A More aPRO-priate Way to Assess and Improve PM Performance, part 2

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, asapm President

In Part 1 of this introduction of aPRO, we discussed the differences between classic PM Maturity Models and aPRO; in this Part 2, we acknowledge the contributions of the aPRO project team, and the insights we gained from other Models.

The aPRO Team
What is the source of all these insights, that produced such an innovative organizational performance assessment in project and program management? Our answer: It is the volunteer team of experienced PM consultants, savvy PM practitioners with vast experience in multiple organizations, organizational maturity model assessors, and Management Consultants. For example, the original model was the inspiration of the same William Duncan who changed PM around the World with his multi-year effort leading the development of PMBOK® Guide, 1st edition. He now serves as architect for our tool and process that has the potential to do even more for organizations than his 1990’s effort did for individual practitioners. A key point: One of our early research findings was that the best Organizational Assessment models are led by single-minded vision, rather than the compromises of a random committee.

But wait, there’s more, as they say. Tim Jaques is a partner and consultant with Line of Sight, LLC, specializing in Government PM. Tim is the asapm Director of Standards, and the Project Manager for aPRO. Tom Mochal, of the popular PM Consultancy TenStep, currently performs Assessments, and contributed greatly to aPRO. He says he will be among the first to offer it to his customers. Brent Hansen, Scott Freauf and Nigel Blampied have “real jobs”, and gave us the perspective of the corporations and government agencies that will benefit from aPRO. They are all long-term, experienced Project Managers, and have served in many other notable PM Standards.

Dennis Milroy brought years of experience in the Military, another targeted beneficiary of improved PM Performance. Matt Piazza has a passion for the topic, but could not directly participate. So he built and managed the collaborative infrastructure we needed to get the project rolling. And, what if we offered a Standard, and no one showed up? Dino Eliadis, a Management Consultant with Marketing Expertise, has kept us focused on the business need, the customer focus, and the marketability/manageability of our efforts.

Of course, there is still much work to be done; we are now enlisting more volunteers for the next stages, that include performing beta tests with clients, commenting on the Draft Standard, and helping with the aPRO market rollout. Among the plans for market rollout are that Recognized Assessors, our term for assessors who have qualified to perform assessments, will be listed in asapm’s Competence Enabler program. Hmmm, this could be really important: As I recall, RA was the Sun-god worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.

Learning From the Best Models
aPRO does have some similarities to other organizational PM assessments. Both our offering and others require independent assessments. You can use our freely-available Performance Criteria to perform an organizational self-assessment, just as with the best of the other models. But as with others, you need the rigor of trained, recognized assessors, to interpret the responses, and more importantly, to determine where the greatest opportunities for improvement exist.

aPRO is also following the lead of some of the best models we’ve researched in other ways, too. We plan to share the data that we collect with Universities, with their Doctoral and Masters Program candidates. This is a rich area of opportunity, both for Academic Research, and for organizational improvement. One excellent model that is also freely available, and has extensive interest in Academic Research and International Enterprises, is MCPM, the Maturity by Project Category Model. Developed by Mr. Darci Prado of Brazil, with support and assistance from our friend and member Russ Archibald (plus 60 volunteers who are stars in their own fields), this tool is an inspiration for us in its data collection and analysis usefulness.

Evidence of that is the wealth of data and interpretations of that data on the Model’s website. In a recent meeting with Mr. Prado, I saw wonderous use of the data that to this point we have only envisioned. Things like correlating Model Score against Project Success, across multiple different industries, or Russ Archibald’s favorite topic, Project Categories. The consequence of Mr. Prado’s easy-to-use and freely-available model, in addition to the wealth of research data coming from it, is that it is achieving a wide adoption rate not only in Brazil and the USA, but also across Europe, and becoming increasingly available in multiple languages.

We do not have quite those ambitions with aPRO; but Mr. Prado’s MPCM already shows the potential of the approach we have taken: An easy-to-use tool, that is based on market needs, and is freely available in an open system, with the resulting data shared (with individual organization’s results hidden, of course) with researchers who are interested in helping improve, then demonstrate, Project and Program Management Performance in the USA.

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