Turning strategy into reality is not a function where the public service is known to surpass worldwide. This deficit has caused many political leaders enormous embarrassment, as they often had brilliant visionary abilities and provided strong direction – yet, the operationalisation of their visions left much to be desired, and this is where organisational project management and the strategic project management office fits.
It is evident that organisations – be it public or private, deliver their strategic objectives through effective implementation of portfolios, programs and projects. This can be seen with our Namibian government entities and private organisations locally implementing a series of programs and projects, which can seemingly fall within different portfolios and programs which are coordinated to deliver on the strategy of those organisations. Examples of a series of programs and projects are those that fall within the ministries and their parastatals, together with the private sector and by virtue should deliver on the strategy of those entities, but the big question is on the rate of success for these programs and projects.
Organisational project management (OPM) is a strategy execution framework that engages the use of portfolio, programs and projects’ efforts to effectively deliver on the organisational strategic objectives, and combining it with the strategic project management office (PMO) would ensure that portfolio, programs and projects are aligned to the strategic direction of the organisation before they are approved.
OPM and PMO, combined, ensure projects are not just get executed without being part of the portfolio, and/or program, meaning it should contribute to the delivery of the strategic objectives – and of course, value to the stakeholders.
Project initiatives get to be vetted, and a lot of front-end work is put in to validate the initiatives are viable, aligned to strategy and benefits realisation to the stakeholders.
Organisational project management promotes the alignment of the organisation’s strategic objectives with related projects and their management, and that is the main benefit that organisations will readily see when implementing OPM and its strategic project management office.
With an operational OPM through the strategic project management office (PMO) as an implementing unit, the following benefits will be achieved: alignment of strategy and execution; increased customer satisfaction; efficient decision-making; increased productivity; Competitive edge; effective operations; improved cost control; improved market competitiveness and predictable delivery performance, etc.
The construction and infrastructure industry in Namibia and the rest of the world consumes a significant part of national budgets through the delivery of capital projects and services to the public. As a result, the implementation of these projects needs to be done properly and with project methods that ensure success since public funds are scarce resources, especially in the current economic turmoil. There is need for some of the Namibian entities to look at the above benefits and how they can utilise them to help their organisations move forward, especially if such organisations view growth by programs and projects effort implementation to deliver the much-needed service to the public and customers.
Most organisations that perform various projects frequently struggle to prioritise requirements, balance resources, standardise project delivery approaches – and most crucially, consistently achieve project success. This is because they often don’t have a bird’s eye view of all the projects and is frequently uncertain of human resource competencies and capacity, as well as individual project progress or lack thereof.
In summary, project efforts are ill coordinated, which, combined with unsystematic project support, results in less-than-optimal project delivery.
Using wishful thinking, private sector, government and its public entities could establish strategic project management offices (PMO) that would execute these entities’ Organisational project management (OPM) using the establishment of strategic project management offices (PMO) as the centre of excellence for project execution. This has been done by the Western Cape government in South Africa, and also USA (the State of Oregon, State of New York, and the State of Minnesota, State of Michigan and the State of Vermont), and is currently delivering value for these governments. As for the private sector, a lot of organisations worldwide have embarked on above, consistently achieving positive results.
OPM and strategic PMO would ensure projects undertaken are linked to strategy through the delivery of value or benefits to the stakeholders, increased sustainability for continued growth and less sporadic spending on projects (ambitious) that do not support organisational objectives.
*Victor S Mutonga is a project management consultant and holds an MSc in Project Management and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification