This Guest paper was submitted for publication 4/5/16
and is copyright to Patrick Weaver © 2016.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Published here June 2016

Introduction | The Overall Project Delivery Capability Framework 
Organisational Governance | Organizational Capability to Manage Portfolios Programs and Projects
Organizational Systems to Manage Programs and Projects | Project and Program Management
Technical Practices that Support Project & Program Management | Summary | PART 2

Organizational Systems to Manage Programs and Projects

The Management of Project Management — Organization Enablers

The term"organization enablers" is used within the PMI OPM3 Standard to define the structures and management processes within an organization that provide executive oversight and help the organizations leadership team to manage the management of programs and projects, so that the organization is able to undertake projects and programs effectively. This includes the organizations ability to develop and enhance its overall project management capabilities, develop project and program managers and project team members, implement appropriate methodologies and achieve the benefits and value the projects and programs were set up to facilitate.

Consequently the "management of project management" covers a very wide spectrum of interlinked capabilities that can be accomplished through a variety of different structures that are in part dependent of the overall culture of the organization. Some of the key elements and capabilities that need to be developed by an organization include:

  • Opportunity Identification and Assessment:
    • Effective processes for defining opportunities and moving an "idea" through the pre-project phases needed to ensure the idea is viable and appropriate for inclusion in the portfolio selection process.[12] This process is interlinked with the organizations strategic planning processes that define the intended future direction of the organization.
  • Capability Support / Multi Project Management:
    • Developing appropriate methodologies,[13] best practices and a culture of continuous improvement:[14] The PMI OPM3[15] framework provides a rigorous tool for assessing the current state of an organization against a best practice framework and planning improvements. Other frameworks and assessment models include the OGC suite including PRINCE2, P3M3, etc.
    • Effective and supportive project sponsorship: The sponsor champions the project and is the key link between the organization's executive and the project, or program manager.[16]
    • Effective change management processes to support the implementation of the outputs created by projects.[17]
    • Effective benefits realization processes to ensure the full value of the change initiative supported by the project or program's outputs are captured by the organization.[18]
    • An efficient knowledge management capability to retain and benefit from the "lessons learned" from current and former projects and programs.[19]
    • Clearly defined roles for the managers of project managers, the senior managers that oversee the work of project and program managers.[20]
    • An internal capability to develop skilled staff at all levels of the project and program hierarchy. This may include encouraging communities of practice to develop.
  • Management of Multiple Projects:[21]
    • Multi-Project Management focuses on the management of a number of projects, programs and other work, within a designated area of management responsibility such as an IT Department or a fabrication facility. Typically the role of a Project Director, this management function focuses on resource optimization, minimizing conflicts and process clashes, and developing the project/program delivery capability of the department/facility.
  • Assurance & Reporting[22]
    • Systems to gather and report progress and performance information to management on a regular basis.
    • Systems to assure management the project/program team are working effectively, in accordance with organizational policies and are capable of achieving the objective defined for their project/program.
  • PMOs (Project or Program Management Offices):[23]
    • A PMO is an organizational entity responsible for aspects of the support and monitoring of projects and programs within its area of responsibility. The organization's management defines the purpose, structure, staffing and authority/responsibility of each PMO.
    • The PMO/Reporting function is a key link back to the executive management and governance layers of the organization that involves collecting, assessing and validating information about each project and program, to provide useful and relevant information to all levels of management and other stakeholders. The information should be far more sophisticated than simply reporting "time and cost" variances! Time and cost information are only two parameters affecting the organization's ability to realize the intended value from each of its projects and programs. Other important parameters include changes in risk exposure, forecasts and trends, changes in the environment, etc. Computation of the current "Net Present Value" (NPV), "Return on Investment" (ROI) and updating the "Balanced Score Card" for each of the current projects and programs helps provide the information needed by the executive to make informed decisions.
    • Additionally, reporting includes conducting Audits, Lessons Leaned and PIRs to provide the information needed to facilitate the continuous improvement of the organizations overall project and program delivery capability.
    • The PMO may also be responsible for many of the other capability support functions including methodology and staff development.

Developing, enabling and supporting these functions and systems are the responsibility of senior management within the organization. The strategic framework and culture needed to enable these capabilities to develop has to be set by the organizations executive before people with effective project and program management skills can contribute the technical knowledge and capabilities. Depending on the way the framework is developed, some aspects can be assigned to the management team in a "strategic PMO", some to the Portfolio Management function,[24] and/or some to a departmental or facility management team, whilst other aspects remain the responsibility of Senior Management.

Organizational Capability to Manage Portfolios Programs and Projects  Organizational Capability to Manage
     Portfolios Programs and Projects

12. The process of identifying appropriate opportunities for projects and programs, understanding the potential value of the concept to the organization and its overall strategic plan and then developing estimates of cost, risk and benefits/value is critically important. This must be done to a level of reliability appropriate for moving through the portfolio selection process. For the purposes of these White Papers this function is labeled as "Feasibility Studies", many other terms are used in industry including "Front End Loading". For more on this whole process see our WP Feasibility Studies:
13. For more on methodologies see:
14. For more on process improvement see:
15. For more on OPM3 see:
16. For more on the role of the Sponsor see:
17. For more on Organizational Change Management see:
18. For more on benefits realization see:
- Terminology, Outputs, Deliverables, Outcomes, Objectives, Goals and Benefits:
- Benefits and Value:
19. For more on Lessons Learned, see:
20. For more on the roles of the managers of project managers see:
21. For more on Multi-Project Management see:
22. For more on Project Assurance see:
23. For more on PMOs see:
24. The OGC framework places many of these functions within the ambit of "portfolio management", see: PMI limits portfolio management to the selection and oversight processes referenced above. Our view is the "management of project management" should be a separate organizational entity under the direction of a "Project Director" or "Chief Project Officer". Separating the management function from the oversight function is likely to deliver better focus and better overall governance of the projects and programs.
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