Successful organizations must manage resources and control the diverse range of projects operating within their systems at any one time. To be successful in the current business climate, organizations need to focus on how to manage the many competing requirements for resources. Conflicting resource requirements across multiple projects and corporate priorities not centrally managed usually are grounds for failure. I believe that a properly organized enterprise project office is the formula for successful project implementation. This paper briefly outlines what I feel is the main philosophy of the project office and two functions it can provide.
The main philosophy of the project office is to provide the organization with a single point of enterprise project planning and control. The project office supports all levels of management by monitoring all current projects in an integrated form. It stores all relevant data and disseminates information to all the various managers involved in all projects. It is the only office that has a global view of all the corporate projects and their history.
One function the project office can provide is assistance with resource availability for the project managers and project teams. As resource requirements and assignments are submitted to the project office, that information can be entered into an enterprise project database. This gives the project office the ability to not only track resource allocations for a single project but also determine the assignments and constraints of resources throughout the organization. Without this big picture, project impacts caused by resource constraints are difficult to determine.
Another function the project office can provide is maintaining the “issues” log. The project manager and possibly functional managers raise issues when changes to the project scope occur, or when changes and problems occur outside the control of the project management team. The project office collects this information and performs various “what if” scenarios. They then can determine the impact on schedule, resource availability, and budget for that project and the organization as a whole.
The project office can provide the enterprise the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions that benefit the organization as a whole. Without a single point of enterprise project planning and control, decisions such as resource assignments and issue rectification are not efficient. For an organization to perform project management successfully, they must have an enterprise project office.
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