In this fast paced world it is difficult to keep up with demands that arise in various fields and this holds true for business organizations too. Therefore, organizations go that extra mile to develop high-performance project cultures to complete tasks on time and maintain great employer-employee relationships.
A project culture can be described as being a set of commonly held beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that can be found within an organization.It lays down the ground rules for the project team to follow in order to complete the project in a time bound and efficient manner, thus playing an important role in the formation and execution of corporate strategy.The influence of project culture is so high that if it is strong and positive in an organization, no matter how many stakeholders of projects come and go, it remains unblemished. Similarly, the absence of project culture can create a confusing, inconsistent and divisive team experience.

Importance of Project Culture

Great culture is a common trait of all effective projects. High performance project culture is a trade mark of a high-performance project team and is the key to an organization’s sustained competitive advantage. The Project Management Institute (PMI) have stated in their annual report titled ‘Pulse of Profession’ that project management culture is more likely to be nurtured in an organization when there is clear understanding of its values and how programs and projects can bring about change. They are also aware of the fact that loses in profits is a direct result of project failures as it becomes less likely for organizations to achieve strategic goals.

Building a Project Management Culture

Building a strong project management culture within an organization creates a gateway for various benefits and brings about an improvement in customer service levels. Organizations apply the principles of project management culture only to a select few projects and in most cases the implementation is inconsistent.Organizations which harbor strong project cultures throughout operate under a unique value system and it identifies each team member with objectives and goals which are on budget, on time and on target.
The days of working on only a handful of tasks at any given time or concentrating your effort on only few areas of expertise is long gone. Today professionals are expected to exhibit a plethora of talents and juggle between various tasks within the organization. Project members keep changing all the time and this creates a lot of confusion and friction within the team. The only way this can be avoided is by introducing culture within the project.

Functions of Project Culture

The four important functions of Project Culture are as follows:

  1. Providing an ideal chain of command
  2. Creating a defined team structure
  3. Employing tools for simplified decision making
  4. Motivation to employees by providing career advancement opportunities

5 Steps Involved in Creating High-Performance Culture:

  1. Having the right Project Culture Initiative (PCI):

    Organizations need to take the necessary steps to create the right PCI. They need to understand all the aspects of an ideal project culture which are needed to incorporate projects. A comparison of the present project culture to the ideal project culture will give a clear idea about where it stands. This can help the organization bridge the gap and clearly determine the goals and strategies. The organizations can then go ahead and implement the plan and accurately track their progress.

  2. Charismatic Team Leader:

    A team leader is the one who supervises the whole project and treats the whole team as a single entity. He has the greatest impact on the culture of the project team. High-performance cultures are designed by successful project leaders who come up with their own unique ways of implementing it. Innovation and quality exists side by side in these cultures and personal satisfaction and motivation are guaranteed. The behavior, communication and day-to-day performance of project member are highly dependent on the leadership.

  3. Making it Highly People Centric:

    Treating project team members with respect and dignity and granting them enough independence to contribute and excel can go a long way in creating an ideal project culture. There should be an atmosphere of mutual respect and interdependency between the project members.Team achievements must be celebrated and recognition must be given to deserving members. Team members must be encouraged to use creativity and initiative in every task that they undertake.

  4. Better Understanding of Project Management Processes:

    A good understanding of the processes involved in projects can facilitate shaping of a robust project culture environment.Process tools have to be used judiciously to maintain a stable project environment which can ease transitions across different stakeholders of a project. The staff members should be actively involved in reviewing and updating of the processes.

  5. Events to Felicitate Achievers:

    Periodic project assessment must be carried out to pick out the best performers and ceremonial events must be held to felicitate them. These events create a sense of joy and it reinforces the bond between the employee and the organization. It even helps the organization retain high performing employees.

Every project team has its own unique culture which is separated by its philosophy and beliefs and how they approach a problem. Organizations can go a great distance to create an ideal project culture in order to maintain good relationships with employees and improve success rates of their projects.

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Lucy Brown
Lucy Brown has many years of experience in the project management domain and has helped many organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Her excellent coordinating capabilities, both inside and outside the organization, ensures that all projects are completed on time, adhering to clients' requirements. She possesses extensive expertise in developing project scope, objectives, and coordinating efforts with other teams in completing a project. As a project management practitioner, she also possesses domain proficiency in Project Management best practices in PMP and Change Management. Lucy is involved in creating a robust project plan and keep tabs on the project throughout its lifecycle. She provides unmatched value and customized services to clients and has helped them to achieve tremendous ROI.


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