#4 A Guide To the Project Management-Relationship Between Project Management, Operations Management, and Organizational Strategy
In this chapter, we will discuss the Relationship Between Project Management, Operations Management, and Organizational Strategy
A program is defined as a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside the scope of the discrete projects in the program. A project may or may not be part of a program but a program will always have projects. Program management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program in order to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually. Projects within a program are related through the common outcome or collective capability. If the relationship between projects is only that of a shared client, seller, technology, or resource, the effort should be managed as a portfolio of projects rather than as a program
Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints
Operations management is a subject area that is outside the scope of formal project management as described in this standard. Operations management is an area of management concerned with the ongoing production of goods and/or services. It involves ensuring that business operations continue efficiently by using the optimum resources needed and meeting customer demands. It is concerned with managing processes that transform inputs (e.g., materials, components, energy, and labor) into outputs (e.g., products, goods, and/or services).
Operations management is the administration of business practices to create the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization. It is concerned with converting materials and labor into goods and services as efficiently as possible to maximize the profit of an organization.
An organizational strategy is the sum of the actions a company intends to take to achieve long-term goals. Together, these actions make up a company's strategic plan. Strategic plans take at least a year to complete, requiring involvement from all company levels.
Operations and Project Management
Changes in business operations may be the focus of a dedicated project—especially if there are substantial changes to business operations as a result of a new product or service delivery. Ongoing operations are outside of the scope of a project; however, there are intersecting points where the two areas cross. Projects can intersect with operations at various points during the product life cycle, such as:
- When developing a new product, upgrading a product, or expanding outputs
- While improving operations or the product development process
- Until the end of the product life cycle. At each point, deliverables and knowledge are transferred between the project and operations for implementation of the delivered work. This implementation occurs through a transfer of project resources to operations toward the end of the project, or through a transfer of operational resources to the project at the start. Operations are ongoing endeavors that produce repetitive outputs, with resources assigned to do basically the same set of tasks according to the standards institutionalized in a product life cycle. Unlike the ongoing nature of operations, projects are temporary endeavors.
Operational Stakeholders in Project Management
While operations management is different from project management, the needs of stakeholders who perform and conduct business operations are important considerations in projects that will affect their future work and endeavors. Project managers who consider and appropriately include operational stakeholders in all phases of projects, gain insight and avoid unnecessary issues that often arise when their input is overlooked. Operational stakeholders should be engaged and their needs identified as part of the stakeholder register, and their influence (positive or negative) should be addressed as part of the risk management plan.
The following list includes examples of operational stakeholders
- Plant operators
- Manufacturing line supervisors,
- The help desk staff,
- Production system support analysts,
- The customer service representative,
- Maintenance workers,
- Telephone sales personnel,
- Call center personnel,
- Retail workers,
- Line managers, and
- Training officers
Organizations and Project Management
Organizations use governance to establish strategic direction and performance parameters. The strategic direction provides the purpose, expectations, goals, and actions necessary to guide business pursuit and is aligned with business objectives. Project management activities should be aligned with top-level business direction, and if there is a change, then project objectives need to be realigned. In a project environment, changes to project objectives affect project efficiency and success. When the business alignment for a project is constant, the chance for project success greatly increases because the project remains aligned with the strategic direction of the organization. Should something change, projects should change accordingly.
The Relationship Between Project Management and Organizational Strategy
The organizational strategy should provide guidance and direction to project management—especially when one considers that projects exist to support organizational strategies. Often it is the project sponsor or the portfolio or program manager who identifies alignment or potential conflicts between organizational strategies and project goals and then communicates these to the project manager. If the goals of a project are in conflict with an established organizational strategy, it is incumbent upon the project manager to document and identify such conflicts as early as possible in the project. At times, the development of an organizational strategy could be the goal of a project rather than a guiding principle. In such a case, it is important for the project to specifically define what constitutes an appropriate organizational strategy that will sustain the organization.