by Kevin Korterud
It used to be that projects that were typically small in size, localized to a single team, and compartmentalized to the point where they didn’t collide when it came to schedules and resources. Over time, projects began to be packaged into programs that involved larger teams as well as a greatly expanded technology footprint. To manage these complexities of modern-day project delivery, organizations are increasingly turning to enterprise program management offices (EPMOs) or enterprise delivery management offices (EDMOs) that span waterfall and agile initiatives.
The need—and demand—for enterprise PMOs and DMOs is only growing with the pandemic. Here’s why:
- Technology is in everything.
The business process landscape has become more imbued with technology— to the point where there’s no such thing as a business or technology project anymore … just delivery. And while the meteoric growth of tech has fueled success, it also creates challenges. It’s now common to have multiple delivery initiatives underway across a technically integrated landscape that can include everything from centralized enterprise resource planning systems down to personal mobility apps. In addition, project/program delivery and agile product delivery are taking place at multiple speeds and frequencies. Design, deliverables and testing all become much more demanding. All of this leads to the strong probability for delay on one initiative to cause schedule and resource conflicts.
EPMOs and EDMOs can provide technology enablement and assurance functions needed to keep delivery on track. For example, enterprise-enabled testing and scheduling tools whereby delivery teams can form, execute and implement requirements and user stories—without having to spend effort to acquire tools and train team members—saves precious time.
- The cost of delay is growing.
Early in my career, a senior project manager told me the best way to reduce costs on projects is to finish them on time. That advice remains relevant. As companies rely on technology as well as project, programs and transformations to create a competitive market edge, any sort of schedule delay reduces value. Delaying a market launch of a new mobile product entails parking resources, additional communication efforts, etc. Plus, given today’s landscape, a delay in one initiative can cause a chain reaction that affects other dependent initiatives, thus exacerbating the overall negative impact to business value.
Through integrated schedule, resource and dependency planning across delivery initiatives, EPMOs and EDMOs trigger early warning mechanisms and help marshal senior leadership decision-making to help mitigate delays.
- Harmonization equals velocity.
Today’s delivery landscape is dramatically different from the past. Along with the size, scale and varying modes of project, program, transformation and product delivery, multiple third-party labor and hardware/software suppliers are more deeply involved. It’s also more common for delivery initiatives to have a global footprint, adding another layer of complexity. And COVID-19 further exacerbates these challenges by inhibiting communication, collaboration and impacting hardware/software supply chains.
Let’s use the analogy of a busy airport, where there’s a need for a centralized function to help harmonize the way different people, processes and technology components work together. In that case, distinct sector, tower and ground controllers organize the flow of traffic, minimize delays and in some cases avert potential disastrous conflicts.
The same rationale holds true for EPMOs and EDMOs, which are uniquely positioned to provide essential services such as: common delivery methods, third-party supplier and supply chain management, enterprise-level risk management, integrated scheduling management, resource management and dependency management.
I sometimes long for the simplicity of small, compartmentalized projects that could move at their own pace to completion. However, we all have to face today’s delivery reality. Some ways of working we were all used to may come back with the pandemic under control, but in the meantime we still have delivery responsibilities—and EPMOs and EDMOs can be a big help in making sure we meet those responsibilities.
To what degree are you seeing the need for enterprise EPMOs and EDMOs?