Enterprise Project Management(EPM) is the disciplined practice of managing projects simultaneously on an organizational level. It comprises implementing processes and strategies to streamline and enhance project management effectiveness on a large scale. Enterprise project management is a course designed to make readers deeply understand it.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF EPM
Enterprise project management comprises the following seven elements:
1. Risk Analysis
Risk analysis can be defined as identifying and assessing the quantitative and qualitative impacts of the risks to the project. Then, adequate measures are taken to mitigate them in the future. Since it is a complex task, it requires experience and thorough knowledge of the company and project goals.
The management team can gain control by integrating risk analysis with the EPM process to decide the risk they are willing to take compared to the project's return. To apply risk analysis, they can apply EPM standards like holding project managers responsible for their mitigation plans, using project estimation techniques for risk mitigation, and creating a metric to measure current and projected risks along with contingency reserves.
2. Structured Estimating
Project estimation has to be the key component of project management as this is where the project costs, duration, and resources are estimated. Structured estimation standards are set by EPM for the project managers.
3. Project Reviews
Periodic project reviews keep a note of the current project's progress along with the potential risks. Generally, four types are performed by the EPMO, i.e., project commitment, startup, progress, and closeout, to check project status, issues, and standards. In addition, they assist in deciding whether risk mitigation plan updates are needed or not.
An effective way to bring up the most urgent issue and address them in the meeting is to assign colors to indicate the importance level of the different aspects of a project like budget, delivery, team, or client management.
4. Project Management (PM) Coaching
Without adequate prior training, project management can be a nerve-racking job. Therefore, an organization invests in their project managers by providing external or internal training sessions to develop management and technical skills, which are a must for their job. At times, the organization even mentors their project managers to assist them in project planning, execution, problem-solving and decision making.
5. Escalated Issue Management
Escalation, in project management, refers to pushing the issue to a higher level of priority and getting the executive team's intervention on it if required. In order to improve the escalated issue management system, common rules and processes are developed for escalation, applied across the various departments. Then the list of open escalated issues is reviewed at the management meeting to identify a common root cause and suggest necessary changes on the departmental or organizational level.
6. Time Accounting
Time holds great value in a project management lifecycle. With efficient time tracking systems, precise measurements of the areas where the time is spent the most on a project can be calculated. Further, the project manager can use this data to develop new guidelines for effective project planning and estimation in the future.
7. Information System
The Information system is the base of EPM. Vigorous use of EPM software can save time while planning, tracking, and reporting projects. They provide valuable insights on information like resource usage, project activity, and project progress.
IMPLEMENTATION OF EPM
Here are a few ways through which EPM can be implemented effectively:
1. Define how EPM will be used
Through reviewing the current processes and identifying any underlying or potential issues, it must be determined how EPM will be used. One must ask questions like:
- Who will take on new role/s?
- What are the responsibilities of the EPM office?
- How will EPM help achieve the organization's long-term objectives?
- What kind of resources will be required?
- What are current business and project management processes?
2. Determine who will lead
An enterprise project manager or director needs to be selected to head the EPM team. This might even be a completely new role for organizations with a small scale of operation, so the HR might have to interfere, or maybe some executive takes on the role. However, the reporting lines and job description will be similar to an EPM role.
3. Consider creating a project support office
Although this is unnecessary, it can assist the EPM office; as conflicts might arise in the EMP office, one can refer to Conflict Resolution. The office has various functions like:
- Project Definition: This comprises selecting an appropriate solution for budgeting and planning.
- Project Identification: This comprises project impact assessment followed by listing the benefits for the organization on project completion.
- Project Execution: This comprises project analysis, project communication, risk assessment, and status updates.
- Project Audit: This comprises project performance assessment and refining business operations as and when required.
4. Communicate and earn stakeholder's trust
Enormous organizations tend to have a specific process to undertake new investments, and generally, it requires the buy-in of executives, board members, and a few stakeholders. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure clear communication of the benefits to the business and expected returns on investment while approaching the stakeholders.
5. Consistent project management methodology
Large enterprises expect the project manager to manage various projects consistently. Therefore, implementing a consistent project management methodology like agile, waterfall, or hybrid is a must to enhance the strategic execution of individual projects. This will also assist the enterprise project manager in accurately assessing the projects and making appropriately profitable decisions for each of them.
6. Select the appropriate tools
While setting up an EPM office, having the right onboard tools is necessary. Usually, EPM software for the following are needed:
- Accounting: A good quality EPM system will be required to track expenses and report back to senior executives as a project's success is calculated based on the investment return.
- Time Tracking: The EPM software used mist effortlessly to track time spent on project tasks and logs them in timesheets to provide the project manager with greater visibility of resource utilization.
- Scheduling: Time to be spent with team members must be scheduled so that everyone is available and the team can view it to have transparent communication.
- Process management: A process management tool must refine, monitor, and communicate the business processes to the concerned project teams as the business processes are complex and ever-changing.
7. Rollout EPM and check in on EPM Implementation
A list of requirements and phases for EPM implementation needs to be planned to get it up and running with a defined rollout date. Periodic reviews must be conducted to check the EPM rollout progress so that any issues can be brought to the management team and required adjustments are made to the rollout plan. Team shifting takes place often, so HR may also modify processes according to the new EPM model and organize appropriate training if required. HR team may also be required to manage the teams virtually, so they are free to consider the Managing virtual team course.
METHODOLOGIES FOR EPM
Some practical ways to integrate EPM with the current project are:
- Project Selection
It refers to assessing various project ideas and prioritizing those that support the broader organization's goal. In addition, approved projects must contribute to organizational success; otherwise, they are considered a waste of corporate resources.
- Project Planning
Rather than just jumping into a project, it is always better, to begin with, a straightforward project man who has stages mapped out rather than just jumping into a project. This is considered essential for big complex projects with a longer timeline and require multi-department communications. EMP offices should break down and schedule tasks to set the standards for creating project plans and forecasting their budget.
- Project Controls
It refers to the process of obtaining project data and keeping track of the project by monitoring costs, coming up with strategies to improve project performance, and creating structures to visualize the deliverables. Standardization of project management processes with EPM helps streamline project lifecycles for the future that are beneficial for the project managers and the organization. Enterprise Control is a course specifically designed to make the reader aware of the controls the enterprises expect the employee to know.
- Project Termination
Project managers should be able to identify the projects that do not have the potential to deliver the expected returns and the underperforming projects to be terminated early. Since all selected projects will not always provide expected results, the EPM office must create termination plans for successful and unsuccessful projects.
BENEFITS OF EPM
Among the various benefits EPM brings about in a company, here are a few important ones:
1. Provides additional support to the team
When an employee faces issues that exceed the defined scope of their role, they can ask for assistance from the EPM office. The office then guides the employee on resolving the issue or requesting the leadership team to interfere if required. Hence, the EPM office provides training and mentorship for professional growth. To learn Team Dynamics, one can go through the course.
2. Improves overall project management standards and practices
EPM has significantly improved the prevalent project management standards and practices by establishing a consistent framework for risk management processes and reporting that has led to the centralization and the organization of projects and their task management.
3. Equips with required resources
The EPM office is responsible for efficient resource allocation per the project's requirements. Therefore, they can recognize and divert the management's attention towards the underfunded projects that can help the organization achieve its broader goals. However, they can also identify low-performing projects and change their processes to cut organizational losses.
4. Significantly improves the project success rate
EPM doesn't let teams waste their time on duplicate work, significantly improving the team's efficiency by simply analyzing the team's timekeeping data for streamlining the project flow so that time is spent wisely.
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