PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ENGINEERING & REMOTE SENSING
In the Geospatial Community
By Raquel Charrois PMP, CP, CMS | EVP
As a project comes to a close all parties involved have an
interest in how the project “turned out”. Each reviews the
project to determine whether or not it was a success. Success
being defined differently for each individual depending on
one’s role and the organizations business philosophy. What
is considered a success by a company owner is going to be
different than to the sensor operator that collected the data
during the projects acquisition phase for example.
While walking through that assessment, formal or otherwise,
we consider, if not actively look for, ways we could have done
better. After all there is nothing like hindsight to highlight
all of the shortcomings in our efforts. No matter a person’s
role or definition of success it universally references the
projects financial performance. Depending on what side of
the coin you are on the objective is ultimately to make a
profit from the effort or to spend the least amount to get the
best possible product.
We are quick to review direct expenses, labor costs and cycle
through the various events that took place over the project
lifecycle in search of things that might have affected where
we are, positively or negatively. It’s obvious when we had a
technology failure or when a process step took longer than
we thought, what is often overlooked is the review of the
project management process that was used during the project
life cycle. Specifically, the process related to how the project
manager (PM) impacted and or influence the project. For
example, the controls that are in place during the execution
phase of a project have a big influence on the cost and schedule.
Evaluation of the formal project management process is a
great opportunity to improve future project success. Here
is a chance to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the
process as a whole and modify them to improve not only the
project under review but those that will follow. It may be that
the process is very mature and quite formal or completely the
opposite and not exist at all, either way presents opportunity.
Projectmanagement is one discipline that does best with rules
and guidelines. Project management history is littered with
stories about epic failures tied to failed planning and lack of
structure or control. As a PM when there are no operating
The Project Management Professional (PMP)
and the Geospatial Profession – Improving What We Do:
PM Process Evaluation
parameters we need to develop them. Unfortunately doing
things ad hoc does not yield the results that could be realized
if we were to stop and put real thought into it.
That isn’t to say that small organizations need a highly
bureaucratic process that bogs down the project itself. While
you can’t have a 25-page process diagram for a $500.00
project and hope for it to be profitable, the inverse is also
true it’s not wise to have a $5,000,000.00 project that has
no operating framework. The key is balance, flexibility and
scalability, there is no one size fits all plan. Only you will
know what makes sense within your organization.
The size of your organization and the complexity of your
projects may guide the level of detailed processes in place but
it shouldn’t dictate the quality of it. All too often we say “oh
this is so simple” or “we have done this a million times, we
could do it with our eyes closed” and as a result we don’t feel
that we need to apply any rigor. If you look back on the history
of an organization and the failures that that have happened
within projects, you often find that there was failure in
controls around communication and or assumptions. This
can be remedied with a good project management process
that catches things before they happen.
Some elements to consider when evaluating your project
management process are:
PM philosophy —
Is there a defined PM philosophy?
It really helps lay the frame work for everyone to
understand expectations. This is also a great jumping
off point for a brand new PM process.
Project Size and complexity —
Is each project unique or
is there repetitiveness? What is the average cost of the
Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing
Vol. 83, No. 3, March 2017, pp. 171–179.
© 2017 American Society for Photogrammetry
and Remote Sensing