SOURCE: eProject

March 07, 2006 12:44 ET

Industry Vet, Author Say Creating a Project-Based Organization is Key to Survival

Offer Ten Steps to Nourish and Construct an Environment for More Successful Projects

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 7, 2006 --Few managers realize that they can make consistent and continuing efforts to optimize the environment in which projects are planned and implemented, and that the continuing survival of their organization depends upon it.

According to Randall L. Englund, co-author of "Creating an Environment for Successful Projects, 2nd edition," and Christian Smith, vice president of sales and marketing at eProject (www.eproject.com), this process can start with a survey to assess the project environment and continues by taking action on findings.

“The goal is simply to construct an environment in which projects are more successful,” says Smith.

How can we nourish the right environment for Selecting, Executing, and Getting Better results from projects? Here are 10 steps that will help managers get started:

1. Change to project-based organization.

Realize that a project or program based organization is key to survival. Support cultural changes to revitalize the organization around projects. Organize upper managers in teams that model desired behaviors.

2. Strategic emphasis for projects.

Clearly link each project to organizational goals. Use a prioritization process that everyone understands and supports. Develop and run the organization according to a plan of record.

Adds Englund, “Categorize projects into strategic 'buckets' that fulfill organizational goals, determine what percent of the whole goes into each bucket (in dollars or other resources), prioritize projects according to criteria within each bucket, and resource projects in priority order until resources within that bucket are used up.”

3. Understand upper management influence.

Support the planning process. Negotiate reasonable deadlines. Be careful to support, not interfere, in times of anxiety (when most management mistakes are made!). Reward desired behaviors on projects.

4. Develop a core team process.

Define a core team that directs and stays together during the entire project -- knowledge workers are not interchangeable parts. Support trust building, and clearly define roles and responsibilities.

5. Organize for project management.

Set up systems that focus on results, not controls. Provide the necessary scoping and authority to project managers. Align projects with customers, and involve end-users throughout projects. Design effective decision-making processes. Recognize that there is no one perfect organizational structure, but you must ensure that the structure doesn’t interfere with the goal of project success.

6. Develop a project management information system.

Use information to relieve anxiety -- the right information at the right time to answer stakeholder questions. Eliminate benefits of poor communications by placing greater value on good communications. Highlight interdependencies of projects across the organization.

7. Develop a plan for project manager selection and development.

Put leaders at the helm who have an aptitude for producing results by working with people and who are trained in the profession of project management. Be careful not to support the accidental project manager syndrome -- promoting people into the profession because of achievement in other areas or because he or she suggested the project. The project manager skill set is different.

8. Develop a learning organization.

View each project as an opportunity to produce a result plus improve the project management process. Perform project reviews and take action on key findings. Make learning a priority. Develop organizational project management competency. Set expectations that working on projects should be a positive experience, and can be fun. Implement a “gardener’s” approach to the environment.

9. Develop a project management initiative or project office.

Organizations improve their ability to get results when they make a concerted effort to get better at doing projects.

Says Smith, “Form a group to lead the continuous improvement of project management across the organization; you can do this by offering training, consulting, facilitation, and sharing of best practices. This is extremely beneficial.”

10. Develop project management in your organization.

Develop a project management initiative. Assess the current state, benchmark with others, define and improvement plan, implement changes and track progress. Recognize the contributions of program and project managers and the value of the project management process. Invest in training.

For a deeper dive into how you can change into a project-based organization, go to www.englundpmc.com, click on “Offerings” and “Assessment” to see the Environmental Assessment Survey Instrument (EASI). This survey steps each person through the ten pieces of the puzzle and produces a score for how well projects are supported. This data may be benchmarked against other organizations and provide the basis for action planning to create and environment for more successful projects.

About Randy Englund

Randy Englund is an independent project management executive consultant, author, trainer, speaker, and professional facilitator. Randy co-authored a book with cultural anthropologist Dr. Robert J. Graham on "Creating an Environment for Successful Projects: the Quest to Manage Project Management," targeted for managers of project managers. He then co-authored, with Graham and Paul Dinsmore, "Creating the Project Office: a Manager's Guide to Leading Organizational Change." The "Second Edition of Creating an Environment for Successful Projects" was released in 2004. His next book in-process is "Project Sponsorship: Achieving Management Commitment for Project Success," due out in Spring 2006 by Jossey-Bass Publishers. Alfonso Bucero of BUCERO PM Consulting in Madrid, Spain is a co-author. For more information visit www.englundpmc.com.

About eProject eProject (www.eproject.com) delivers the only Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-demand project and portfolio management solution for the extended enterprise. eProject OnDemand PPM is an intuitive, unified platform that enables users to maximize project ROI by compressing project cycle times, identifying best practices and optimizing resource allocations, with rapid deployment and quick adoption. eProject is used by more than 375 companies worldwide including BASF, BP, Cushman and Wakefield, Dow Chemical, Honeywell and T-Mobile.

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