Project Environment Assessment
Leaders of successful, project-driven organizations understand that creating predictable project success requires far more than the once thought silver bullet – project management training.
A more strategic view is required. The brass ring, in fact, is to create a project-capable organization, one that leverages project managers’ skills and aligns all other project success factors.
Born from this more strategic understanding, ELG’s Project Environment Assessment examines the strength and alignment of the key organizational elements that affect projects. The assessment, a newly developed service of ELG, reflects over 20 years of research and experience in helping executives align their organizations with their goals. ELG conducts the assessment in relation to the unique needs of the client organization, always highlighting four basic dimensions of success:
Strategic Control/Governance. Organizational success, not just project success, stems from the policies and processes that align projects and resources across the business. This dimension of success includes elements such as project prioritization and portfolio management, resource allocation, benefits realization, consistency of methodologies, executive communication and involvement, and Program Management Offices.
Organizational Structure and Accountability Systems. The answer to the question, “Who is accountable to whom for what, and what are their authorities?” will determine much of whether project success is even possible, let alone likely. Related success factors include role clarity and appropriateness, relationship effectiveness across all key players including customers, mechanisms for directing and rewarding good performance and resolving performance problems. Particularly important is cross-functional management and resource sharing.
Project Management Methodologies. The hammer and chisel of project managers are their tools, techniques and processes, all of which must be in order. This not only includes project planning and tracking methodologies, but also processes for effective leadership and management of the team, and methods for the effective conduct of relationships with vendors, stakeholders and customers. At yet a higher level are methods that establish over-arching measures of success, framing projects as solutions to business problems, not simply as checklists of requirements.
Project Management Skills. It is the skills of the individuals in the organization that help determine whether good policies and practices actually benefit the organization – or remain in three-ring binders. Those skills are not limited to project managers’ expertise. They also include the abilities of the supporting cast: core team members, contributors, and project executives.
The Project Environment Assessment is conducted primarily via one-on-one interviews with individuals who represent a strong sampling of the roles in the current environment. It also includes high-level analysis of the existing processes and tools.
The assessment provides three beneficial outputs:
Analysis. A readout on the appropriateness and alignment of the organizational elements described above. This information is provided in written report form and developed into a summary executive presentation. Both describe the current state of the organization against a recommended future state.
Action Steps. Recommended action steps for closing the gap between the existing and needed future states. Change Management. The one-on-one assessment discussions between ELG’s skilled interviewers and key employees can pave the way for change. Because these employees have shared their perceptions and ideas, they possess the very accurate belief that they have input into whatever happens next. This belief accelerates leadership’s ability to mobilize a critical mass of support for change when the time comes.
ELG can usually begin a Project Environment Assessment within 10 working days of engagement. The length of the assessment is dependent on availability of the client’s employees and the size of the organization. The average time, however, is about eight weeks.