Enterprise project management

a road map for getting off to the right start


by Paul C. Dinsmore, PMP, Contributing Editor

MORE HEADS ARE NODDING affirmatively about applying a “projectized” approach to running business. I see this at conferences, seminars, and in conversations with executives in company settings. Even companies whose end products are not projects (such as consumer product manufacturers, or telephone carriers) are implementing project approaches to shrink time-to-market and increase organizational productivity.

It's a natural process—a consequence of the times. Fast-tracking projects are needed to stay ahead of the steamrolling marketplace. The market demands rollout of products and services at an ever-increasing pace, and it depends on projects for that to happen. Thus there is a growing spotlight on implementing Enterprise Project Management.

Enterprise Project Management is an organization-wide managerial philosophy based on the principle that company goals are achievable through a web of simultaneous projects. This web calls for a systemic approach and includes corporate strategy projects, operational improvement, and organizational transformation, as well as traditional development projects.

Making Enterprise Project Management a reality means developing a project aimed at transforming the organization into a more dynamic, project-driven enterprise. For that to happen, the initial phase of the change project needs to be well grounded so that the subsequent implementation phases are carried out successfully. Once the upfront project items are taken care of (basic information gathering, fixing project objectives, and determining primary project management strategies), the next step in planning an Enterprise Project Management program is to map out an overview of the change project. This is done through the classic project management technique, the work breakdown structure.

A sample work breakdown for implementing Enterprise Project Management, shown in Exhibit 1, was developed to portray an overview of an Enterprise Project Management program for a telecommunications company. The starting point for the WBS was drawn from chapter 4 of my book Winning in Business With Enterprise Project Management [Amacom, 1998]. The work breakdown structure was then customized to reflect the company's situation and used to pinpoint items requiring immediate attention.

The Enterprise Project Management movement was labeled the EPM Program and broken down into seven levels as follows: Management of the EPM Program; Strategic Alignment with Company Objectives; Cultural Change; Communication; Corporate Organization and Process; People; and Areas of Interface. Each of those items in turn was subdivided into their respective component parts as listed below.

Management of the EPM Program. The key elements for managing the EPM program were defined to ensure adequate managerial effort was focused on the program. The items outlined were:

Organization for the EPM Program. Determine responsible parties and players for carrying out the program and how they relate to one another organizationally.

Methodologies and Procedures. Identify a basic methodology for managing projects in the organization and develop the necessary procedures for putting them in place.

PMBOK® Guide Project Areas. Prioritize the areas requiring attention and develop plans for making necessary improvements.

Program Strategy Planning. Develop overall strategies for ensuring program success.

Program Detailed Planning, Administration, and Control. Map out the details for implementing and monitoring the EPM program.

Program Change Management. Establish the criteria and procedures for dealing with the inevitable changes that crop up throughout the project.

This WBS was developed to portray an overview of Enterprise Project Management for a telecommunications company, and used to pinpoint items requiring immediate attention

Exhibit 1. This WBS was developed to portray an overview of Enterprise Project Management for a telecommunications company, and used to pinpoint items requiring immediate attention.

Strategic Alignment With Company Objectives. Since the aim of Enterprise Project Management is to ensure that projects are aligned with company objectives, this heading was subdivided as follows:

Stakeholder Analysis. Identify stakeholders, analyze probable behavior, plan best approaches, and implement action.

Strategic Alliances. Determine which groups or movements within the company should be targeted for strategic agreements.

Formal Declaration. Formalize a charter for the EPM program.

Operating Premises. Establish the assumptions for how the program is to be implemented and operated.

Positioning With Respect to the Competition. Determine how Enterprise Project Management can best help the company create competitive advantage.

Strategic Interfaces. Identify and manage the interfaces necessary to ensure smooth management of projects across the enterprise.

Cultural Change. Enterprise Project Management is a different way of doing business and therefore calls for cultural change within the organization. These are the items targeted to bring about that change:

Description of Desired Change. Describe specifically what needs changing in terms of organization, behavior, and results.

Present Organizational Climate. Relate the characteristics of the present organizational climate to be used as a baseline.

Desired Organizational Climate. Describe the climate that needs to dominate the organization in order for corporate goals to be met.

Communication. Always critical to the success of any project, the action items for communication were targeted under the following headings:

Communication Strategies. Develop overall approaches for communicating strategies and information for the project.

Select Channels. Determine which communication channels should be used in each given situation.

Create Awareness. Develop plans for ensuring that the organization is fully involved in the Enterprise Project Management movement.

Monitor Communication Effectiveness. Establish a system for tracking the effectiveness of the communication strategies developed.

Corporate Organization and Process. EPM requires adjustments across the organization and affects ongoing processes; therefore these topics were selected for review for compatibility and convergence:

Systems. Analyze compatibility of overall organization systems and propose necessary adaptations.

Roles and Responsibilities. Formally determine who is responsible for carrying out the various activities involved in implementing and operating Enterprise Project Management.

Processes. Review and optimize project management processes.

Technology. Ensure that related technology is up to date and that provision is made for future updates.

Hierarchy and Interfaces. Analyze the impact of the existing hierarchy and principal interfaces.

Corporate Organization Design. Review formal organization design and recommend adjustments as deemed necessary.

People. Since the success of the entire program hinges on the people issues, the following topics were selected as focal points for action in the EPM program:

Training and Development. Determine needs and develop programs such as training for PMP® (Project Management Professional) in order to improve the level of individual performance.

Team Building. Develop team spirit through on-the-job attitudes and group training programs such as outdoor experiential workshops.

Personnel Allocation. Determine the requirements for recruiting and for best allocation of all personnel.

Competency Assessment. Evaluate the need for performing a formal competency assessment of individual abilities and carry out necessary measures.

Competency Based Remuneration. Determine requirements for remuneration based on the results of the competency testing.

Areas of Interface. Because the program was being launched and managed on a virtual basis, areas of interface became particularly critical to the success of the effort. These are the areas identified for specific interfacing strategy and action:

Finance. Articulate with the financial areas the requirements involving business case criteria and corporate resource allocation requirements.

Procurement. Coordinate policies and practices for contracting and contract management.

Quality. Develop working relationships with internal quality programs and project quality criteria.

Marketing. Articulate interface between initial business case phase and the project implementation phase.

I T. Develop coordination relationship with the IT area.

Project Management Steering Committee. Provide leadership and coordination for the biweekly project management steering committee meetings and carry out appropriate followup activities.

Engineering. Carry out hands-on coordination of all projects assigned to the engineering directorate.

Administrative. Develop working relationship with all administrative areas and procedures to ensure the smooth flow of the Enterprise Project Management effort.

Operational. Involve the operational directorate in projects to optimize operations once the project is completed.

THE PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING more projectized organizations hinges on the ability to obtain an overview of the steps required to implement project practices across the enterprise. The classic project tool, the work breakdown structure, as illustrated in the example given, provides just the holistic view necessary to make Enterprise Project Management a reality. ■

Reader Service Number 102


Paul C. Dinsmore, PMP, is a Fellow of PMI and the author of seven books, including the AMA Handbook of Project Management [Amacom, N Y, 1993] and Winning in Business With Enterprise Project Management [Amacom, N Y, 1998]. He is president of Dinsmore Associates, with world headquarters based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (fax +55-21-252-1200; e-mail [email protected]). Direct comment on this column to [email protected].

June 2000 PM Network



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