The EC, POC, and SPM

avant-garde acronyms to change today's business culture


Executive Suite


Ruldoph G. Boznak is an internationally recognized authority in strategic operationalization, computer-integrated enterprise, manufacturing, and major automated systems design and implementation. He advises Fortune 50 executives on how to improve their manufacturing competitiveness by developing and integrating state-of-the-art systems and the human dynamics required to implement them Boznak is a pioneer and leading proponent of strategic project management and the project-oriented company. A member of PMI, Boznak has a B.S. in business management from the University of Nebraska, an M.S. in management/computer science from American Technological University, and is a certified project management professional.

What do the acronyms EC, POC, and SPM mean? Why should they be considered avant-garde, and how will they change today's business structure? EC refers to the European Community, whose members are leading the way toward a more unified European Trading Center beginning in 1992. “As 1992 draws nearer, the intensification of competition within the European Community and the threat from foreign competitors means that management must be fully prepared for the consequences,” writes James W. Dudley in his book 1992, Strategies for the Single Market.

Managers must formulate a survival strategy, but also need to take full advantage of the new opportunities facing their companies in light of the developments in 1992, such as “single market legislation, strategic management, how to research markets, pricing strategy, international advertising and media policies, product development/R&D, logistics and production, and foreign exchange,” he adds.

This leads us to the second acronym, POC, or Project-Oriented Company. Dudley defines the EC's project-oriented company organization as follows:

Organization of people and deployment of resources have to match the strategic intention of the business. It is of paramount importance, therefore, that in evolving an organizational structure, cognizance is taken of the following:

  • Dividing the business into manageable units which are highly accountablefor performance and which are well led;
  • Creating lines of communication which permit the flow of information and direction to pass freely to target recipients and receivers;
  • Ensuring that an adequate decision-making structure is in place which exacts discipline and quality from decisions made, while at the same time providing the organization with a sense of direction, clear criteria, flexibility and rapid responses; the organization with a sense of direction, clear criteria, flexibility and rapid responses;

Managers must formulate a survival strategy, but also need to take full advantage of the new opportunities facing their companies in light of the developments in 1992…

  • Providing a culture and infrastructure which facilitates creativity and makes things happen-yet which at the same time guides activity down productive avenues;
  • Enabling a pool of skills and seasoned management to be created from which managers (and champions] can be summoned to manage product market projects and organizational development (a failure of many Japanese companies).

Dudley states:

To this end, an organization should be designed to:

  • Permit the company's objectives to be focused on market opportunities;
  • Provide for the optimum selection of new projects and opportunities;
  • Deploy company resources to where they are strategically needed in the development and reinforcement of the company's competitive position.

The organization should be flexible, allowing it to evolve to meet growth and strategic requirements.

The last acronym, SPM, or Strategic Project Management, is a new term to most project management practitioners. It means that if we are to be successful in creating a project-oriented company, we must have a means to coordinate, integrate, and control all of these projects. In essence, Dudley says the multi-project management issues of the project-oriented company require that a strategic project management methodology be in place in order to:

  • Effectively allocate resources and perform response strategic business management and planning;
  • Coordinate competence centers through which company direction, product marketing and resourcing strategies, product development, production and logistics management can be integrated to fulfill the corporate mission;
  • Ensure that accountability and responsibility are defined at each level within the organization;
  • Ensure that there are the minimum of conflicts, no incapabilities in the direction of corporate effort, and no waste of energy and resources through duplication of effort or poor coordination.

Today the European Community (EC), faced with the competitive pressures of 1992 and beyond, is pioneering the integration of the Project-Oriented Company (POC) and Strategic Project Management (SPM). Together, these initiatives are a synergistic and avant-garde approach to competitive business management. As Dudley so rightly states:

The right choice of organization is important to emphasize that organizational structure, however well its dispositions are laid, is only effective in fully exploiting a business's competitive advantages where it:

  • Is well-led;
  • Has a mission around which a committed and courageous management can aggressively maintain the corporate position against competitor forces and select and exploit new opportunities;
  • Inspires a corporate culture from within its ranks, providing motivation for its managers and staff through challenge and self-fulfillment, as well as as rewards;
  • Facilitates the acquisition of skills, knowledge and experience from which it can learn and acquire a high standard of capability;
  • Provides adequate people and resources to match tasks, not burdening them with a mass of under-skilled, unmotivated bureaucrats;
  • Embrace winning as a corporate norm.

As project management professionals, we should monitor the European Community's approach toward implementing the project-oriented company and strategic project management initiatives. Who knows, if POC and SPM are good enough for the EC, just maybe they are good enough for the rest of the world.


OCTOBER 1992 pm network



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