Project Management Institute

In the pipeline


Jeffrey Amason, PMP, is vice president of professional services at GeoFields Inc., an Atlanta, Ga., USA-based data solutions provider for the oil and gas industry.

Because of changing technologies and a maturing oil and gas pipeline marketplace, GeoFields Inc. faces complex demands to deliver new revenue-generating projects while minimizing costs. To deal with these shifts, we implemented a project management methodology focused on delivering added-value solutions for our customers.

Since our inception in 1996, GeoFields had leveraged the skills of our technical staff when project management responsibilities were needed. Although sufficient for a while, this model limited us to a portfolio of only a few less complex projects. These projects typically supported a finite base of customers comfortable with the emergent technologies we used.

But as other solution providers enter the fray, the marketplace has become more competitive. For GeoFields, this created the proverbial irony of success: how to effectively and efficiently meet the growing demands of our clients that threaten to outstrip our capabilities.

In 2005, we established a project methodology based on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Our two primary objectives were:

■ Deliver more solutions to our clients while minimizing the additional internal overhead

■ Create a differential between ourselves and our competitors to deliver solutions that create added value for our customers.

The methodology was developed to reflect internal business needs, including proposal collaboration and resource balancing, as well as external client needs, such as scope clarity and predictable milestones and costs.

The impact was immediate and profitable. Partnerships between project managers and account managers resulted in greater clarity of the client's problem and the proposed solution. This clarity increased the client's confidence that the proposal wasn't just a sales pitch.

Efficiency in enterprise resource allocation also increased. Project managers gathered weekly to review and discuss the aggregate portfolio impact of the project work efforts on the technical staff. Adjustments were made to balance workload across the portfolio and to identify potential downtime that could be leveraged on other projects.

Overall, the methodology enabled the organization to understand the end-to-end effort involved in providing the solution to the client. Projects are no longer composed solely of technical efforts but also include implementation, training and close-out activities once delegated to others internally.

Since we invested in project management, clients have praised our diligence in scope definition, early communication of issues and scheduling accuracy.

Since we invested in project management, clients have praised our diligence in scope definition, early communication of issues and scheduling accuracy. This recognition has validated GeoFields’ vision of strong project management as a tool to achieve success and deliver marketable value to our clients. PM

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