In the earlier post ‘Management by Projects – not just consolidated projects’ the concept of a business management approach, or methodology, of ‘Management by Projects’ was introduced. This earlier post defined what ‘Management by Projects is.
There must be significant and quantifiable benefits to warrant the implementation of the ‘Management by Projects’ approach in an organisation.
Following are some of these:
Few would dispute the benefits of Project Management. Especially when it comes to IT Projects. Most IT organisations practise Project Management for the larger software development projects or service projects. Project Management tools are not particularly cost effective for small projects and therefore tend to be used on projects of a particular level of complexity and scale.
Management by Projects systems are somewhat different to Project Management tools in that they allow all activities to be cost effectively managed as projects. They are a central knowledge base for the organisation, being fed continuously from a number of sources, compared to Project Management tools that are periodically updated by one or two individuals.
This data collection results in more extensive and accurate information being available on demand for decision making. The central knowledge base is accessible by all stakeholders and is the window on all businesses activity and performance. It is the aggregate of all projects that represents the business in its entirety. The health of the business can be measured by the accumulated health of all projects.
Customers will be made aware that all services and products provided by the service provider are controlled as projects. This is a demonstrable level of professionalism and will differentiate the service provider from others as providing greater control and value.
Customers will also become aware that the level of professionalism that they use in dealing with the service provider will become much more visible. The customer will be inclined to ensure that their procedures are appropriate and are operating effectively. This will produce better results for both businesses as they strive for continuous improvement.
Sales opportunities are captured by the ‘Management by Projects’ approach to business as it provides the business with a mechanism to manage customer requests and potential future projects. Estimates and quotes may be also managed by project even though the projects may not yet be approved.
An important business management tool provided by the ‘Management by Projects’ approach is the management and capture of employees time. Some key aspects of this are:-
- Manage Ad Hoc (unplanned) usage of time as well as planned usage of time
- Effective prioritisation of work
- Include all operational activities including support tasks
- Available, planned and actual time maintained in single knowledge base
- Reduce administration tasks such as collating information for reporting, manual report preparation etc
- Time captured used for multiple purposes including Project Tracking, Customer Billings, Project Costing, Project, Employee, Business Unit, Line of Business Performance reporting and more.
Human Resource Management
Effective management of employees time is vital to improve the organisations performance, both financial and service quality performance. The ‘Management by Projects’ approach aids employee management by:
- Capacity management – manage resource pool across various views such as across skills, business units etc
- Real time capacity view and management
- Resources have visibility of their assignments and priorities and are able to take responsibility for managing them
- Visibility over the entire organisations activities (both past and future)
- Include internal and external resources in plans
- Increased utilisation of resources
- Visibility of resource utilisation – utilisation KPI’s
- What skills are required in what areas for the organisation (not just within a project)
Profits are crucial to the viability of most organisations. The ‘Management by Projects’ approach assists cost management by:
Manage charging and cost information – apply a business focus and not just project management focus
- Analyse all business activities costs including direct revenue generating and non-revenue generating activities
- Planned / forecast charge outs for the organisation can be managed
- View current progress (estimates to complete) directly with total budget and cost to date
- Manage internal and external costs (contractors)
- Defined, repeatable and efficient processes may be implemented and fine-tuned, ultimately providing greater value for service dollar.
Project Scope Management
Project scope, that is the requirements or deliverables of the project are usually not static. They tend to change or vary during the life of the project. This comes about as discoveries are made during the project, additional information becomes available, peoples understanding of the actual requirements and proposed solutions improves etc.
This requires the ability for the service provider to effectively interact with the customer and other key stakeholders of the project and to be pro-active in recording, responding and reacting to these changing requirements.
Management by projects requires request / change management systems to be tightly integrated with the project management function. A system that also manages the requirements, correspondence, priorities, chronological history of change in scope etc will greatly assist in ensuring that the project objectives are met.
The benefits of this are:
- Informed decisions and quicker response when facing changes in plans (overall impact is known)
- Understand how each change impacts the project work and schedule
- Better management of the project costing
- More effective cost management
- Visibility of actual deliverables against individual requests / requirements
- History of change in scope during the life of the project
- A consistent, standard and repeatable way of planning and controlling projects.
Management by projects creates awareness across the organisation of the different activities and priorities. For example how does re-prioritisation of people affect other projects?
Having a full understanding of capacity and project priorities before committing to client projects is essential if quality work is to be delivered on time and on budget. It is also important in understanding the pressures being applied to staff.
Interaction between business units is achieved with Management by Projects as “Process Owners” have a window on all ‘Specialist Departments’ and common data is shared and updated between departments. (ie Request to Project to Works Order to Test to Delivery to Billing)
Accessibility of information by all stakeholders is also key to improvements. Input from all stakeholders, which is crucial to the success of the projects, can only be obtained if those stakeholders are properly informed.
The various product and service delivery processes must be effective and clearly understood internally and externally by customers and applied across all projects if success is to be achieved. Management by projects is instrumental in implementing these processes.