Digital Leadership & Soft Skills

What is Organizational Project Management?

Published by Pavel Nakonechnyy on in Project Management.
What is Organizational Project Management?

To answer the question “what is Organizational Project Management”, let’s read a fragment of the recent work “Company ‘As Is – To Be’: how Project Management theory can be used to improve and streamline processes in a real case study” by Micol Abello:

The OPM is a ‘strategy execution framework to align portfolio, program, and project management practices with organizational strategy and objectives, customized as needed according to the organization’s context, situation, or structure.’ (Project Management Institute, 2016).

Suppose the management can follow the OPM strategy execution framework and use it correctly from a practice and structure point of view. In that case, it can lead the organization to better performance, results, and sustainable competitive advantage.

To understand better the OPM is important to study the different typologies of organizational structures, particularly the three, mainly the functional, the matrix and the project-oriented organization.

  • The functional organization ‘is a hierarchy where each employee has one clear superior. Staff members are grouped by specialty, such as production, marketing, engineering, and accounting at the top level. Specialties may be further subdivided into focused functional units, such as mechanical and electrical engineering. Each department in a functional organization will do its project work independently of other departments.’ (PMI, 2013)
  • The projectized organization is the opposite of the previous one, in which ‘most of the organization’s resources are involved in project work, and project managers have a great deal of independence and authority. Virtual collaboration techniques are often used to accomplish the benefits of co-located teams. Projectized organizations often have organizational units called departments, but they can either report directly to the project manager or provide support services to the various projects.’ (PMI, 2013)
  • Finally, the matrix organization reflects a blend of functional and projectized characteristics. ‘Matrix organizations can be classified as weak, balanced, or strong depending on the relative level of power and influence between functional and project managers. Weak matrix organizations maintain many of the characteristics of a functional organization, and the role of the project manager is more of a coordinator or expediter. A project expediter works as staff assistant and communications coordinator. The expediter cannot personally make or enforce decisions. Project coordinators have power to make some decisions, have some authority, and report to a higher-level manager. Strong matrix organizations have many of the characteristics of the projectized organization, and have full-time project managers with considerable authority and full-time project administrative staff. While the balanced matrix organization recognizes the need for a project manager, it does not provide the project manager with the full authority over the project and project funding.’ (PMI, 2013)

The core-enabling processes for the OPM are:

  • OPM Governance – ‘the framework, functions, and processes that guide organizational project management activities to align portfolio, program, and project management practices to meet organizational strategic and operational goals.’ (PMI, 2016);
  • Strategic alignment that ensures that projects, programs and portfolios achieve the business objective;
  • Competency management that ensures availability and development of skills when needed to implement projects, programs and portfolios;

Organizational project management methodology provides the structure intended as people and processes necessary to implement projects, programs, and portfolios. The OPM governance is tailored for each company based on politics, culture, external stakeholders, and environmental and regulatory factors in organizations.

OPM’s roles and responsibilities are usually represented using a RACI matrix. This is defined as a responsibility assignment matrix that shows the governance roles assigned and the governance action/decision areas. Each role can be responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed about the governance action.

According to the PMI (2016), for implementing or enhancing the OPM Governance, a project or program should be initiated by following four implementation steps through continuous cycles of improvement:

  • Assess: the current and the future state of governance should be studied, and a gap analysis needs to be performed.
  • Plan: detailed governance management plan must be implemented.
  • Implement: the plan must be implemented by including change management.
  • Improve: based on performance measurement, the improvements should be identified, and the next iteration should be planned.

You can read the whole work Abello, Micol. “Company ‘As Is–To Be’: how Project Management theory can be used to improve and streamline processes in a real case study.” (2023) online here.