Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  15 Feb 2012

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Why Successful Projects Need Project Offices


Recent Gauteng Business News

Projects that are embarked upon without an operational project office can result in the exploitation of people, constrained delivery and doubt cast on the credibility of the team, among other issues. So says Barend Cronjé, CEO of CoLAB, who explains that, without a project office in place, overall project success is seriously hampered and organisational capability eroded.

“The running of a project without the proper support structure in place has a widespread effect across an organisation,” he continues. “From a ‘people’ point of view, project managers and their teams are put under even greater pressure to deliver successful projects. Projects activated are done so without consideration for the effect on the available capacity of the project team or the burden placed upon the individual now forced to focus on short-term only delivery. Productive capacity then becomes constrained to the individual person (hero) instead of growing productive teams.

The Difference a Project Office Can Make

“Without intentionally addressing organisational maturity growth, projects become islands, isolated from capability objectives. This seclusion further leads to inconsistent project practices and capabilities residing in key individuals instead of being shared and retained, as even basic learnings are not harnessed for the wider benefit. And these factors all ultimately compromise organisational capability maturity growth.

“The biggest threat to a project or project office, is when the credibility of its efforts is questioned, caused mostly by a lack of appropriate accountability, quality assurance and trusted reporting,” he adds.

Cronjé maintains that the root cause of these challenges is that businesses do not understand the concept of the project office – what it is, what its function is and what is required to produce “trusted reporting”.

“The value of a project office is mostly unseen and summarised simply, any game needs rules to play by, a referee to keep the game honest, coaches to train and captains to lead the team that has to win the game,” he explains.

Key Notes for a Flourishing Project Office

Cronjé puts forward a number of key recommendations in order to create a thriving project office. These include:

•    The central control of project activations;
•    Enforcing project accountability through assurance against basic, defined standards;
•    Utilising a cascading integrated reporting framework;
•    Maintaining delivery credibility through regular trusted reporting; and
•    Creating a basic framework for consistent understanding across all levels of an organisation..

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