Thursday, May 17, 2007

First Steps

I was recently asked by a friend, "How can I get the company to execute projects on time within budget - all the time. What are the tools and culture needs, where do I start ?. We need project excellence "

To me that was a very opened ended question- which I will address to the best of my abilities;

To get Enterprise Project Management going is no easy task. One needs over mature of time , in this thought process. Baby steps are always called for. The cost of doing it wrong is dollars wasted or opportunities could be lost. The key is to identify the Business processes, people and tools that one has. Once this is understood, then the framework for "Organizational readiness" can be created.

These are are my first steps, My 10 point programme to create this framework would be ;

1) A Comprehensive strategy for Process Oriented Project Implementation.
This area would delve deeply into the motives of the company, what do they want, eventually. Who will lead the charge, what resources can be allocated, etc. The Essence of this Phase would be to ensure that EPM is really what is wanted and an overall EPM Mobilization efforts charter is created. This also could considered as complete business plan. After all, this is a new business practice and investment. Like all other investments a due diligence process needs to be done.

2) Best Current Practice review

Review all the Best Current Practices within the organization's current Project portfolio. Identify short coming and areas for change. Ear mark those practices that have worked well. Look for the practice that are not used anymore, ask why these practices failed or not used. Look at the lesson learnt from past projects. Follow the rigor of historical analysis.

3) Project Management Office (PMO) creation.
Create a central control zone for managing the creative processes that are needed to sustain the EPM efforts. Executive sponsorship is required. There's the saying, that those who care -- will be there. Once a new entity /department is created within a Enterprise, everyone goes gung ho and wants to be, a part of it or just shut themselves out. This is just normal human reaction. Executive leadership will ease the concerns and bridge management tiers. By showing strong support, they tell the Enterprise - this is something that is important to the business mission.

4) Validation/Communication Strategy
Identify with all partners, stakeholders and resources criteria that will ensure that the value pathway being created is within the boundaries of strategy. This will help in ensuring that PSI ( Project Success indicators) are being fostered at the early plan stage. Remember, even at this junction of the programme, the initiative is creating a method of partnership, feedback, communication that will sustain long term benefits once EPM is deployed.

5) Orientation of PM and resources
Getting the grass root level people on the same page is vital and critical. No amount of technology investment will sustain ROI's unless there is a complete buying by the grass root level folks.

6) General Management orientation
As the Mobilization efforts are in play, take time to speak to the other people within the Organization. Create an Orientation session or just a brown bag session. Let them know what is happening and how things are going. This is an across the board initiative, let all who have ears hear. Transparency and info sharing always pays off.

7) Getting IT/Technical Support in the loop
As the the technology is IT related, the IT department has a lot to contribute to the initiative. They need to understand the ramifications of the technology platform , networking, component infrastructure and support needs for an EPM solution. They are just as critical as the business owners. Seek to be known, just like you would like other to know thee !!

8) Risk Matrix
Once you gone thru at least one iteration of the above 7 steps, you would have bundles of information to created a first cut Risk Analysis. Never go to the next step till this done. Project Management is all about Risk evasion. Period !!

9) EPM Build 1.0 documentation
This is first cut on what,when, how and who will eventually need to get things done to successfully implement and deploy EPM. This is the end state for EPM mobilization efforts. What begins as a 2-4 page project Charter, now will have an end state of about 100-200 pages document. This becomes the bible for next phase.

10) Road Map
Personally I always like to create a roadmap of what the folio may need to be with lets say 5 years time. So even if a phased in or turnkey method is used. One can review holistic viewpoint and milestones across the time line. This also permits a company to project deep into what may be termed as a future folio. Immersive technlogies like HALO and Telepresence will certainly have impact in EPM in terms of Global Service Delivery of Projects. We should must always keep the eyeballs on progressive and emergent areas. Thats how one is alwasy leading and not following !!