• November 25, 2015

Project Conceptualization to Project completion- Adopting the New Enterprise Portfolio Management


Have you ever considered the framework of project management and its limitation to the enterprise system. The PMBOK advocates for a more structural project management practice and the system of its governance has been very helpful in the implementation of project. The project management processes and methodology as detailed by the Project Management Institute is rich and helpful within the governance framework of the Project management office, PMO. This system teaches a more rigid management framework which helps the project manager and the team implement projects successfully. Yet, th system is deficient in its non realistic approaches to project management and enterprise management relationship.

Background- Why are projects initiated?

Most often, projects are conceptualized outside the governance reach of the PMO. The high level management of an organization or an institution develops demands to project dues to heaven burden upon the board. Most often, these projects are due to popular demand by the citizenry of a Nation which forces the government to start thinking of a possible solution to a popular challenge. Sometimes, business solutions are demanded by clients whose connection is mainly with the top management board; this is a start in the pathway to starting a project which is conceptualized by the duo. This most often is based on a business case presented to the top management board during a negotiation or a business meeting. Sometimes, the organization may also strategically launch a new project to meet the strategic business opportunity with in its reach. These opportunities are discovered by either the same management board or the business development unit. Within the structure of an organization, the marketing unit may also persuade the high level governance to implement a project to meet the strategic market demands. Other projects are dues to the internal demands within an organization.

It is also important to point that most organization has the PMO or a department that focuses on Project outside this board. In most organization, the Project team are the engineers and technical inclined personnel lead by a Project Management. The PMO is often perceived as a bunch of waste bins where already conceptualized and agreed projects are dumped for implementation. Most times, if not always, the PMO is not fully represented in the Board meetings where projects are conceptualized and agreed on. Yet, the PMO is handed over to expect to run the projects.

This systemic error which cuts off the Project Management office has become the basis for project failure and slows down in organizational project competence. It’s important to understand that the basis for project success is the full adoption of Project management best practice within the organizational reach.

Recently, i used an example in a training session. The President of a country, during his top meetings with his ministers expanded on the need to have some set of schools that will help rehabilitate the children displaced by war and also helping they reconnect to the system of learning. What was most important to the president t that moment was giving a new face to the country so that he can make a better presentation in the United Nations Meeting which he ws convinced will help attract more investors in the space of education. The Ministers were delighted and a memo was fully passed the Minister of Education and he also passed that the Permanent secretary. The lower level management system decided to gave out the funding of the presidential project to the Central Bank of Nigeria for funding, During a meeting with the CBN, the decision making engine agreed to write back to the president for approval of funding and solicited that the CBN runs the project. Quickly, the president approved the demand. And afterwards, the CBN sent project authorization to the PMO of the bank. Immediately, the PMO started working out the implementation of the project. Yet, the major requirement, which was to give the country a new international look went missing. Ask me why!

Project Management versus Enterprise Portfolio Management

The Project management structure isolates the PMO as a project engineering department that drives the successful implementation of project; creating project options and strategies to achieve the objectives. This isolates the PMO from the decision making board. Most often, the decisions made at the high level boards are inadequately passed down to the project department and hence, the team makes wrong decisions on project basically because of the inability to fathom the basis for project approval. It’s very important to say that beyond the arithmetical method of justifying projects, it’s also important to admit that there are other businesses cases that the project department needs to understand which will intern direct their judgment.

Project decisions are always dependent of project needs and project needs are subject to this business case.

Business case captures the reasoning for initiating a project or task. It is often presented in a well-structured written document, but may also sometimes come in the form of a short verbal argument or presentation. This documentation must detail every purpose and business reason for implement the project. Most times, some projects are also engineered from within an organization. These projects are internal and must align to the overall business objective of the organization. Its one of the toughest discuss in the project mamagemnt training session. How projects align to the 3 looks of every organization:

  1. The Vision and Mission of the organization
  2. The business needs of the functional departments
  3. The brand identity of the organization

Its important to admit that project decisions must align to these three looks of the organization. When an organization’s project is misaligned to the brand identity of the organization- it creates a problem of buy-in with the team members.

There are organizational ways to address this issue of disconnect between Projects management and Enterprise portfolio management. I will carefully alight these issues.

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