Let us repeat the title question: Do project owners need help transforming to lead megaprojects? Studies by the Independent Project Analysis (IPA) and others have clearly identified a few key facts. The facts include project owners that manage their own projects directly, achieve better results than if the projects were managed by external parties. Another finding is that about half of their clients (IPA) have an organizational project management system (OPMS) that are poor or in needs of drastic improvements. Therefore, considering these two facts, then we raise more questions.
To repeat the facts:
- Project owners can do better if they manage their projects and in leading megaprojects.
- Many project owners organizational project management systems are poor or not good enough to do (1).
Then, what should project owners do? Invest in (2) to be able to do (1).
In other words, project owners need to build and sustain the project management function. Building the project management function will lead to enhancing organizational competence. To sustain, executives must embed the culture of projects leadership, which would enhance their product delivery.
How about the capacity to lead megaprojects?
Building the organizational system requires building the process. To sustain a robust OPMS, organizational need to focus on building competent teams and with the culture to win. However, these do not directly address the question of capacity. Capacity in this context means having enough qualified project & project management professionals for leading megaprojects from concept to success.
It is known that globally, many organizations have been depending on outsourcing to PMC and general contractors, so should owners stop using PMC and construction management firms? Should they go from full dependence to full independence? Maybe it would be logical but might not be practical to make a full shift; this would be a strategic decision.
Project Management Function
Let me pause or side track for a minute before I suggest a solution.
Those who follow this blog site, know that I have been writing a book about leading megaprojects. I have also been posting on this topic here. The last post was a full chapter from my upcoming book, which compares two megaprojects. Those projects quite similar but with contrasting results. One failed, one succeeded (project management wise). There many factors for the results but the key difference was the organizational culture and project management maturity. This is why organizations need to build their OPMS.
Please read that chapter for an appreciation of what I am proposing next.
Project owners transformation to leading megaprojects
Do project owners need help in their transformation drive? We believe the answer is YES!
How can they transform? Let me propose a simple transformational model in two parts. The first step is: executive management to make the strategic decision and accept that project management is imperative for success.
Once the decision is made, treat project management as a function, equal if not more important than other functions. This means: establish a division for projects delivery and project management, if you do not have one, and make the head of this division an executive in the C-suite; a Chief Projects Officer (CPO), for example.
If you do not have time to build the project management function before the next big project, then hire a PMC on the next project but embed with the PMC a few of your own people that have the interest and passion of project management. If you do not have them in the organization, hire them. Hire the right people who would help you build the PMF.
Depending on the size of the project and the team, you might be able to have only 10% or 20% of the overall team with your staff. It is important not to take this for granted, and except the PMC will train your people, this is a conflict of interest to them, training their replacement. So, you must insist on having your people access to all critical information and make sure this is in the contract with corrective actions clauses, in case the PMC fails to deliver. Also, make sure you hold your people accountable, and that means they have to get in the trenches and leave the master-slave mentality at home or in their past. In other words, plan the assimilation and manage it closely.
On the next project, increase the percent or your staff to 50% or more.
By the third project, your teams should be ready to take ever. If you have spot shortages, fill them through supplemental resources or in partnership with PMC and construction management contractors.
Building the OPMS
In parallel to working projects and the integrated teams, you should have other project management senior professionals working with the CPO to build the PMF and OPMS. Start working to reverse the cycle of doom.
What can SUKAD do for you?
Maybe nothing or maybe a lot. It is your choice.
If you can do the transformation on your own with internal staff, that would be perfect.
If you do not have enough to handle this strategic work, we have great experience in the management of capital projects, organizational project management, and megaprojects and would be able to help you transform your project management function and enable you for leading megaprojects (and capital projects) from concept to success. We are even writing a book about it.
We would be happy to help organizations, around the world, take a step toward transforming and in building and sustaining a great project management functions for managing projects and leading megaprojects, concept to success!