Flying an aircraft and managing a project are two very different tasks, but they do share some similarities in terms of the required skills and the mindset needed to be successful. Here are some comparisons between flying an aircraft and managing a project:
- Planning and preparation: Both flying an aircraft and managing a project require a lot of planning and preparation before the actual work can begin. Pilots and project managers must take into account factors such as weather, equipment, resources, and team members to ensure a safe and successful flight or project.
- Risk management: Pilots and project managers must also be adept at managing risks. In aviation, this means constantly monitoring the weather, aircraft systems, and other factors to ensure safety. In project management, it means identifying potential risks and creating contingency plans to mitigate them.
- Communication: Clear communication is crucial in both flying and project management. Pilots must communicate effectively with air traffic control, other pilots, and their crew members. Project managers must communicate effectively with their team members, stakeholders, and clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Decision-making: Pilots and project managers must make quick and informed decisions under pressure. In aviation, this means assessing situations and making split-second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. In project management, it means assessing risks, making decisions based on data, and adapting to changing circumstances.
- Attention to detail: Both flying an aircraft and managing a project require attention to detail. Pilots must pay close attention to their instruments, aircraft systems, and the environment around them. Project managers must pay close attention to timelines, budgets, and deliverables to ensure that everything stays on track.
What will happen if the information radiator is faulty? What happens if the decision makers do not have the right information on time for decision making? That is where lies the significance of Digital PMO in project management, especially in EPC projects.
Before getting into discussions about Digital PMO, let us take a quick look at traditional Project Management Office (PMO) and the limitations of traditional PMOs
What is Project Management Office (PMO)?
Project Management Offices (PMO) are centralized functions within organizations, facilitating professional project, program and portfolio management within organizations, by;
- Providing standard procedures & guidelines for project selection, planning, execution, monitoring&controlling and closing
- Providing tailoring guidelines
- Enforcement of these defined procedures and guidelines through audits, training, corrective & preventive actions
- Communicating status to the relevant stakeholders
- Staffing of project management teams (in some cases)
- Advising the key stakeholders on potential risks and recommending corrective and preventive actions
Gartners classification of PMOs
- Centralised platform for knowledge and experience sharing by the experienced performers with the inexperienced, so that work can happen
- Processes are not defined / standardized
- Establishing standard practices
- Focus on establishing system for monitoring & controlling variances
- Planning & controlling the tactical execution of projects
- Promotion of proactive project management
- Repeatable processes and techniques
- Results based culture
- Enabling approach as opposed to controlling approach
- Reviews business cases of project proposals
- Project portfolio dashboard-based monitoring & control
- Results based culture
- Directive PMO
Project Management Institute (PMI)’s classification of PMOs
- The directive PMO is the highest level of the PMO roles. They maintain a strong degree of control over many aspects of the project, and they often communicate directly with stakeholders and clients, as well as work intimately with the CIO.
- Directive PMOs usually hire and assign project managers and serve as their guides and supervisors. They will be an important part of project planning and managing an organization’s projects throughout the lifecycle in terms of scope, budget and timeframes.
- Project performance can often be linked to the active participation and initiatives set out by a directive PMO system.
- The next level PMO according to the PMI breakdown is the controlling PMO. They have a good degree of control over managing projects but not as much as the directive PMO.
- The controlling PMO approaches project control as someone who enforces the guides and practices agreed upon in the project charter, as well as being in charge of conformance and compliance.
- They also make sure everyone is using the right tools, and has some oversight over resource management. In less complex projects, it is possible to adopt a PMO in between directive and controlling.
- The supportive PMO is the third type of PMO according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, or PMBOK. This type of PMO has very little direct control over the project, but instead serves as project support for when team members ask for more guidance.
- In other words, one can say the supportive PMO is a consultant. The supportive PMO system is also used for helping to onboard and train staff, arrange shared templates and common analysis metrics
- .As far as the right PMO for one’s project management methodology, the supportive PMO should not have much of a say in prioritization, but when it comes to real-time change management, it is useful.
Limitations of traditional PMOs
- Reactive than pro-active – For PMOs have to be effective, they must be able to prevent problems before they happen. This is possible only when PMOs have balanced alignment towards project management teams (the ones who focuses on monitoring&controlling) and project teams (the ones who focuses on project execution). Most of the traditional PMO’s focus is to cater to the needs of the senior management and the project management teams.
- Delays in reporting – The time lag between reporting is another major challenge. For EPC projects, the cycle time of reporting varies from weekly to monthly. That means, before a problem gets highlighted to the key people, lot of time is wasted.
- Varied status update time – Unless the status update times of the contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers are aligned, monitoring the actual progress is difficult.
- Lack of accuracy of data – when the number of stakeholders are large, maintaining the accuracy of status updates become a major challenge.
Digital PMOs provide almost real time task level, work package level, project level, program level and finally at the portfolio level progress information to the right stakeholders real time, without the need for manual progress status updates. This is accomplished by digitizing the project workflows. When real time progress information is available, then the project management becomes more pro-active. They will be able to focus on the problematic areas quickly. With the ability to forecast, project management teams will become more proactive.
Key benefits of having a digital PMO for EPC Projects
A digital PMO (Project Management Office) can provide several benefits for EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) projects. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved project planning: A digital PMO can provide tools for creating detailed project plans and timelines, including automated scheduling and resource allocation. This can help EPC projects stay on track and avoid delays.
- Enhanced communication and collaboration: Digital PMOs often provide collaboration tools that enable project teams to share information and communicate more effectively. This can help EPC projects avoid miscommunications and resolve issues more quickly.
- Increased transparency: A digital PMO can provide real-time visibility into project performance and status, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions and identify potential issues early on. This can help EPC projects stay on budget and on schedule.
- Better risk management: Digital PMOs often include risk management tools that enable teams to identify, assess, and mitigate risks throughout the project lifecycle. This can help EPC projects avoid or minimize the impact of potential risks.
- Greater efficiency and productivity: Digital PMOs can automate many project management tasks, such as scheduling, tracking, and reporting. This can help EPC projects save time and resources, allowing teams to focus on more important tasks.
Overall, a digital PMO can provide significant benefits for EPC projects, including improved project planning, enhanced communication and collaboration, increased transparency, better risk management, and greater efficiency and productivity.
Key steps for implementing digital PMO in EPC Projects
Implementing a digital PMO for EPC projects involves more than just adopting new technology; it often requires significant organizational and cultural changes. Here are some recommended steps to implement a digital PMO in EPC projects:
- Define the scope: Start by defining the scope of the digital PMO and identifying which processes and activities will be digitized. This will help ensure that the implementation is focused and targeted.
- Build a strong business case: Develop a strong business case for the digital PMO, including the benefits it will provide and the costs and risks associated with the implementation. This will help gain buy-in from key stakeholders.
- Assess readiness: Assess the organization’s readiness for the digital PMO, including its current processes, culture, and technology infrastructure. Identify any barriers to adoption and develop plans to overcome them.
- Select the right technology: Select technology that is appropriate for the organization’s needs and integrates with existing systems. Consider factors such as scalability, security, and ease of use.
- Develop a communication plan: Develop a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed about the implementation and its progress. This can help build support and address any concerns or issues that arise.
- Provide training and support: Provide training and support to employees to help them adapt to the new digital PMO. This can include training on new technology, processes, and best practices.
- Monitor and evaluate: Monitor the implementation and evaluate its effectiveness regularly. This will help identify any issues or areas for improvement and ensure that the digital PMO is meeting its objectives.
Overall, implementing a digital PMO for EPC projects requires careful planning, strong leadership, and effective communication. By following these recommended steps, organizations can successfully transition to a more digital and efficient project management approach.
Among project owner, consultant and contractor who is the best person to drive digital PMO implementation in EPC Projects?
Each of the project owner, consultant, and contractor can play a crucial role in driving digital PMO (Project Management Office) implementation in EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) projects, depending on their expertise and responsibilities.
However, in general, the project owner or the client is in the best position to drive digital PMO implementation as they have a vested interest in ensuring the project is completed on time, within budget, and with the desired quality. The project owner can set the project objectives, determine the success criteria, and define the scope of the PMO. They can also select the right tools and technologies, establish communication channels, and set up project reporting requirements.
The consultant can also contribute significantly to digital PMO implementation by bringing in their technical expertise and experience in managing complex projects. They can help the project owner select the appropriate tools and technologies, establish processes and procedures, and monitor project performance.
The contractor can also play a vital role in digital PMO implementation, particularly in implementing digital tools and technologies at the project execution level. They can work with the project owner and consultant to ensure that the PMO’s objectives are met, identify areas for improvement, and provide feedback on the effectiveness of the digital tools and technologies.
Ultimately, the success of digital PMO implementation in EPC projects depends on the collaboration and coordination among all stakeholders involved, including the project owner, consultant, and contractor.
When is the right time to plan for implementing digital PMO within EPC Projects?
The right time to start planning for digital PMO in EPC projects is during the project initiation phase. The project initiation phase is the stage where the project is defined, and the objectives, scope, and constraints are identified. During this phase, it is crucial to consider the project’s digital PMO requirements and establish a plan for its implementation.
Planning for digital PMO early on in the project provides several benefits. Firstly, it allows for the identification of potential digital PMO tools and technologies that may be required, such as project management software, communication tools, and reporting tools. Secondly, it allows for the development of a digital PMO strategy that aligns with the project objectives and requirements. Thirdly, it enables the identification of potential risks and issues that may arise during the project and establish mitigation plans.
Starting digital PMO planning early on in the project can also help to ensure that the necessary resources, such as time, budget, and personnel, are allocated for its implementation. It is essential to involve all relevant stakeholders, including the project owner, consultant, and contractor, in the planning process to ensure that their inputs and requirements are considered.
In conclusion, starting digital PMO planning early on in the project, during the project initiation phase, can help to ensure that the project’s digital PMO requirements are identified, planned, and implemented effectively.
How to go about choosing right tool / tools for the implementation of digital PMO within EPC projects?
Selecting the best tools for implementing digital PMO in EPC projects requires a systematic approach that considers the project’s unique requirements and objectives. Here are some steps that can help in selecting the best tools for implementing digital PMO in EPC projects:
- Identify the project’s digital PMO requirements: Start by identifying the project’s digital PMO requirements, including the tools and technologies needed to manage the project effectively. This can be achieved by reviewing the project scope, objectives, and constraints and identifying areas where digital PMO tools can improve project management.
- Conduct a needs assessment: Once the digital PMO requirements have been identified, conduct a needs assessment to determine the specific functionalities needed for each tool. This can be achieved by reviewing the project management processes and identifying areas where automation or digital tools can improve efficiency, communication, and reporting.
- Research and compare available tools: Research and compare available digital PMO tools and technologies that meet the project’s requirements. This can be done by reviewing online resources, attending industry events and conferences, and consulting with industry experts. It is also essential to consider the cost, ease of use, and compatibility with other tools and systems currently in use.
- Evaluate and test tools: After narrowing down the list of potential digital PMO tools, evaluate and test them to determine which ones are the best fit for the project. This can be achieved by conducting a pilot test, inviting vendors for demonstrations, and gathering feedback from project stakeholders.
- Select the best tool(s): Based on the evaluation and testing, select the best tool(s) for implementing digital PMO in the project. It is essential to consider the tool’s ability to integrate with other systems and tools, user-friendliness, cost, and support from the vendor.
- Implement and train: Once the tool(s) have been selected, implement them and provide training to the project team and stakeholders. It is crucial to ensure that all team members are familiar with the tool’s functionalities and know how to use them effectively.
In conclusion, selecting the best tools for implementing digital PMO in EPC projects requires a thorough needs assessment, research and comparison, evaluation, testing, and training. By following a systematic approach, project managers can select the most suitable digital PMO tools and technologies that meet the project’s unique requirements and objectives.
which are the best tools available in the market for implementing digital PMO within EPC projects?
There are various tools available in the market for implementing digital PMO within EPC projects. The best tool(s) for a particular project depend on the project’s specific requirements, scope, and objectives. Here are some popular tools that are commonly used in EPC projects:
- Microsoft Project: Microsoft Project is a project management software that helps to plan, track, and manage projects. It offers a range of features, including Gantt charts, resource allocation, and task scheduling, which can be used to manage EPC projects effectively.
- Primavera P6: Primavera P6 is a project management software developed by Oracle Corporation. It is a comprehensive tool that offers features such as project planning, scheduling, resource management, and cost control. Primavera P6 is particularly well-suited for managing large and complex EPC projects.
- Procore: Procore is a cloud-based construction management software that offers a range of tools for managing EPC projects, including project scheduling, document management, and communication tools. It is particularly well-suited for managing EPC projects that involve multiple stakeholders and teams.
- Bluebeam: Bluebeam is a project collaboration software that offers features such as document management, markups, and collaboration tools. It can be used to manage EPC projects by providing a centralized platform for document management and communication.
- BIM 360: BIM 360 is a construction project management software that offers features such as project planning, document management, and collaboration tools. It is particularly well-suited for managing EPC projects that involve building information modeling (BIM).
- Wrench Smart Project is a state of the art Digital PMO software designed exclusively for the EPC Industry which provides real time project progress information and can be easily integrated with EDMS, Project Planning softwares, ERP softwares etc. The implementation time is just 4 weeks and can be easily scaled based on need, hence it is well suited for very large infrastructure projects as well as small projects
In conclusion, the best tools for implementing digital PMO within EPC projects depend on the project’s specific requirements, scope, and objectives. It is essential to conduct a needs assessment and evaluate the available tools to select the most suitable ones for the project.
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