Project Management Institute

The future is EPM




By 2005, 40 percent of Global 2000 organizations will employ enterprise program management (EPM) to implement enterprise solutions underlying technical architecture and infrastructure, according to Meta Group, Stamford, Conn., USA.

EPM allows organizations to establish business processes and project priorities, mapping them against corporate objectives. Through project portfolio management and analysis, managers can maximize resource utilization, eliminate duplicate projects, collect organizational knowledge and institute best practices. In addition, team members benefit from better communication, streamlined resource management and improved productivity.

A mature EPM environment enables change and establishes governance through a strategic project office or other governing body. EPM is supported by repeatable processes and best practices and automated through technology (EPM software integrated with core financial systems and enterprise resource planning).

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), Kent, Wash., USA, a leading supplier of specialty outdoor products, just introduced EPM through the technology door by implementing the Microsoft Office 2003 EPM Solution. “We have always delivered high-quality products; however, we needed to improve our project management capabilities in order to increase our efficiency, consistency and capacity,” says Kevin Myette, director of business operations for REI Gear and Apparel. Microsoft's EPM Solution enables REI's project managers to manage project planning, portfolios and division resources online. In addition, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Outlook enables REI team members to communicate, collaborate and manage documents.

An organization's workforce delivers strategic initiatives through the successful and expert application of project management. To support the project managers, the organization has an established clear project management career path, supported by professional development and competency programs. The mature EPM organization relies on mentors/coaches, project managers, and project planning and control experts to maximize the successful delivery of strategic project initiatives.

An organization's workforce delivers strategic initiatives through the successful and expert application of project management.

Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. (Horizon), Newark, N.J., USA, reinforces EPM through the process door. Horizon wanted to increase enterprisewide operational efficiencies and purchased a customized version of a Web-based methodology. The project management community of practice (PMCOP) serves as a central repository for proven project management methodologies, processes and knowledge, which Horizon adopted and consolidated with its own set of tools and guidelines.

The PMCOP has been incorporated into Horizon's business and will be available to its more than 4,000 employees. “Over the past few years, we noticed that many of our project managers used their own separate templates and practices,” says David Mitchell, enterprise project management office manager at Horizon Healthcare Services. “Important steps were often missed, and the projects suffered. We needed our project management practices to be consistent and available to the entire organization in an easy-to-follow, easy-to-access format. The PMCOP's Web-based format fits nicely with our overall direction of providing our entire enterprisewide project community with all of the information they need, from one reliable source.”

Other organizations initiate EPM through training or departmental pilots. As business has become more multi-project-oriented, integrating project teams and sharing resources has become a fundamental requirement of the planning, process and tools required within organizations.

To successfully implement EPM, leaders must develop a consistent method of project portfolio management practices to ensure that the organization invests in the right projects and optimizes resources to manage them efficiently. An EPM initiative needs to have executive-level support backed by funding, and staff who are trained and have the right tools to support the project organization. There must be defined business priorities and a managed project portfolio. The end result will be a project management culture within the organization that delivers projects which support the corporate strategies.

Meta further predicts that by 2006, integrated enterprise-level strategy/planning, architecture and program management will be key competencies for enterprise portfolio management. Forty percent of Global 2000 enterprises will focus on enterprise portfolio optimization to strategically and tactically deliver business value. Stay competitive: Think EPM. PM


Deborah Bigelow, PMP, is executive vice president of PM Solutions Inc., a Havertown, Pa., USA-based project management consulting company. She was executive director of the Project Management Institute from 1992 through 1996.

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