Introduction on PM2

What is PM2?

PM2 (pronounced “P-M squared”) is Project Management Methodology or, what is the same, Project Management Methodology. It is a methodology that has been developed by the European Commission. It aims to provide a tool for project managers so that they can deliver to their organizations all the benefits of effective project work management.

It is promoted by the European Union, its main impetus has been to meet the needs of the institutions and projects of the European Union itself and to facilitate the management of the entire life cycle of these projects.

Its purpose is summed up in the slogan “A Common Project Management Methodology for All Institutions, Member States, Suppliers and Citizens of the European Union”

What does PM2 provide?

This project management methodology focuses on the following issues:

  • A structure for project management
  • Guidelines for the implementation of project processes
  • Templates for the “artifacts” used
  • Guidelines for the use of these “artifacts”
  • A set of effective mindsets

But before we go further in PM2 let’s see how it defines the most basic…

What is a project according to PM2?

Here we will not discover anything new, the definition of projects in PM2 has a similar form as defined in other methodologies/best practices such as Pmbok, PRINCE2 or IPMA a project is:

A temporary organizational structure that is established to create a single product or service (output) meeting certain restrictions such as time, cost, and quality.

PM2 Guide

At this point, PM2 emphasizes that through a project a series of deliverables (products or services) are obtained, with which results are achieved and these results will allow to obtain measurable benefits.

Similar to the project appears the concept of Project Support Office (PSO) or, in Spanish, Project Support Office or, as we know it otherwise, a PMO. Among the functions of the PSO we will find:

  • Provide administrative support, assistance and training to Project Managers.
  • Collect, analyze, and report project progress information.
  • Assist using a PMIS (Project Management Information System), project scheduling, resource planning and coordination.
  • Maintain a centralized repository (of project documents, risks, lessons learned).
  • Coordinate configuration management and quality assurance activities.
  • Monitor the use of organization standards and methodology guidelines.
  • Adapt the Project Management methodology to new best practices and help project teams effectively implement them in their projects.

The “house” of PM2

It is the way to define the fundamentals of the methodology according to the creators themselves. Graphically you can see what its bases are, its pillars and the roof to be reached.

The basis is the best practices of the market that underpin 4 fundamental pillars: Government, Life Cycle, Processes and Artifacts, all of which are integrated through mental schemes.

The life cycle

The life cycle defined in PM2 ranges from the conception (the origin of the project) to the closure of the project and is defined with 4 Phases: Start, Planning, Execution and Closure. In addition there is an action, not qualified as Phase, which is transversal to the 4 phases and is the Monitoring and Control where it is reviewed that everything goes as expected and corrective actions are identified if necessary.

This process identification is very similar to that done in pmbok, although an explicit acceptance of the results of each phase is added in the form of milestones.

At the end of each phase is established what is known as Phase Gate or Phase Milestones. The project goes through an approval milestone carried out by the Project Steering Committee (PSC) or Project Steering Committee, which has the power to approve or reject it.

These phase milestones are:

  • RfP (Ready for Planning). Ready to plan.
  • RfE (Ready for Executing). Ready to Run.
  • RfC (Ready for Closing). Ready to close.

The start-up phase

The start-up phase involves the definition of the desired results, the definition of the business case, the establishment of the scope of the project and everything necessary for the project to start in a satisfactory way.

It includes the sequential creation, and in this order, of the request for initiation of the project, the creation of the business case and that of the project charter.

The planning phase

At this stage, the project team (called Project Core Team, PCT) is assigned and the scope and work plan are developed. This also begins the definition of the Project Handbook or Project Manual, which describes the management approach that will be done to the project. A launch meeting of the planning phase will also be held, stakeholder identification will be finalised by completing the stakeholder matrix, the Project Work Plan will be created containing the WBS/EDT, Timelines and Costs and other important plans such as the communications management plan, transition plan, and business implementation plan will be created.

The Execution phase

This phase is primarily responsible for coordinating the implementation of project plans. It is the phase where the project team produces the deliverables defined in the objectives.

It starts with a launch meeting of the project execution, distributes information as defined in the communications plan, performs the quality assurance activities defined in the Quality Assurance Plan, coordinates the project work, the necessary people and resources, resolving conflicts and problems that arise. Deliverables will be made as defined in the Deliverable Acceptance Plan.

Monitoring and Control

Monitoring consists of measuring all project activities being carried out and monitoring project variables (cost, time and effort) with respect to plans.

The control part is related to identifying the corrective actions necessary to correct the deviations with respect to the plans, as well as to ensure the correct treatment of risks and incidents.

The Closing Phase

At this stage the completed deliverables are transferred to the Product Owner, Project Owner (PO), and the project is closed administratively.

The meeting with which this phase begins is the End of Project Review Meeting. This meeting not only reviews deliverables but also displays project performance data as well as lessons learned. The project manager must ensure that deliverables are formally accepted and that all project documentation is conveniently archived.

The PM2 Mindsets

Mindsets, or mental schemes (also called “mindsets”) are attitudes and behaviors that help project teams determine what is really important to achieve project objectives. They provide a set of beliefs and values for all PM2 practitioners. These mindsets are:

  • Help project teams deal with the complexity of the reality of projects.
  • Help project teams position and reposition project management objectives in a broader organizational context.
  • Remind project teams what is important to the success of the project.
  • They are useful reminders of effective attitudes and behaviors.

Defining roles in PM2

A curious and interesting issue in PM2 is the definition of roles. It doesn’t just fit the role description as is, but distributes them across different bands or layers that are interesting when it comes to actual project management. Let’s see what these levels are:

  • Business Governing Layer. It is the level that determines the vision and strategy of the entire organization.
  • Steering Layer. It is the management level of the project provides direction and guidance to stay focused on the objectives.
  • Directing Layer. It is the level that mobilizes the necessary resources and controls the performance of the project. It is guided by the business case.
  • Managing Layer. It’s the level of management. It focuses on day-to-day, organizing, monitoring and controlling the work produced and deliverables.
  • Performing Layer. It’s the level that does the work.

Another interesting aspect is the division between the project applicant and the project vendor. Many organizations operate through an outsourcing model that is often not directly represented in other methodologies or is at a very high level. PM2 clearly shows the roles of the organization requesting the project and the roles of who provides the project. Although in some cases they may be the same.

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The complete guide on this methodology can be downloaded from the Office of the Publications Centre of the European Union:

Introduction on PM2
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