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Project management in a process-oriented organization


I've been struggling with this topic for a while now and I'm looking for new resources, specific tools, methods or (even) inspirations re. organizing project management in process-oriented organization.

Process-oriented organization means here a company like manufacturer or port. Primary concern of the first one is production, ship service of the latter.
In such an organization project management gets (at best) second priority. Usually it sits after commercial, safety, maintenance and HR issues (depending on the business environment).

How do you arrange things in orderd to have succesfull projects in a process-drive business without increasing project-related headcount?

I'm looking for systematic /structural answer.

Can you please recommend my a practice or resources that deal with this issue?
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All the same practices and tools that can be applied to organizing a project, can be applied to organizing a PMO. From a Systems Engineering standpoint, you're simply shifting your system of interest (SoI) from the product itself, to the system developing the product.

In either case, your SoI has an intended outcome or purpose. In the case of organizing project management, you are defining a system (people, processes, and tools) that will efficiently manage changes. There are requirements by which the organization must adhere. There are Key Performance Attributes that tell you whether the system is performing well. The system performs certain functions to enable the desired outcome. Processes are defined to achieve repeatable results. The processes and outputs are monitored and evaluated against the key attributes, (cost, flow-time, error reduction etc.) I have used the Systems Engineering model to develop everything from hardware, training, engineering processes, and PM organizations all through changing the perspective of what SoI is being engineered.

Lukasz -

Process excellence and project excellence are not competing goals, but it does require the leadership team to acknowledge the importance of the latter and to invest in raising organizational PM capability.

A good place to start is to benchmark the company's performance against similar companies in the same industry or to try to quantify the costs of poor project performance.


The common challenge with process-oriented organizations is that they don't have resources to spare to participate in projects on a reliable basis. In such cases, I 'outsourced' project deliverables to the concerned departments and thereby made them co-responsible for the project results. No department manager wants to be the one to fail in their mission.

Thank you all for your help.
I will look closer into Systems Engineering, as a possible approach. You've also made my realize that I might be aiming too high with my plans (the OPMM is low here). There might be simple no room for the wide PM practices or changes to the way people work. Therefore creating an "change urgency" - by e.g. benchmarking - might work here. Once the system is ready, it will create a space for change from itself.
Also, I'm a part of this system anyway!

John, thank you for you advice on responsibility. I guess I can shift the perspective and accountability slightly from PM to sponsor (manager).

I hope we can continue this discussion.

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