Project Management to support Managing Change - a Phrontis Perspective

Project management concerns the co-ordination and control of a complex series of tasks / activities defined by the client through the specification of the project. The client may be internal or external to the organization. All projects have a desired new outcome or deliverable against the criteria of time, cost and quality in the context of organizational politics, personal agendas and competitive, regulatory or environmental pressures. Project management has been successfully used in the construction industry, the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing, management and research. Each project is usually different from any other undertaken so consequently there is an element of risk associated with every project. An objective of project management is thus to minimise such risk through good management and learning.

At times an organization may undertake a number of projects simultaneously. Very large and / or complex undertakings are generally broken down into a number of discrete projects. Each is a stand-alone project but forms part of the greater undertaking. Such projects when grouped together form part of a programme and are managed according to the principles of programme management. When there is no relationship between projects and programmes that an organization undertakes then these individual projects form a portfolio of projects. Portfolio Management is of great interest to executives in an organization as this allows them to have an overview of all project based activities.

A number of tools and techniques have emerged to assist project and programme managers. One of the better known tools is the Gantt Chart which shows a time line of actual versus planned activities including the start and end dates of each activity and their dependency on the prior completion of certain tasks.

At Phrontis, our focus is on using project management to manage the initiatives to accomplish change. One of the paradoxes that management in any organization has to deal with is ‘continuity and change’. Managers have to continue to deliver the products or services demanded by their customers today thereby generating profits so that they may still be viable tomorrow but they also need to change their product or service offering in line with shifting customer expectations for tomorrow. The technique for managing continuity is process management where activities are repetitive for each product or service delivered; the technique for managing change is project management.

At a simplistic level managing change is about establishing where you are now; where do you want to go to; and then defining the gap between the “now” and the “desired future”. Closing this gap usually involves carrying out a number of initiatives or projects. And this is where project or programme management can assist managers in realising their aims. Most strategic planning is about bridging the gap in response to a competitive or environmental threat, or more proactively, seizing the initiative to gain some form of advantage. In fact, the Balanced Scorecard developed by Kaplan and Norton relies on this approach in its system for executing strategy and managing initiatives as part of its performance measurement framework.

At Phrontis we use Microsoft Office Project Professional* and as required the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution* to help companies coordinate and control projects. The ability to track project performance quickly and take effective action as needed is critical to good project management. By using Microsoft Outlook* or Microsoft Portal Server* you are easily able to communicate with all key stakeholders in a timely way and foster greater collaboration. EPM additionally provides a powerful way to optimise resource allocation across multiple projects helping you to manage time, cost and quality constraints. We also use EPK Solutions which is a portfolio, resource and time management solution based on Microsoft Project Server 2003.

Phrontis has formed a strategic alliance with Telamon Systems to undertake all Enterprise Project Management assignments.

* Trade names or trade marks of Microsoft Corporation.


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