The Need for the Increase in Project Management Competency

Research shows that corporates have gradually projectized over time as they undertake more projects to manage change, and at times, rapid and unexpected change. The mix of effort on resource commitment, budgets and management time on operations (administrative and business as usual) and projects is changing. Ordinarily corporates convert strategies into strategy execution activities. These activities are normally a mix of operational activities and projects, the difference being in that operations are the repetitive business as usual (BAU) functional activities such as the daily production, sales, marketing, accounting, payroll management; and projects are the time-bound cross-functional activities such as to create new products, improve processes, upgrade systems, retire and replace systems, open new outlets, comply to new statutes and regulations, respond to risks, and other change management related activities. What has transpired over time is that projects have increased in terms of the quantum of activities to match or even surpass the BAU operations.

However few corporates have noticed this shift and hence have responded by beefing up their project management competencies, implementing new structures and investing in the new skills. Those corporates who have not realized this shift are in a state of inertia towards inescapable obsolescence. The statement may sound strong but it is necessary. In order to correct the corporate structures, practices, and governance it is necessary to implement the Organizational Project Management (OPM) framework. organizational strategy to produce better performance, better results, and a sustainable competitive advantage. ”

Hierarchically a portfolio is the top-level stratum composed of sub-portfolios, programs, projects and BAU operations of a strategic business unit (SBU) as depicted in Fig. 2. A program is a portfolio support component comprised of subprograms and projects managed together in a coordinated way. Further decomposition of the portfolio and programs yields projects, which are the initiatives mainly undertaken by an enterprise in order to deliver strategy. Most organizations will follow the Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics (VMOST in Fig. 3) structure in elaborating their strategy. The OPM framework fits in to complement the VMOST structure in that it provides a mechanism for the organization to craft strategy and decompose it into the manageable SMART [specific (simple), measurable (meaningful), achievable (agreed), relevant (realistic) and time-bound (time/cost limited)] objectives, which in turn are translated into the operations and projects (tactics in VMOST) aligned to the strategy. Corporate performance measurement in the form of the Balanced Score Card (BSC) for the top executives and senior managers should reflect a fair balance between operational tactics and project tactics.

OPM ensures strategy implementation by interpreting the corporate strategy in this


  • Strategic Alignment – prioritizing and ranking the enterprise’s whole project inventory according to a set of strategic fit criteria (i.e. choosing the right projects).
  • Project Management Methodology – necessary for the execution, monitoring and reporting of the projects (i.e. doing projects right).
  • Project Management Governance – necessary oversight to ensure project success.
  • Competency Management – facilitates the timely and appropriate assessment of the skills and development of the experience necessary to implement portfolios, programs, and projects within the organization.
  • Benefits Realization Management (BRM) – a framework for identifying, executing and sustaining benefits ( OPM governance must be integrated with the customary corporate governance, hence the need for board members and top executives to be familiar with OPM lest they remain uninformed and misinformed.The KING IV governance manual , Principle 4 states, “The governing body should appreciate that the organization’s core purpose, its risks and opportunities, strategy, business model, performance and sustainable development are all inseparable elements of the value creation process.” Principle 4 goes further and prompts the governing body to approve and have oversight on strategy and operational plans against the agreed performance measures and targets. A close look at what the King IV report terms ‘strategy and operational plans’ will reveal that the key initiatives or strategy drivers are substantially project-oriented, yet this is not reflected in most enterprise structures.


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