As close as five years ago organisations in Botswana tended to manage projects on an ad hoc basis and project management was a skill reserved for the construction and engineering projects. But major developments in training and recognition by companies in Botswana of project management’s strategic importance have catapulted it to one of the most important management tools used across sectors. The need for a smart and efficient approach to managing projects has been made more important by the current recession where a project’s business case has to be very clear and implementation water tight.
In particular, we’ve seen growth in the number of parastatals, central government, local government, financial institutions and mining companies using project management methodologies. However, there is a difference between developing a project management as a resource and managing by project.
Whilst project management is tactical, managing by project plays a strategic role in the business. A company may manage projects extremely well, but maybe managing the wrong projects. There is often a gap between business strategy and the projects.
This strategic drift can be overcome by adopting a managing by project style from executive level, which is designed to make the entire company ‘projectised’. It aligns all projects to a company’s strategic intent. Companies often have a strategic “wish list”, but this may be out of line with the projects the organization is implementing. The business imperatives have to be fully understood before an optimum project portfolio can be identified. Once the portfolio has been identified, a traditional project management function takes over.
But companies often require many projects to be run simultaneously and a ‘silo’ mentality may develop ÔÇô where each department runs projects independently. But a matrix structure cuts across disciplines and helps decrease bureaucracy and enables an optimum coordination of cross-functional projects. Many organizations are now seeing a Project Management Support Office as key to developing a projectised culture. This is a physical infrastructure that acts as a hub for projects and gives role-players and management a collective view of projects across functions through consolidated reporting on performance and status of the portfolio of projects under execution. It also provides services to project managers, such as administrative and planning support.
See next article as we discuss further the need for developing project management capabilities through a Project Support Office function.
Oabona Kgengwenyane is the Director for InnoLead Consulting and X-Pert Group offering Managing Consulting Services and can be contacted on3909102 or 71303682,
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