Enterprise project management

What is enterprise project management?

Enterprise project management (EPM) is the discipline of managing multiple projects happening at the same time within an organization. We can think of it like this: if a project manager is the captain of a ship, the team member with ownership of enterprise project management is the admiral of a navy.

What are the responsibilities involved in enterprise project management?

Large organizations, such as blue-chip companies and governmental departments, often have some form of enterprise project management office. This could be in the form of a Delivery Manager (DM) supported by junior staff, or it could be some other configuration of team members who are given ownership of EPM.

EPM does not involve the detailed management of any particular project. Instead, it is concerned with managing all of an organization’s projects together. That means directing projects so they align with top-level goals; it means managing the dependencies which exist between projects; and it means helping each project to make it over the finish line, on-time and on-budget.

In order to fulfil this role, the EPM office needs a high-level view of all the projects underway within the organization. For example, it might receive regular reporting from each project’s PM on factors such as:

  • Issues currently affecting delivery
  • Risks that may affect the project in future
  • Project progress and contribution to the organization’s KPIs

Using feedback on these areas, or whichever other factors fall within its purview, the EPM office can help each project in various ways. It can provide counsel to help resolve issues, it can offer solutions to guard against risks, and in some cases it may allocate extra resources to push a foundering project toward completion.

All the while, the EPM office must have the organization’s main goals in mind. The projects which are doing the most to advance these objectives should be given all the help they need to keep succeeding, while projects which are veering away from corporate best interests may need to be refocused, or in some extreme cases, wound down.

Another aspect of EPM is ensuring consistent project management across an organization’s projects and its project managers. This may involve establishing project management best practices, and leading on professional development – such as enterprise project management certification, or training in the use of project management software – for the organization’s project managers.

In short, EPM is the management of projects within an organization. It is the bridge between what an organization is currently working on, and what it aims to achieve in the grandest sense.

What makes enterprise project management successful?

There are many benefits of enterprise project management. Above all, EPM can ensure each project serves the overarching aims of the organization. It helps individual projects follow the same best practices, serve the same corporate objectives, and use the same knowledge to overcome issues and risks. Furthermore, EPM can help keep project management at a high standard throughout an organization’s projects, through provision of a uniform framework for reporting, and the centralization of project management leadership and support.

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