Commitment-Based Project Management (CBPM)
A Commitment-Based Way Of Working
CBPM is about getting and then keeping commitment present throughout projects and ultimately throughout organizations. We use the term commitment in two ways. CBPM increases the overall commitment of all team members to the success of projects and the overall organization. As such, it is a competitive asset for attracting and keeping the best talent. We also use the term commitment to describe the discrete personal promises that are made and managed throughout a CBPM project. These commitments are managed by CBPM teams to keep the focus on preventing schedule slips and so teams can see at a glance the extent to which they are doing what they said they would do.
The language we use to plan and monitor projects is crucial to keeping commitments present. CBPM projects operate from requests and commitments (which are a type of declaration), rather than commands and directives. This creates the choice that is part of the definition of commitment. Using this language also shifts the focus of management from what was possible in the past to what we need to do and are going to do in the near future. When people are operating from commitments they are taking responsibility, and as people build the habit of meeting their own commitments they tend to take responsibility for much more than just the part they’ve been assigned. One definition of the word “ensemble” is “all the parts, taken together, in relation to the whole”. CBPM teams start from the whole and then clarify the relationships and deliverables that are necessary to achieve the desired ends. Everyone can see that the parts have to come together into the whole in order for the team to succeed. We find that just about everybody is motivated to be part of a successful, winning team.
At Ensemble, we come at the challenge of project management with 4 things foremost in mind:
- Performance: Project management practices should ensure each individual project is successful and create a culture of accountability so that teams always know they are being set up to win and management has the information they need to make good decisions.
- Purpose: The power of purpose is about each team member deeming a project worthwhile, not necessarily for the same reasons, and taking responsibility for more than just their specific part. One of the dictionary definitions of “Ensemble” is “all the parts, taken together, in relation to the whole.”
- Relationships: Accomplishment comes from respectful relationships. The most reliable way to build trust is by making, monitoring and meeting commitments with each other. This is at the heart of Commitment-Based Project Management.
- Systems View: To be effective and sustainable, processes and practices must operate effectively within existing organizational structures. They must also account for the fact that individuals are always choosing from a range of competing commitments.