Curator (from lat. curator – – the one who observes a certain process, mentor, tutor. The phenomenon of mentoring is closely linked to the history of European universities and comes from the UK. It took shape around the fourteenth century in the classical English universities of Oxford and later in Cambridge. The student had to decide which professors and which subjects he would listen to. The University made its requirements only in examinations, and the student had to choose the path by which he would achieve the knowledge necessary to obtain the degree. In this he was helped by his mentor.

Today, the mentor also helps you to understand the opportunities and prospects, to create your own individual program. Just as in universities, the curator helps the student, when implementing project management, the curator helps the organization. At the same time, it can perform a variety of work in the interests of the Customer.

Why involve a curator
Setting up a project management system is a complex task that requires high skills. Using a curator allows you to “point” to attract the most qualified specialist with a rich professional experience to the project team. Competent inclusion in the work of the curator allows you to get the maximum return on your own and contractor resources and remove the risks that are inherent in these projects.

During the implementation project, the curator must resolve controversial professional issues, help choose the best solutions, and ensure that the balance between the interests of the Customer and the external consultant is maintained. The curator’s contacts in the project management market both in Russia and abroad can also be useful in this regard.

The curator can also act as the head of the project management Office (PMO) on the Customer’s side for the period of its formation until the final debugging of all processes. Thus, most often curators are involved in the project for several years.

As a minus of attracting an external specialist, you can call the fact that he is not familiar with your organization. He needs to spend a considerable amount of time to get acquainted with the organization, its problems, values and characteristics. The banal human factor can play a role, and the curator, even being an excellent specialist, for some reason does not approach. Therefore, one of the best ways to attract them is to conduct trainings.

Usually, such trainings are set tasks both of a training nature and related to future implementation. They can be used to evaluate the quality of prepared materials in advance and how employees react to it. After the trainings, the curator can offer a work plan for the implementation of the project management Office. And the Customer can understand before the start of large and serious work – whether the specialist and his strategy are suitable.

The cost of the Curator’s services depends on the volume and complexity of the work performed and the terms of the contract. This amount is usually at a level comparable to the cost of project management consulting companies. At the same time, many believe that attracting a curator is more profitable than attracting a consultant – but in fact this is achieved only if there is a narrower competence and qualification.

Helping managers set goals
Setting goals for implementing project management is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. The goals must be agreed and accepted by all managers affected by the implementation of the corporate project management system (CSM). This means that all of them need to think about the implementation tasks, give their own answers to questions related to the concept of implementing CSP, and then discuss them among themselves.

The curator can give the necessary explanations about the CSP components and approaches to their development, discuss the necessary issues and form the final version of the concept. When developing it, it is important to realistically assess the level of maturity of the organization in which the implementation is taking place, which the Curator should also pay attention to. This significantly reduces the organization’s costs for implementing CSP and risks, increasing the chances of successful implementation of the project.

The CSP concept should provide answers to questions:

what is a project in the organization;
how should project teams be formed and project participants be motivated;
what should be the scope of the regulatory framework for managing projects, portfolios, and programs;
what functions should be assigned to the project management Office;
how much automation is required for effective project management.
The existence of an agreed CSM concept makes it possible to implement the project more effectively, attract contractors, calculate the need for project personnel and training, etc. Often, at the beginning of the project implementation project management is faced with a choice and has several options for implementing the project and related changes in the organizational structure. In this case, the curator of the project is tasked to discuss these options with colleagues during business games in training and help the management with the choice. Including General issues of project management implementation in the training program allows you to discuss them with colleagues and demonstrate that their opinions are taken into account in the development of the organization.

Audit of the current state of the project management system
Independent assessment of the level of maturity of the organization’s project management allows you to get objective information about the state of the organization and plan further development. This assessment should be carried out before implementing project management to find out whether the organization and staff are ready for changes.

As you know, one of the biggest risks that leads to the failure of project management implementation is the resistance of the staff, their unwillingness to work in a new way. In other words, the project management rules that the organization implements are too complex for employees. Assessment of the maturity level allows you to assess the readiness of the organization and, consequently, adjust the complexity of the implemented project management system.

There are about a dozen models on the market for evaluating project management maturity levels. Some models are private and are evaluated by private companies that own them. The PMI Institute’s model, OPM3, is evaluated only by private assessors registered with PMI. Not all Western methods of assessing the level of maturity are suitable for Russian companies. Many of them do not involve their adaptation by assessors. On the contrary, they must strictly follow the methodology as it was passed to them by the developer. There is also the problem of language barriers and remoteness. An assessment of the OPM3 maturity level can be made by European or Chinese experts, of which there are only about two dozen.

The supervisor can help you choose a maturity assessment system and link you to a contractor who will conduct the assessment because they are familiar with the players and can assess their strengths and weaknesses. Many curators conduct their own assessment of the organization’s maturity level. In this case, it is easier to adapt existing methods in order to get answers to the questions that concern the customer.

If necessary, the assessment of the level of maturity can be combined with training of employees. During the training, the necessary information is collected and a report is prepared within a few days after the completion of the training. This also reduces the cost of such procedures.

To check the development of project management over a certain period of time, you can use a regular independent assessment of the level of maturity. For example, the project management office can use the results of such an assessment to summarize its work. In addition, the results of the evaluation are the initial information for setting new goals.

Deploying a project management Office
Creating and launching a project management Office (PMO) usually requires a higher level of expertise than supporting an already established PMO. During the first years, the head of the OUP solves all the main tasks – then you need to maintain and Refine the system. Therefore, most often for a 2-3-year contract, they can determine a curator who will effectively form the OUP and help prepare their own specialists. In the future, he will transfer the management of the OUP to an employee of the company, if necessary, helping him. It is desirable that the specialist has been in companies of different sectors of the economy-this confirms that he can use his skills, adapting to different tasks, and does not replicate the same approach several times.

The first task to be solved is to determine the place and role of the PM in the organization. The tasks and role of the project management Office strongly depend on the balance of power in the organization’s management and the interests of top managers. The head of the PMO must have communication skills with top managers and negotiation skills in order to correctly position the new structure.

It is equally important to understand the realism of top managers ‘ desires. It often happens that the PMO is faced with tasks that are not currently feasible. The head of the OUP should make a plan for the development of the project management Office for several years, taking into account the current readiness of the organization.

The second task that the head of the PMO will face is the formation of the oup’s staff schedule. To develop the regulations on the division and job descriptions, and to create a staff schedule, it is desirable to have experience working with a large division or company.

When creating a staff schedule, it is important to be guided by the level of salary of specialists and to understand the level of qualification of specialists that are required at this stage or in the future. It is also a good idea to have contacts in the market in order to speed up the search for potential employees. To solve this problem, the head of the OUP must have experience in the consulting business.

The third task at the early stages of the project management Office is to identify key project and portfolio management processes and regulate them. This requires experience in describing business processes and familiarity with PMI standards. Also at this stage, it will be necessary to form the requirements and architecture of the future information system for project management, which will require a certain certification-depending on the selected system.

The fourth block of tasks is personnel development. If necessary, the training program should include both external courses and training of employees by the head of the PMO. Not less important and explanatory work with the staff. In the first year of implementation of the project management system, the head of the PMO should actively hold meetings and short training seminars for project participants at various levels in order to involve employees in work, teach innovations, collect wishes, etc. The curator can help form a team or provide a common understanding of the terminology of project management (the team will speak “in the same language”) and the issues that need to be solved for the organization of the project.

Thus, the head of the PMO should be well-versed in project management training programs, have experience in developing training courses independently and conducting courses and presentations. Usually sufficient experience is considered to be the development of 3-4 training programs and conducting seminars at the rate of a seminar for employees at least once a month.

Based on the materials of Vadim Bogdanov, ” Bogdanov and partners»