3 December 2020
What is Enterprise Project Management and How Kanbanchi can help?
If you have come across the term Enterprise Project Management (EPM) before then you may wonder whether it is something that affects your company. The truth is that many different types of business can benefit from doing this well. So what is it all about and how can you make the most of this approach?
Definition of Enterprise Project Management
One of the big issues with a company that is growing or that has already reached a large size is that there is the risk of different project teams working separately from one other. They might be each trying to solve the same problem in the same way. Or they could be taking completely the opposite approach from one another.
Another risk is that they aren’t all sticking to the company’s overall vision or values in their pieces of work. The projects may deal with the issues at hand in a reasonable way, but without taking into account the firm’s strategy or the way that other projects are being run.
EPM is a way of bringing all of the businesses projects under one umbrella and making them all run more smoothly. When done well, it ensures that there is no duplication of effort and that each project interacts correctly with others where there is some sort of overlap.
This gives a more consistent approach, with other benefits including reduced delivery risks and a lower impact of skills shortage. We should also bear in mind the importance of nurturing project managers using this model.
The portfolio approach is also commonly used in EPM now. This involves assessing the value of each new potential project and deciding which ones to keep in the portfolio of upcoming work.
The Differences Between Traditional Project Management and EPM
Any type of project can be defined as a set of tasks that you need to carry out by a certain date in order to achieve a predetermined objective. It could be the addition of a new piece of software, improvement to a process or any other type of change that you want to make.
Every project that can be undertaken with the typical approach can also be carried out using EPM methodologies. The differences appear once we start to look more closely at how this overall definition leads to real-life projects being carried out.
So, what’s different?
In the traditional approach, a project may be seen almost as a stand-alone piece of work that a team is left to get on with. This can lead to low levels of efficiency and productivity, giving a more expensive project overall. It may also be difficult for managers to get a clear view of the current status and budget of each project in the company when there isn’t a unified approach.
The first big difference with EPM is that it comes from a strategic planning viewpoint. Each piece of work is seen as being part of the whole business, meaning that the governance and guidelines are all clearly laid out to ensure that they fit in with the businesses strategy and long-term aims.
There also has to be a different set of software tools used to track these projects. What works for a small, individual project no longer applies when you are looking at numerous, varied projects spread over the company. There needs to be a comprehensive view of all of the projects going on and how they are progressing.
As EPM work progresses, a company-wide project management office can be used to control all of the different strands. In terms of project methodology, this can be decided in the usual way, with Waterfall, Agile and Prince2 all among the valid options.
The structured approach to Enterprise Project Management means that it may be seen as a better fit for the Waterfall at times. Yet, some people think it works perfectly with Agile and others are happy to use Prince2.
How to Build an Effective EPM Approach?
Getting started on implementing an EPM culture in a large company may seem like a huge task. After all, this is a major change to the way that projects have traditionally been run. And it brings with it the risk of something going wrong in the transition. However, it doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Perhaps the best starting point is in considering the company’s values and strategy, as this is always the basis for Enterprise Project Management. Since the projects need to reflect these matters, it is important that they are clear from the very start of the process.
After this, it should be possible to start thinking about the guidelines and the governance that need to be put in place. You want them to support the strategy we have just looked at, and it is important at this point to get senior management to buy into the change to EPM. They need to commit to it and take an active interest in the projects.
Who will be working on your EPM? The ideal starting point is with your most experienced project team members. They can help set up the process and will then play an important role in managing the projects and the portfolio.
Information Systems in EPM and Different Types of Software
The software and tools that you use will have a huge bearing on how successful your switch to EPM is. Simply getting by with the tools that you use for traditional project management isn’t usually the best idea. A completely new way of working means that you need to consider all of your software options.
Why It’s Important to Have a Software That Supports and Suits All the Departments
One of the key factors with EPM is that the whole company has an integrated, strategic approach to the projects that they carry out. Naturally, this means that the software they use needs to reflect this.
There is no point in creating a strategic project approach for the entire business if people then can’t use the software that has been created for it. For this to work, project managers need to be able to track all of the dates and budgets over multiple projects without any fuss.
This means that all of the information needs to be accessible by anyone, anywhere and at any time. It is no longer a case of each project having its own set of files that are shared only when someone else needs to see them.
Equally, the tools you use need to suit everyone, even if they are working on vastly different pieces of work. They all need to be able to manage their tasks in a smart, intuitive way that makes life easier for team members rather than making it more complicated.
The Main Challenges of Adopting Software on a Company-Wide Basis
There are a few major issues that commonly crop up when a company attempts to adopt a piece of software across the whole business. The first sticking point could be with how easy it is to learn. Remember that there is likely to be a broad range of skill levels across the business. Not everyone will be equally comfortable getting to grips with new tools.
Another potential issue comes in the shape of people using the same tools in different ways. It can cause confusion and uncertainty among the rest of the team. Someone who is used to working a certain way may try to carry on in the same vein even when it no longer fits the company’s strategy anymore.
Thankfully, these issues can be overcome if you use the right kind of software. For example, Kanbanchi is an online task management tool that fits the needs of businesses that are moving over to EPM.
This software is cloud-based and is smoothly integrated with Google Workspace. It is very easy for people across the business to get started with it. An intuitive interface that is reminiscent of the Google suite of tools makes it even easier to pick up quickly.
Why Kanbanchi works well for EPM?
Kanbanchi uses a Kanban board style, meaning that tasks flow across the board as they progress. This means that it provides a simple-to-understand presentation that can then be drilled down to reach more details when needed.
More than that, Kanbanchi provides a set of tools that support the overall need for company-wide project management. For example, the Gantt charts will instantly allow senior management to picture the whole project. Executives don’t necessarily need to view separate tasks. But they will benefit from understanding the overall course of a project and it’s timing.
Finally, the last but not least important challenge lies in human nature. We all perceive information differently and may prefer different layouts of the same information. Kanbanchi perfectly supports different ways of working. Some people prefer to view a list of tasks while others will be more comfortable working with a Kanban board.
Those who control the company’s resources will appreciate having a team view that structures team tasks by the people responsible. You can see this and the previous types of view on one board, convenient for all collaborators.
Conclusion: An Ever More Popular Way of Working
The benefits of moving to an Enterprise Project Management method of working are obvious. That’s why more and more businesses are now making this shift. By going about it in the best possible way, you can ensure that your company’s approach to projects becomes more strategic and provides far greater value in the future.
Even if your business has still not reached enterprise-size, you can definitely start picking up some elements of EPM. It will help ensure faster growth, and sometime we’ll hear about a new Google, maybe?😉