Faster, cheaper, better. Accidental project manager. In or out? Are you done yet? We're in a mess! Why can't we . . . ? If these challenges sound familiar within your organization, welcome aboard.
This is a book about improving organizational performance by implementing a project office system that develops project management as a core competency and thus adds value to the organization. A project office consists of a team dedicated to improving the practice of project management in the organization. The improvement in organizational performance is achieved by obtaining more value from projects, making project management a standard management practice, and then moving the organization toward the enterprise project management concept.
Enterprise project management is an organization-wide managerial philosophy. It is based on the idea that company goals are achievable through a web of simultaneous projects supported by a systemic approach that includes corporate strategy projects, operations improvement, and organizational transformation as well as traditional development projects. This means that companies view marketing programs, advertising campaigns, promotional events, new product launches, software development, change management, and continuous improvement, as well as traditional design and construction of new facilities, as projects, using project management approaches to bring them to completion. Virtually everything can be dealt with as a project under the enterprise project management concept.
The project office is the linchpin for implementing and maintaining a project approach across the organization. The project office is a gigantic biulding block for making enterprise project management become a reality in an organization. The project office adds value to the organization by ensuring that projects are performed within procedures, are in line with organizational strategies, and are completed in a way that adds economic value to the organization.
The audience for this book includes everyone involved in project management—project managers, team members, and middle and upper managers attempting to change their organizations into project-based enterprises. All projects involve change and thus every project manager and team member is involved in an organizational change process. Since the emphasis here is on improving the organization through better project management practices, this book will help project participants and managers at all levels make sense of the change processes they are experiencing.
Inexperience and ignorance about leading organizational change can be costly to the organization and the individual. We are not wont to disagree with an early reviewer who said, `This book can save careers.` Another added, `This book can save organizations!`
The book began as a result of workshops on the topic of Implementing the Project Office for Organizational Change, sponsored by the Strategic Management Group and R. J. Graham and Associates. These workshops blended consultants and practitioners (most writers for this book participated, along with a few of their friends), who worked through the problems and processes of changing organizations to embrace the enterprise project management concept. This book reflects the material covered during those workshops as well as contributions from a constituency of consultants and practitioners through lifelong experiences. Contributors to the book include consultants Graham, Dinsmore, and Cohen, along with practitioners Storeygard, Bucero, and LaGassey. Englund plays a dual role, currently a consultant but drawing on many years as a practitioner and in an HP project office. Many other professionals also graciously shared their learning and worked their way into the collective knowledge compiled herein.
The design of the book is the result of suggestions from workshop participants. Other books on the project office acknowledge the importance of the office in facilitating change in the organization. Despite this acknowledgment, however, concepts on using a project office as a vehicle for organizational change are often left to the last chapter, almost an afterthought. Workshop participants who were currently working on implementing project offices agreed that this emphasis, although important, came too late. It is difficult to change the perception and function of any organizational entity after it has been established. Therefore, if the ultimate goal is to change the organization, then that should be the focus from the beginning. That is why we wrote this book.
The emphasis in this book is not on the day-to-day operation of the project office, although that topic is covered. Rather, the focus is the process of implementing a project office in an organization with the goal of bringing about organizational change that ultimately adds to the economic value of the organization.
Not every reader plans to go all the way to implement the fall Monty—a strategic project office—and some may even get discouraged by the pitfalls we describe. However, we also include specific skill-building approaches and revised ways to think about things that offer value to these readers. The implications of power, operating across organizations, and project portfolio management processes are examples. These have wider applications than just a project office, but are even more potent when the PO leads the effort. We draw from a variety of fields and historical references in pursuit of our goal to cover the why, what, and how to lead the organizational change process.
PO of One
The term project office is not without baggage. For some people it means overhead and bureaucracy. They want a lean organization where competencies and action are dispersed across the organization, not in a central (expensive) unit. These same people may ask if they can establish POs of one, meaning that each project manager embodies all the traits, skills, and knowledge that we cover in this book.
We believe a PO of one is a worthy concept. We are talking about an organizational culture that supports the essence of a project office but not its structure. Individuals learning to unfreeze, change, and refreeze the people around them offer tremendous value. The steps along the path we describe can be taken by individual project managers. In fact, they may not have that title; they just happen to be doing projects or leading a change effort. They want the results they create through a set of activities to be great instead of average, and the outcome to contribute and fit with organizational goals instead of going on the shelf. The missing pieces that help make this happen are the process, experiences, and knowledge of best practices.
A PO of one may not be an established norm or term in usage, but it can live in the hearts and aspirations of devotees. We hope this book provides inspiration. We also hope that success then expands enterprise project management possibilities to higher levels of maturity.
Book Organization and Outline
Organizational change comes in three phases, so this book is organized in three parts to follow those phases. The first outlines ways to create the conditions for organizational change. The second covers operating the project office to make the changes themselves, and the third goes through consolidating the changes to embed them in organizational reality.
Part One consists of the first five chapters of the book. Chapter One covers the problems associated with organizational change processes and gives a step-by-step guide to the process of using a project office as organizational change vehicle. Chapter Two gives more detail on the first important step of that process, creating a sense of urgency for the change and making sure that the result of the change will ultimately add economic value to the organization. Any change process involves power and politics, so Chapter Three is a program manager's guide to organizational politics with an aim toward using that knowledge for creating a powerful coalition for change. Chapter Four covers many of the details concerning the functions and operations of a project office so that organizational change agents begin to develop a vision, strategy, and communications plan to let people know what the office is and what it does. Chapter Five is a case study showing how many of the concepts covered in the first four chapters were applied at 3M.
Chapter Six begins the second part of the book, covering the problems and processes of managing change when the project office begins to have first contact with members of the organization. Chapter Seven is a case study from HP Spain that shows how the manager of that project office managed its interface with the rest of the organization. Chapter Eight is another case study, from a U.S. Air Force Base in Italy, that describes implementing a project office in a very short time, under rapidly changing conditions, and in a highly bureaucratic organization. Chapter Nine calls on information from case studies as it covers the important topics of staffing and operating the project office.
Chapters Ten and Eleven cover the final part of the change process, that of consolidating the changes to make them an organizational reality. In these chapters we acknowledge that most change processes fail because they only develop surface changes and leave the basic assumptions of organization members untouched. Chapter Ten covers the steps necessary to change basic assumptions of organization members and thus integrate the new processes into the organizational culture. Chapter Eleven adds a few more important insights into the process, and discusses the action-planning templates in the Appendix, whose use will help make the changes stick.
We are aware that organizational change is a messy process and that few potential readers for this book will follow the seemingly smooth process outlined here. In fact, readers may find themselves at different points on the continuum of change that the book proposes. However, we believe there is potential value for all readers, regardless of where they are in the process.
For those just beginning to think about implementing a project office, the first two parts are most important. The ideas and case studies presented in these sections preview problems you will face, along with suggestions from those who have gone before you. If you have implemented a project office but find that progress has stalled, you will probably find Part One very helpful. People who experienced stalled implementations report that they did not spend enough time—or any time—-creating the initial conditions for organizational change. Reviewing the first five chapters of this book may highlight important elements that were missed, elements that when put in place will move the implementation forward. Those readers who have a project office operating successfully will probably want to concentrate on Parts Two and Three so that they can prepare to consolidate the changes and finally make an effective and efficient project-based organization an organizational reality.
The path is arduous but worthy. We offer steps along the pathway and point out probable hurdles and roadblocks, based on experiences of others. The hero's journey includes options to push on, modify your approach, or stop. This book is designed to be your partner along the way.
January 2003 Randall L. Englund
Robert J. Graham
Paul C. Dinsmore
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil