Assessing TalentSprout’s PM Hygiene


Cartoon Character of toothbrush with Business graph

Assessing TalentSprout’s Project Management Hygiene

Over the past five months, we at TalentSprout began a concerted effort to assess what I commonly refer to as our organization’s project management hygiene or PM hygiene for short.

What exactly is PM hygiene, and why is it important? At its most basic level, we know the word hygiene refers to the behaviors we practice to maintain health and prevent disease. For example, oral hygiene is the practice of preventing oral disease by keeping the teeth and gums healthy via habits such as flossing, brushing and obtaining regular dental cleanings.

Similarly, PM hygiene can be described as the practices program and project managers (PMs) use to maintain the health of an organization’s projects, thus contributing to the organization’s overall health. PMs develop a healthy PM hygiene by establishing effective and consistent processes to manage their project teams’ workloads. Developing an effective and consistent project management process is integral because it allows organizations such as TalentSprout to consistently deliver a quality product and service to its customers, especially as the operation scales.

Our Assessment Findings and Resulting Actions

Our PM hygiene assessment showed we’re by no means perfect and uncovered a number of opportunities for both immediate and continuous improvement. For the former, we’ve made a number of organization-wide project and operations management-related changes, including:

  • Adopting a single web-based project management tool the entire project team uses to:
    • Store, track and archive project documents and artifacts (e.g. project schedules and key project communications with project stakeholders);
    • Track major project deliverables and milestones and identify who on the project team(s) is responsible for each;
    • Asynchronously discuss the project via project discussion boards; and
    • Track and report project status;
  • Implementing a unified time tracking tool to track work effort, enabling us to more accurately track and allocate resources;
  • Creating standard operating procedures (SOP) documentation for office management and registrar-related operations; and
  • Providing formal change management and project management training (and resulting certification) to project team members using the Prosci Change Management Practitioner Program and Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) offerings.

Longer-term, we are transforming our PM hygiene assessment into a continuous practice, making process improvement an embedded part of our operation as opposed to an episodic activity; after all, as anyone with healthy gums and teeth can attest, brushing and flossing must be a daily habit, not a one-and-done activity.