Project Management Institute

Strategically speaking

What is the biggest strategic impact project management has had on your company?

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Steven Atkins,
Secretary, Melbourne Chapter, Workplace
Project Manager, Toll Transitions,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

We recently conducted a strategy workshop that identified the inadequacy of the project teams' quality and documentation usage. Simple analysis of our strategic procedures enabled us to implement a more workable strategy to provide greater client satisfaction and team uniformity.

The new methodology consists of four distinct project phases, which until now had been ambiguous and unclear. Now each project manager displays confidence in providing service and has a step-by-step methodology with all relevant documentation to guide the client through the project.

The resultant strategic impact on our company is the increased productivity, growth of our product and, more importantly, client confidence and satisfaction in our ability to provide a solid approach to all project work throughout Australia.

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Ken Robson, PMP, President,
New Zealand Chapter, Project Rollout Manager,
Field Radio Upgrade Project, Department of Conservation,
Wellington, New Zealand

The ability to control costs. Many organizations embark on projects with little or no idea of the end cost to the organization in relation to the benefit that will be achieved.

By implementing sound project management practices, an organization puts in place processes that make it follow a series of steps with reviews. This gives them the ability to check that the costs being incurred are in line with the budget.

However, more importantly, the reviews give them the opportunity to confirm that the originally forecasted benefits still will be realized, or that the project should be cancelled. It is amazing how people react to the thought of cancelling a project until you explain to them cancellation allows its unspent budget to be allocated elsewhere, rather than pouring in good money after bad.

Furthermore, if the organization collects project statistics such as effort, money and time, their future projects can be more accurately forecasted. Project management also fosters cost savings, as projects that are forecast to cost more than the projected benefit are not even started.

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Linda Vella, PMP, PMI Director-at-Large,
Program Director, Implementation
Management Office, TD Bank Financial Group,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Approximately three years ago, two large financial institutions, Toronto Dominion Bank and Canada Trust, embarked on an integration project. As part of this project, it was decided that some basic project management practices would be followed.

Since that time, projects have been looked at in a very different way. Executives requested that the processes applied during integration be refined and enhanced, their progress be monitored and reported on a regular basis. They also wanted to ensure that all major initiatives were tied to the company's strategic vision. As a result, the implementation management office (IMO) was born.

The IMO's mission is to enable the bank to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in its ability to successfully execute business projects. At the end of each project phase, financials are reviewed and restated. At this time, decisions are made about whether to continue with the project.

Additionally, monthly reporting on projects' progress occurs via the IMO to the executive management team. Post-implementation reviews are conducted six months after project completion to ensure projects have met their original objectives.

These levels of scrutiny ensure that only those projects that support the bank's strategic direction are implemented. As a result, management is not hesitant to stop a project that no longer makes sense. Project management is now a way of life at the bank, and if a project doesn't support the bank's strategic goals and produce results, it doesn't get done.

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Rubenson Chaves, President, PMI Manaus,
Brazil Chapter, Manufacturing Project Engineer,
Nokia Mobile Phones Manufacturing Center,
Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

We have a powerful methodology to reach the market and customer faster than our competitors. It is linked by a competence development in our project management area and our process. Using a speed clock in our product launches gave us the flexibility to put out new products faster, without losing quality and innovation.

Our troubleshooter's analysis based on knowledge management projects also has significant strategic impact on our organization. It allows us to increase market share and to invest in new business and technologies.

In addition, Six Sigma projects have positively impacted our cost reduction and process improvement.

But behind all projects, the people are the key to success, and without them, we cannot do anything.

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Randy Banks,
Program Executive,
Riskparadigm Inc.,
London, Ontario, Canada

I consulted for a training company—a subsidiary of a large technology and consulting organization—that recently had deployed an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The three-year development effort was not accumulating revenues or discharging expenses appropriately, resulting in large losses.

Perhaps because of this, the parent company had decided that the subsidiary “didn't fit” in its portfolio and was looking for a buyer. This was rather difficult with a system that no one could rely on to produce accurate numbers. The parent was considering just closing the company, laying off all of the employees and eating the costs of closure.

My mandate was to determine if the ERP system was salvageable and to fix it. I instituted rigorous project management methodologies, deployed them into the organization and quickly determined that the cause of the problem was a process failure rather than an application failure. In the space of less than three months, we fixed the process failure, generated accurate financials and used them to identify a buyer.

Again, using project management methodologies, we guided the purchaser through the due diligence process, with the result that the company was sold to the new buyer with no loss of any employee's job. This also saved the parent company millions of dollars over the cost of closure.

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Elden F. Jones II, PMP, Chairman, Configuration
Management SIG, Director-at-Large, Risk
Management SIG, Senior Project Management
Consultant, E&T Enterprises, Santee, Calif., USA

By utilizing all aspects of project management, we have made strides in determining what to take on and what to leave for others. Making sure every action aligns with the company's strategic vision has created greater focus, allowing us not to pursue everything that comes along.

The proposal process is one of several areas in which project management has brought improvement and focus. Previously, about half of the proposals required major revisions. Planning and implementing quality assurance has reduced major revisions to only about 10 percent, allowing more proposals to be developed.

Also, implementing the strategic focus and project management into every aspect of business allows us to track the work required for the various functions. This provides the resources for proposal development that are the major issues to undertake in the beginning.

Further, focusing on opportunities and threats using valid risk analysis has helped us to better understand our clients and the overall marketplace. Placing impact and probabilities on our request for proposals (RFP) has allowed a more educated approach to which RFPs would need a response.

Lastly, putting a scheduling methodology into practice has saved time in proposal development, allowing us to deliver and respond to more RFPs than the current system could have handled. By plotting out the existing process into a schedule, we could illustrate the lost time in the process and the redundancy within. This effort saved time and allowed further exposure to the company's strategic focus.

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Al Zeitoun, PMP,
Chief Projects Officer,
International Institute for Learning Inc.,
New York, N.Y., USA

Project management has been the core focus of our business over the years, and it has strategically changed the way we do business. Most of our major assignments are seen as projects, which requires the proper kickoff with the right players, a project plan and the checkpoints necessary for completion.

This systematic approach has helped us tremendously in the international arena, where connectivity and communication are more complex. Our software and Web-based solutions' product development are classic examples of the cooperation needed between the various skill sets across our organization, our customers' organizations and our suppliers' organizations.

Proper project management has been fundamental in achieving the expectations of our senior team and customer base. Managing our business by projects is a strategic weapon that is more crucial in today's environment than any in our industry.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

PM NETWORK | MARCH 2004 | WWW.PMI.ORG
MARCH 2004 | PM NETWORK

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