If you have questioned if your projects need a fresh perspective on strategy, you might want to explore whether your methods are top-down or bottom-up. While it is important to balance these two approaches, knowing which is the primary goal of your PMO – and which will be emphasised – will help.
Today, having visibility that is both top-down and bottom-up is crucial. All stakeholders should require standardisation of reporting, collaboration, and evaluation of projects with which they are affiliated. A PPM solution like Execview is the most effective facilitator of this. We allow a real-time platform in which all data is gathered and shared using permission-based access that is scaled to the user’s preferences. This blog will first outline each of these strategies before examining the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide which is best for your company.
What is Top-down PPM?
The top-down approach to project management is still a popular one. Upper management makes all choices and sets the goals, which are then communicated to the project manager, who then conveys the goals to the project team. This means that the project manager first sets a project plan before deciding which activities and tasks the team will be responsible for project execution.
This method has the advantage of allowing choices to be made and executed quickly. When you are short on time, this is very critical. Another advantage of top-down project planning is that it helps connect project goals with the organisation’s strategic goals. It is directed by senior management.
Top-down project management has one major drawback: because the team isn’t participating in the planning, they may feel excluded and unable to express their ideas. Also, effective communication is required for top-down project management to succeed. Undefined requirements and expectations may easily lead to misunderstandings, leading to project failure. Remember that the team was not involved in the planning and hence is unaware of the project’s complexities. The project manager’s job is to explain the objectives stated by upper management.
What is bottom-up PPM?
Bottom-up project management means that the team identifies the project’s objectives and accompanying tasks, rather than senior management conveying the project objectives to the team. The project manager will design a project strategy and timetable based on the activities indicated.
Bottom-up project management has the advantage of giving team members a say in project planning and allowing for collaborative decision-making. This improves team communication and development and gives team members more influence. Therefore, they will be motivated to try their best to meet the project’s objectives. By identifying tasks first, you may create a more complete project plan with a more precise timetable.
The planning step takes significantly longer and requires much more effort than the top-down method since the project plan is much more comprehensive. As a result, bottom-up planning is not appropriate for time-sensitive initiatives. Bottom-up planning also needs a well-defined scope and control method; otherwise, it risks spiralling out of control.
The solution is flexibility.
Because they build on existing procedures, project managers may find themselves aligning with a bottom-up strategy without much commitment to the approach. Others may have a specific purpose in mind, such as prioritising and enhancing project execution. What is crucial to remember is that you are not bound to one technique or the other, and you may change your mind if you find that your company requires more strategy.
It is also crucial to note that a top-down approach does not imply a lack of agility. Even though projects are aligned with the business, they might alter or be re-prioritised as needed. Adopting a strategy-first approach means that the projects undertaken are directly related to a strategic goal. The speed with which you can adjust to changes is determined by your willingness to change and your team’s capacity to re-prioritise.
Similarly, bottom-up governance does not imply that there is no governance. Any PPM process requires visibility and cooperation. Maintaining a degree of governance ensures that all projects comply with PMO requirements. The project process and governance are unique to your company and unrelated to your project management methodology.
Flexibility is the answer. The solution comes when a top-down strategy meets bottom-up execution. However, while achieving the appropriate balance is an important skill, it is advantageous to be one or the other to commit to a concise plan.
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