make deliverable creation easier for PMs.
One technique will be having a tool like Changepoint PPM that allows for push-button access to deliverables. Using our state-of-the-art analytics engine and associated scheduling capabilities, enterprises can create reports that deliver weekly status, drive charter templates, manage risks and issues, and publish stakeholder engagements and needs. Having these items take less time will allow PMs to focus on leadership skills like driving engagement, solving problems, and ensuring outcomes.
Holistic thinking will require a new way of pulling together projects and what is important for them, which will require data from many other places in the organization
For project managers to become holistic thinkers, as the new PMBOK ® suggests, they will need more data to help with their decisions. With Changepoint PPM, data is easily accessed via our integration-as-a-service model. We build out the integrations for our customers in a very cost-effective manner. The connector cost along with the annual fee is often much less expensive than what customers pay for bespoke integrations.
Having integration data allows the Project Manager to have a single source of truth for project-related data. This will give them capabilities to look at and manage KPIs that can be driven from actual project performance, not from anecdotal data gathered in meetings and discussion.
A larger focus on teams, stakeholders, stewardship, and leadership will require tools that make it easy for everyone
The updated PMBOK ® also guides project managers to focus more on people. In practice, this means that they will need help with collaboration. Changepoint PPM allows for a tailored experience for all stakeholders and will allow project managers to drive contextual engagement on projects in a way that makes sense for each role that people will play on projects. These capabilities will allow a team member to focus on providing updates, executives and stakeholders to focus on data consumption, and project managers to focus on all the data they need.
The new language of project management will require tools that can easily adapt to new nomenclature
Language is very important in understanding new concepts. Having to continue to use old language around those new concepts will hinder the movement to new ways of doing work. One example of this is the move from risks to opportunities and threats. If a tool does not allow for quickly changing the nomenclature, then pivoting from tracking risks to a new approach of tracking opportunities and threats will be difficult and without the right words, everyone will struggle to engage in the new way of thinking. This change of language is a unique value of Changepoint PPM. There has never been a need to adjust to our tool’s nomenclature or our way of thinking as our solutions allow for easily renaming the elements in your PPM universe.
The transition to this new way of thinking will require tools that can adapt to changes over time
There is not a switch to flip that makes an organization compliant with updated PMBOK ® guidelines. This will require evolutionary change over time, and Changepoint PPM is an evolutionary platform. The capabilities that support PMBOK® guidance can be implemented in an iterative manner and at a pace that allows teams to adjust to new changes. This means that changes to the tool do not require huge development cycles with lots of analysis, design, development, and testing. Changes are done through configuration in easy-to-use administration wizards. That method of change fits well with an evolutionary change model.
I’m looking forward to learning more about where PMI guides the industry to go, particularly in this day and age, when the new edition of the PMBOK® comes out early next year.