When working within a large organization, running multiple complex projects simultaneously, knowing how to take advantage of enterprise project management concepts can mean the difference between success and failure of a project. With that comes the difference between a project which becomes a money maker, or gets written off, to hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars of work.
So how can you take advantage of enterprise project management ways of working to ensure your projects are always on the critical path to succeeding?
In this article, our project managers have come together to share some of their knowledge of using enterprise project management (EPM).
- What is Enterprise Project Management?
- Software for Enterprise Project Management
- Wrapping Up
What is Enterprise Project Management?
Enterprise project management is the practice of managing projects which run on a company-wide scale. Such projects typically encompass hundreds of stakeholders, usually including all of the employees of the company, to a greater or less extent. For these types of activities to succeed, requires the implementation of various strategies and processes which improve the effectiveness of project management by streamlining activities involved.
EPM includes management of the following aspects of running a project:
- Resource Management
- Schedule Management
- Financial Management
- Issue and Risk Management
- Time Reporting
- Team Collaboration
- Reporting and Business Intelligence
- Program Management
- Demand Management
- Portfolio Analytics and Selection
We’ll go through them one by one and explain the concepts related to each.
1. Resource Management
When it comes to managing enterprise projects, management of resources, in particular your human resources, is key. In reality, a resource is any “asset” whose main role is to help or carry out a certain task. A resource can be a person, a team, a tool, finances or time.
Projects will require many different resources to be completed successfully.
Resource management is the process of assessing the availability of resources and allocating them efficiently before a project begins. Poor resources planning can result in running out of necessary resources, creating bottlenecks, delays in the delivery of the project outcomes.
Resource allocation in enterprise project management typically happens in bulk before a project begins, but project managers will periodically (daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly) assess the state of resources and stakeholders and reallocate accordingly to maintain project efficiency.
The following diagram depicts the central aspects of resource management.
2. Schedule Management
In conjunction with resources, Schedule Management is an integral part of enterprise project management and works hand-in-hand with resourcing. Resources, whether human or otherwise, are scarce, have limited time availability, might need to be scheduled between projects and could be the cause of bottlenecks of scheduling is not done correctly.
Good project management software is typically required to create a balanced and efficient schedule keeping it mind all resource availability.
Even if the diagram above, we can see that scheduling is integral to project management in general.
3. Financial Management
This is another critical aspect of EPM software and planning in general. While it’s all well and good to schedule resources as per the previous two points, there are going to be financial constraints which need to be met. Good EPM software will ensure that resources are costed correctly, and are kept within the parameters of the project being undertaken.
4. Issue and Risk Management
And successful program or project manager needs to be able to forecast and manage uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This is achieved through risk and issue management.
Risk and issue management ensure that the current or planned project is able to manage and tolerate uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Risk is defined as an uncertain event (or set of events) which could have an impact on the achievement of the objectives. Both negative and positive impacts need to be treated, with the latter considered as opportunities.
Risk is typically described by including the cause of the risk, the actual event which could occur, the description of the threat/opportunity and its effect i.e the summary of the likely impact on the program and its projects.
An issue is an unplanned event that has already happened, which requires intervention actions to be contained. When risks actually happen, they become issues, but issues can occur independently of whether the risk has been previously identified.
Issue and risk management enable better decision-making thanks to a better understanding of risks and issues and their ultimate impact on a project. EPM
In the next section, we will discuss the sources of risk identification.
5. Time Reporting
All of the above scheduling and resource management would be useless unless time reporting is enforced. By putting time reporting measures in place, enterprise project managers will be effectively be able to gauge the progress being made on the various activities leading to the completion of projects.
Good software for EPM will have such time reporting functionality builtin. Resources would have an entry screen where they (or others on their behalf) would be able to enter time spent on specific tasks, such that this can be allocated on a per-resource and per activity bases.
Progress on tasks and activities and the project in general, would then be updated accordingly.
6. Team Collaboration
Once you’ve got a plan for your enterprise project, it’s time to put it in place. However, all your planning and management can easily breakdown if your team doesn’t (or is unable to) collaborate.
Without collaboration, the company will stagnate and projects will crawl to a halt. It takes a team’s combined ideas and work to pull off a complex enterprise project, to innovate particularly when roadblocks are encountered, and to come up with the product/services that beat the competition.
Most activities and tasks in a project are going to need a team of different resources collaborating on a goal. For such team collaboration to happen, they will need the tools in place to enable such communication and collaboration.
Whether this comes in the form of some kind of collaboration software, or whether this simply means making traditional communication tools readily available, team collaboration is essential to enterprise project management. Of course, such collaboration can also happen through scheduling team meetings and roundups, having a good communication in plan or whatever else works for your company and does not necessarily need to come in software form.
It is good to note that, when teams use tools and work processes that make communication and collaboration more efficient, goals are met faster and better quality work is produced. Internal productivity increases with smoother collaboration.
However, it makes most sense to be able to collaborate directly on your actual project management tool, rather than having disparate systems. Tools such as Wrike can be essential, because they encompass both collaboration and project management.
7. Reporting and Business Intelligence in EPM
With many large organizations, even Enterprise level, the PMO (project management office) still handles most of the reporting on rudimentary tools such as Excel sheets.
Such reporting techniques are prone to error, and although they may give a sense of the current status, they are not effective as a more advanced reporting system which is typically a pillar of EPM.
Creating such reports is also time-consuming and usually delegated to junior executives, due to the nature of the work involved and the feel that this work is “not important”.
Project reporting is much more than reporting on the latest project updates. Project reports and intelligence derived from them can be used to mitigate risk, monitor budgets and timelines, and build more accurate project plans.
Good reporting is once again key to keep a project on track. The following are some basic but essential reports:
- Team availability report
- Status report
- Project health report
- Risk assessment
- Time tracking report
- Baseline reports
However, a good PM will able to correlate changes and find trends in the progress of the report. Using such information, one can make predictions of progress and adjust plans accordingly.
8. Program Management
The very nature of enterprise project management, means that by definition, there will be a number of simultaneous projects running.
This is the essence of program management: the process of managing several related projects, which would make up a program.
So while a project is typically aimed at achieving a specific goal, a program would be related to achieving something which is more overarching, such as a strategy.
While a project is typically a short-term, or temporary activity, a program is a long-term process.
Once again, program management is essential for enterprise project management, because we want the various projects to be pushed and/or enabled through a common strategic objective.
9. Demand Management
Another factor which is essential to enterprise project success is the ability to effectively manage capacity and demand. In enterprise projects, demand can come from a number of sources. External demand comes from consumer / customer needs, regulators, or shareholders, or from within an organization, either through strategic or operational planning or from a departmental need.
Management is required to filter, prioritize, assess against the capacity to deliver, and schedule within projects.
Demand Management includes processes associated with the intake of ideas, requests, projects, and also dispatching of that work.
As with other processes discussed in this article, all demands should be captured in a single system.
Having a single point of reference enables the enterprise to avoid redundant efforts, have an accurate picture of resource availability, and holistically predict the next few months in terms of work.
Balancing all demands using currently available resources is the biggest challenge that every manager faces, because demand will almost always exceed supply. Couple that with the fact that a complete view of demand is rarely available, or high-priority unscheduled / unforeseen demand comes in which was not planned for. This would require a reprioritization of work activities and resources.
Enterprise project management tools typically will have functions to able better demand management.
10. Portfolio Analytics and Selection
Portfolio Analysis is a process where one examines the current projects in the portfolio, with all of their components mentioned above to be able to take certain decisions to improve the overall efficiency.
This could possibly mean the reallocation of resources as necessary to maximize returns, i.e. increasing the output in general across the whole portfolio.
While this requires a good amount of experience and understanding of the project management processes of the enterprise, software can also help in making better decisions, by giving the Project and Portfolio manager a better view of all that is happening.
Software for Enterprise Project Management
As we have seen from the above, dealing with all the aspects and various complexities of EPM requires a team of people who is both skilled and experienced in project management in general.
One way to make the management of enterprise projects more efficient is to use specialized software which can equip PMs with better insights for decision-making.
However, with the number of tools available for EPM, you can get caught up in a different sort of problem – which enterprise project management software should you choose?
This is a question which cannot be easily answered because every company is different. What works for one enterprise may not be ideal for another, industries make a significant difference (various specialized software exists), and even personal preference of the project owners.
Given that one needs to make an informed decision in this regard, we’ve partnered with Crozdesk to help project managers make the correct decision when it comes to suitable software.
By filling the following questionnaire (should take less than a minute), our partners can understand the specific needs of your company. Using their past data and AI-powered technology, they will send you a customized report with a shortlist of only 4 software products, which you can then try out to see which one works best for you..
As we’ve seen enterprise project management is all of the processes associated with managing projects for an enterprise with all that this entails. You might want to have a look at some of the other project management articles we’ve got, or let us know if you have any questions below.