Are you running projects haphazardly without any formal standards? Have you previously tried to implement project standards, but have failed dismally? Then you are not alone, this happens to every project manager, but if you take the medication prescribed below, I am sure your pain will go away very quickly.

Project standards are a set of rules and best practices in guiding you to undertake projects successfully. There are two very popular standards, amongst others, which have been adopted all over the world and depending on where you come from and the culture of your organization; it will decide which one will be best for you. If you are an American based organization or have an American culture, then PMI would be best suited to your needs. Prince2 again is more aligned to English-based organizations and cultures.

However, once you have decided one which one to use, implementing the standard using a few of the tips below, will surely take away most of the pains you may experience in this environment.

First start by reviewing your existing project terminology along with your selected standard as guidance and then document and communicate the project terminology to everyone that is a stakeholder in projects in your organization. Also, re-affirm this glossary of terms every time you undertake any project management training, so as to ensure that these terms are understood and adopted.

Next you have to implement your Project Life Cycle. This will be a series of steps to be undertaken to implement any project from start to finish. Ensure that all new projects are using this life cycle, but do not try to rework existing projects using the new life cycle, as this will just create extra confusion and hardship.

Within every project standards there are guidelines and principles that are recommended to be followed, but which are not prescribed as the alpha and omega. Review these and adopt and customize to fit your organization, project and project team. Once you have done this, communicate this to all stakeholders on your projects, to ensure everyone understands and is aware of the customized standards and guidelines. Never adopt a standard in its entirety, unless you are 100% sure that it will be a perfect fit for your organization. Rather review the guidelines and make the necessary changes to suite your organization and culture.

Now that you have successfully selected and implemented your project standards, you need to ensure that it is followed by each and everyone, every time a project is done.

Reviewing your projects on an ongoing basis will help to ensure that the terminology, project life cycle and guidelines and standards are followed consistently, so that your projects have the maximum change of being successful every time.

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