Adding value to projects

Many things are done in the name of project – that one off event that covers range of activities in all shapes and sizes.
There are small projects like weddings, parties and fund-raising drives, and there are medium ones like advertising campaigns, capital acquisitions, business reengineering, informa -tion systems, etc, and then there’s the mega projects such as NASA space station, hydro electric dams and military campaigns. Some of the oldest projects we have are the pyramids in Egypt, and the Great Wall of China, although we’ll probably never know all the details of their project management process.
Worldwide, project manage-ment is taking off as profession and is now recognised as core competency for all levels of management.
But there’s not enough thought given to how these projects are integrated into business to add value to it, say authors Enzo Frigenti and Dennis Comninos in their new book The Practice of Project Management, business approach.
“Projects can only be initiated as result of business needs and strategies. Many organisations devote lot of time and effort to formulating strategies and business plans, but relatively little time to their implementation through projects. Strategies need to be translated into daily work if they are to have any effect.
“As strategies are turned into reality through programmes and projects, they must ensure projects are integrated into the business.
“Project management must be equally at home in the boardroom where projects are often initiated to deliver strategy as it is at the coal face where the work is done,” they say.
“The point we’re making,” says Frigenti, “is if you take the Y2K projects, people saw them as IT projects full stop. Our view is there are no specific IT projects, they’re projects for the business – that’s an important issue.
“Otherwise you find some very large projects – IT projects for example – take on life of their own and rapidly add tremendous cost.
“Many managers don’t know how to think strategically when it comes to technology, they’re captured by it because the bells and whistles are so attractive.
“Some of the challenges we face are the fact that because IT has always been in project mode, managers understand how to deliver IT projects and IT initiatives.”
While technology is driving business these days, and of course, it’s important to the business, it’s not the sole focus, says Frigenti.
“You have to remember issues such as business analysis, business case development, prioritisation and selection, all those front end elements which make projects fit well. And you have to build an environment that supports project management,” he says.

The book is structured around unique approach, that introduces process to understand customer’s business, and develop value adding project management strategies and build stakeholder confidence.
A range of real-life case studies is included, demonstrating methods and tools for flexible solutions. These case studies bring to light the many years’ experience with various professions and trades the authors, New Zealander Enzo Frigenti and South African Dennis Comninos, have enjoyed around the world.

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