Project Management Institute

From process to people


CARL SERGEANT, PMP, is assistant vice president at Bell Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He oversees the project management and outsourcing organization responsible for managing Bell's business-customer contracts.

photography by NADIA MOLINARI



Three years ago, Bell Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, transferred all of its core traffic to a multi-protocol label switching platform (IP MPLS). As a company, we were shifting our focus from products to become more people- and customer-centric. To succeed in the information communications technology market and deliver the comprehensive solutions our customers wanted, we had to break down silos and bring together a wide range of people.

In 2004, my team and I formalized the project management standards that we had been applying for years. Called Prism, the professional services model focuses on the potential of all team members by providing them with training and resources. Employees must be “future enabled”—we need to train them to become project management consultants, increase their opportunities and build morale.

Employees must be “future enabled”—we need to train them to become project management consultants, increase their opportunities and build morale.

I implemented a resource-management team to bring together a diverse group of specialists and companies from across the organization. This team reached across traditional boundaries and fostered innovative partnerships and connections among the subject matter experts. We formalized this initiative as the solutions management office.

Everyone had to be completely enfranchised, so they could speak freely and share their ideas without fear of retribution. We created an environment where everyone worked equally and openly toward a common goal. Employees were given autonomy and encouraged to expand their knowledge base. Hierarchies were abolished. Instead of bowing to rank and power as it had in the past, the team focused on developing the skills, talents and creative spirit of enterprise employees.

This new perspective brings the right individuals to the table, creating an environment that breeds innovation. It puts employees, not processes, at the center of the solution and enables them to excel for the customer. In the past, one department was responsible for assessing deals to ensure they were both viable and financially worthwhile for Bell. This process took up to four weeks to complete.

Applying Prism and bringing in subject matter experts at all levels have helped slash turnaround time to 48 hours. To enhance project management support, the team has assigned subject matter experts to assist project managers, who now are able to devote more time to clients and less to administrative issues. The team also has added a cradle-to-grave contract management function and launched a knowledge-management database.

Bell has committed to having its backbone national traffic traveling on an IP MPLS network by 2006 and to providing customers with access to a full suite of IP-based services. Project management will be the key to our future success. PM

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