The following guiding principles were used for this project in general and in the process of generating the recommendations:
- The main focus of our improvement efforts were larger, strategic interdepartmental projects, since they seemed to be presenting the most problems to the company and we wanted to "go after the big fish" first rather than scatter our efforts on trying to address all of the project-related issues at once.
- The exact definition of what specifically constitutes a large, strategic interdepartmental project would be determined at a later stage of the overall initiative, but we definitely had an understanding that a $500 million endeavor involving ten departments of the company would most definitely fall in the "flagship project" category.
- Major importance will be given to simplicity and user-friendliness of the processes proposed since the concept of project management was so foreign to most of people at the company. Therefore, "dropping" a full-scale PMBOK-type project management framework on the organization would probably have scared and turned-off most of the employees.
- All proposals generated by Thinktank Consulting have to be screened, analyzed, verified and, if necessary, updated by the "focus group" of company employees with previous project management experience. This step was necessary in order to fine-tune a fairly generic set of project management processes and documents to the company's realities.
The following Action Items were given to the company based on the issues identified in the first stage:
- Develop a simple and user-friendly project management methodology (see Figure 2, Illustrations - next page) and apply it on one or several pilot projects.
- Develop a minimal number of project management templates and make their use mandatory on one or several pilot projects (see Figure 2):
Put all potential project stakeholders (including department heads and executives) through a two-day project management workshop.
Introduce department-independent project managers to larger interdepartmental projects (initially to pilot project only).
If the pilot projects succeed, then decide to which projects the new methodology should apply.
In phases 2 and 3 move into program management/strategic resource planning and ultimately towards project portfolio management (see Figure 3, Illustrations - next page)
- Project Charter
- Project Plan
- Status Report
- Meeting Minutes
- Change Requests
- Lessons Learned
Note: Although a "Business Case" document should initiate the project management methodology chain, it was decided to postpone the implementation of this step until Phase 3 - Portfolio Management implementation. This was because the organization already had a project selection procedure, albeit somewhat deficient.
Additional Items and Next Steps
We also strongly recommended to the company's management that they try to capture the "before" organizational project performance metrics with respect to time, budget, scope and stakeholder satisfaction. This data will be required in order to compare the results of the pilot project and decide whether it is beneficial for the company to move ahead to the next step in the project management framework initiative.
Further, it will be necessary to consider an efficient way of communicating project results (Phase 1 and all subsequent phases) to the entire company at each key milestone of the entire program. To this end, we proposed the creation of a "Project Management Framework" page on the company Intranet.