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Once an organization implements a project management methodology and even takes the next step by putting a Project Support Office (PSO) in place to support it, the road to a mature project management environment has just begun. I have never had a client who put a project management life cycle (PMLC) model in place and didn't quickly come to the realization that a process improvement program would have to follow closely on the heels of that implementation. That's just some of the baggage that goes along with effective project management. The discipline is constantly undergoing change and improvement. Effective complex project management is a work in process and will be that way for the foreseeable future. Get used to it!
Almost from the beginning, there should be a continuous effort to improve the practice and the process of project management. This should be an ongoing effort that really has no end. Indeed, the post-implementation audit that follows every project at its completion includes this effort through its lessons-learned section.
In this chapter, I present a Continuous Process Improvement Model (CPIM) for project management that I developed and have been using for more than 20 years with a high level of client satisfaction. It is based on an adaptation of the process quality matrix, which was introduced by Maurice Hardaker and Bryan K. Ward in 1987 (″How to Make a Team Work,″ Harvard Business Review, Nov.–Dec.) as a business process improvement tool. I've taken their model and adapted it to project management process improvement. The model defines where you are, can be used to define where you would like to be, and gives you some guidance on how you might go about getting there. It is a practical and easily implemented program that requires no special training. In my consulting practice I run a two-day CPIM workshop and that prepares the client with a working knowledge of the process specific to their organization and how to implement it.