The impact of project management on business performance
This case study looks at the tangible impact of project management on business performance and the importance of ensuring that projects and programmes of work are completed on time and budget avoiding wasted resource. It also helps to ensure that the energy of the resource assigned to the project are correctly channelled in the right direction to ensure the efficient operation of their skills.
Successfully managing and leading a project in the right direction and focusing on achieving what you set out to do, on time, every time, can result in increased customer satisfaction and profit – both of which are directly linked to profitability and business growth. A failed project on the other hand lowers the morale of the employees and results in the disruption of new initiatives while also preventing business growth.
Firefighting unexpected issues and unforeseen delays and roadblocks resulting from ineffective planning, can damage customer relationships, create extra costs and interrupt key processes. This can create a knock-on effect; for example, failing to fulfil on a service level agreement or failing to deliver to a customer on time both of which can have a direct financial or legal implications. The ability to manage a project in a way which enables you to see and adapt around a potential delay can avoid these problems occurring in the first place.
The client, a specialist in the manufacturing industry, was looking to migrate from its existing on-premise and outdated IT Service Management (ITSM) suite to a new cloud-based platform that would enable the client to modernise its IT landscape. Moving to a modern, cloud-based platform would enable the client to remove the burden and cost of managing on-premise hardware, improve productivity for business functions and users, all while creating a secure, resilient service experience. It would also help to reduce costs and speeds up the delivery of organisational change.
NWT was asked to provide a senior Programme Director who would lead a small team of project managers deployed internally from other areas of the clients business. His role was to manage the entire migration process on behalf of the client who had limited experience of a project of this size and complexity.
The business case and high-level budget for the migration had been signed off by senior management and an extremely challenging four-month time window had been set. The client was determined to use internal resource as part of the implementation team.
The project would be run from a small virtual project management office (PMO) that would need to be set up by the Project Director.
The first role of the Programme Director was to look at the budgets and timelines set by the client. It was agreed by all stakeholders that both were unrealistic. The main reasons for the change were that the client had not accounted for costs relating to data management and database upgrades. Following this review the migration budget was increased by 10% and a small contingency budget was also agreed. The migration timeline was extended to six months.
Considering the short timeline for delivery of the programme of work, effective resource allocation would be critical. One of the first tasks was to establish a kick off workshop with the new cloud service partner to discuss and agree resource and create a Resource Management Plan.
The next step was to start the internal recruitment process to find suitable project managers with different skill levels who would have to be drawn from different departments within the business. The goal was to use the minimum resource to get the maximum return and ensure that talent and knowledge was used where and when it was needed the most.
At the same time the Programme Director conducted a thorough Risk Assessment, including a detailed review of the impact the migration would have on the mission-critical applications and lines of business. He was also responsible for working closely with the cloud service provider to produce a detailed business-focused Migration Plan to manage and execute the change.
The Programme Director was able to draw on his considerable experience in IT support across a diverse range of business sectors and customers and worked closely with the client and the cloud service provider to:
- Analyse issues with the client’s current ITSM system and provide guidance on how to overcome them
- Providing guidance on how to optimise business processes to make the processes transferred to the new platform more efficient
- Identify new service management functionality required, be it out-of-the-box or custom-made features and applications
- Reviewing various migration strategies and choosing one that suits the client’s needs best
The Programme Director was also charged with helping the team to establish:
- A virtual PMO
- Appropriate governance from project, portfolio and service management teams
- Creating a communication plan to ensure timely and effective communication was established between all stakeholders including the new service provider
- Senior management reporting channels
- Efficient channels of communication between the team and the new service provider
- Setting up and manage regular meetings both virtual and face-to-face to discuss progress, any potential obstacles and to plan upcoming activities
- Process regularly capturing lessons learned instead of documenting these at the end of the project
- A formal change control process including tailored project documentation to report and control the progress of the delivery.
- A tailored Risk Management Plan to track all the risks and issues within the project
- Plan training for service delivery teams and users
Outcomes and success:
- 10/10 Net Promoter Score from customer
- The migration was successfully delivered on time and ahead of the team’s target completion date
- Cost savings in resource budget
- The project team captured the lessons learned to be used as a best practice for other future projects.
For the employees redeployed from other roles, the project offered an excellent opportunity to develop new project management skills.
A Project Management function has now been embedded within the client’s business, which will continue to turn the virtuous cycle of project management development within the business.
Through diligent control of the budget at every level, the project was delivered under the original budget.
There was no disruption to service delivery during the migration.