Enterprise Project Governance

A Guide to the Successful Management of Projects Across the Organization

 Enterprise Project Governance

Authors: Paul C. Dinsmore, PMP, Luiz Rocha
Pub Date: March 2012
Print Edition: $34.95
Print ISBN: 9780814417461
Page Count: 288
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417478

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Chapter 1

Introduction to Enterprise Project Governance

Evolution affects everything—including projects and how projects are managed.

Projects have existed since the beginning of humankind. Egypt’s Cheops,

Leonardo da Vinci, and John F. Kennedy are some of the icons that have initiated

or influenced the evolution of projects and their management. From its simplest

form of running a single project, such as building a shelter from storms, to

dealing with multiple and complex initiatives in ever-changing environments,

such as high-tech space exploration, project management has broadened to a

state of organizational entanglement that requires a rock-solid set of policies,

structure, guidelines, and procedures. And the complexity is necessary if project

managers are going to wrangle the plethora of projects that often butt heads

at a stampede pace to achieve their desired goals.

Project management began from the intuitive logic of ancient architects

and grew through successive stages of development that include these factors:

l Single projects

l Methodologies

l Software

l Multiple projects

l Programs

l Project portfolios

l Project management office

l Issues of governance

Thus the field of managing projects shows an ever broadening scope—from

ad hoc, single-project approaches to a complex, all-encompassing view of portfolios,

programs, and projects. This evolution peaks at the level of Enterprise

Project Governance (EPG), the umbrella of policies and criteria that comprise

the laws for the sundry components that make up the world of projects.

In real life, scenarios of governance in project management vary from

freeflowing laissez-faire to formalized corporate PMO oversight. The typical ways

project management is handled in organizations are:

1. Laissez Faire (whatever will be will be). Projects are carried out as required

using intuitive approaches or methodologies that vary from one

project to another. Nobody knows how many projects are underway in

the company or the status of all the projects.

2. Departmental (territorial). Each department or area develops methodology

and practice appropriate for that department. No cross-fertilization

exists with other departments.

3. PMOs, Project Management Offices (one or several). Some companies

have multiple PMOs, either at different levels or in different regions.

They are sometimes connected, but they oft en operate independently.

4. Corporate-Level PMO (top-down oversight). Here, a chief project officer,

a corporate project management office, or a strategic project management

office cares for the implementation of strategic projects and

for the overall project management practice in the company, including

project portfolio management.

EPG goes a step further, proposing an all-encompassing approach to the

management of projects across an enterprise, involving all players, including

board members, CEO, other C-level executives, portfolio managers, PMO

managers, and project managers. This book focuses on this overriding issue of

Enterprise Project Governance and shows how the components of projects fit

under its protective umbrella. The essence of EPG is explained in the answers

to the following questions.

What is EPG anyway? Enterprise Project Governance is a framework residing

under the umbrella of top management and corporate governance. It is

aimed at ensuring the alignment of the corporate portfolio and its programs and

projects with overall strategy, and that actions are proactively taken to confirm

that everything stays on track ultimately to create value for the organization.

Why implement EPG? Enterprise Project Governance is designed to meet

an urgent need: to find a way to deal intelligently and efficiently with the numerous

projects and programs demanded by the marketplace, evolving technology,

company stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and the quest to innovate.

All of this is to be done with limited resources and at record-making speed.

EPG presents an orderly and effective organizational approach for dealing with

these critical issues.

Who are EPG stakeholders? Enterprise Project Governance stakeholders

include initiators, change agents, and affected parties. An initiator might be

a board member, the CEO, the CIO, other C-level executive, or an influential

middle manager. Once the seeds are planted, active participation is required

from change agents such as corporate PMO players, PMO members, IT (information

technology) participants, and HR agents. The parties benefited include

organizational stakeholders who need projects performed effectively and the

professionals who deal directly or indirectly with projects.

When is it right to implement EPG? The conventional approach to deciding

the right time is to do a size-up of the situation, using internal or external resources.

A quick project management maturity assessment is helpful to understand

the depth of knowledge and competency available in the organization.

Answers to these questions also help evaluate the right time frame: What are

the short-, mid-, and long-term benefits? Is the organization’s culture ready, or

is more change management required first? Is the right leadership prepared to

take on the task?

Where should EPG be implemented? Implementation of Enterprise Project

Governance is facilitated in a fertile setting and surrounded by influential

stakeholders. Let’s say a specific business unit has major challenges in

implementing its projects and strong awareness among its executives. That

is a good place to implement EPG. A ripe spot for initiating EPG is where a

high-level champion of the cause resides and when a solid need for structuring

projects exists.

How do you go about implementing EPG? Enterprise Project Governance

can be implemented on sundry ways. How to proceed depends on such factors

as the actual need, the existing culture, the presence of a champion, and a

feasible plan for making the implementation. Initiative for promoting the EPG

concept may start at different levels, such as with the board, CEO and executive

team, or middle management, or at the professional level in a bottom-up approach.

This book is aimed at providing examples and cases of what works and

what doesn’t work in managing multiple projects and major strategic projects

across an enterprise. The relationships between the components of EPG and

the suggestions on how to implement EPG are shown in the list of abridged

chapters at the end of this chapter.

Is a comprehensive EPG approach needed to achieve effective project management

across the enterprise? Even though an orchestrated program under the

EPG label stands the best chance of generating effective results on a timely

basis, formal EPG is in reality an evolutionary approach involving different

initiatives depending on each organizational setting.

A number of reasons justify using incremental approaches to upgrade the

overall effectiveness of project management across the enterprise. Some of

these are:

l Minimal awareness in the organization about the impact that project

management at all levels has on overall results.

l A lack of a project management culture, including trained professionals

and managers.

l Insufficient sponsorship to champion the cause.

l A lack of expertise in change management techniques.

When the scenario isn’t yet favorable for a formal program, partial initiatives

are appropriate, such as:

1. Intensifying training programs in the basics of project management.

2. Stimulating the use of project management techniques across the enterprise

in all areas including engineering, IT, R&D, new product development,

marketing, and HR.

3. Creating awareness at the executive level through the literature, benchmarking,

and conferences.

4. Identifying potential sponsors for a broader program.

5. Stimulating the implementation and development of PMOs.

With these measures in place, an organization will be on its way to producing

highly successful projects of all types across the enterprise.

When the scenarios are favorable, however, a comprehensive EPG program

offers an accelerated, holistic, and integrated way to guarantee optimal

project performance and boost overall organization results.

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