KNO provides certification in PDPM to commercial and international development clients. Certificates for successful completion of standards are awarded by the International Society for Performance Improvement.
What is Performance Driven Project Management (PDPM)?
In the early 1990’s, one of the world’s most successful and profitable companies suddenly found themselves unable to deliver on their most important new product. The project had been monitored carefully and the team had been reporting that they were on track.
But when the time came to deliver, it was discovered they would need much more time to finish the product. It took many months to figure out what had gone wrong. In the end, it was determined that extreme competitive pressure, combined with increasing uncertainty (it is not possible to know all you need to know to complete the project, when you start the project) had led to unproductive behaviors on the part of both managers and team members.
The pressure to say you were on schedule was so great that nothing else mattered. People were no longer committed to producing a great product on time; they were committed to not being blamed for the product being late.
This experience caused the people involved to re-examine what project management was about.
What was eventually understood was that projects are essentially a network of personal commitments between people. No matter how brilliant a project plan is, if the individuals on the team do not commit to deliver what the plan requires, the project will fail.
Then the question became, how do you create a project plan made up of personal commitments? Also, once you have the plan, how do you monitor it in a way that causes people to anticipate and prevent problems, rather than hiding them to stay out of trouble?
Addressing these issues required a new perspective on managing projects. The performance perspective focuses on organizations as systems and the key factors that impact human performance. No matter how skilled and knowledgeable a performer is, they will still fail if they do not have frequent and reliable feedback about whether their outputs are supporting the goals of the project.
Out of a combination of techniques already built on these principles, Performance Driven Project Management was born. And that successful and profitable company became even more successful (as long as they followed the PDPM principles).
The PDPM principles have now been proven to improve project speed, quality and cost across many project environments. What the participants in a PDPM Program will learned are performance driven techniques for creating a project plan, monitoring performance to the plan and facilitating effective trade-off decisions throughout the project to keep it on track.
For example, the “Map Day” technique is a structured process for helping the entire project team create the project plan in a way that leads to higher commitment and better teamwork.
All of the participants who complete this program will lead or participate in a Map Day meeting for their project in order to set themselves up to take the performance driven approach.
The tools for the performance driven project also look different from conventional project management tools. PDPM replaces the task network diagrams and “Gantt charts” with a Deliverables Map, a Deliverables Matrix and a Performance Against Commitment (PAC) chart.
These simple but effective tools are designed to make sure that each project team member has clear expectations, frequent self-monitored feedback, and control of resources required to meet the expectations at all times.
Interpreting the Deliverables Matrix and the PAC Chart
One of the key principles of PDPM is that the project plan should describe very clearly, who will deliver what to whom by when, throughout the project. If you examine the headings of the Deliverables Matrix below you will see that it is designed exactly for this purpose.
PDPM simply tracks what is Done and what is Not Done. This means that large complex deliverables, need to be broken down into smaller ones so that we can discern that real progress is being made.
The best indicator of future project performance is past performance on the same project. The PAC chart is a simple indicator of whether the team is likely to complete future commitments on time.
Program participants are taught how to keep this indicator up to date and use it to help the teams self-evaluate their performance. If gaps form between the red line and the black bars, this is an early warning that problems are emerging and should be discussed and addressed immediately in order to help the team stay on track.
A full description is linked here.
Further background and short videos can be found at this website. KNO partner Steven Kelly provides a short video orientation below: