Enterprise Project Management (EPMO) 101: How to Get Started

EPMO

EPMO stands for Enterprise Project Management Office. For large enterprises with multiple projects running simultaneously, knowing how to implement enterprise project management (EPM) can be the difference between success and failure. 

However, transitioning from a traditional project management system to EPM can be pretty complicated.

In this guide, we will define enterprise project management, explain its benefits, and the different ways to implement EPM to ensure the success of your projects.

EPMO

What is Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO)? 

Enterprise project management is the process of managing multiple projects on an organization-wide scale. While the projects might not be connected, they all impact the same organization.

Unlike traditional project management that focuses on a single, small-scale project, EPM focuses on aligning the organization’s goals and objectives with the ongoing projects to ensure the company is directing its resources towards the right people in the right places at the right time.

The key responsibilities of an enterprise project manager include prioritizing tasks at hand, managing and grouping projects, identifying gaps between projects, and above all, ensuring that the projects are meeting the company’s goals and expectations. 

Further, they also recognize the poorly performing projects and ditch them for more viable options.

4 Benefits of EPMO  

Here’s how enterprise project management can benefit you and your team. 

1. Improved productivity 

While working on a project, employees often juggle between apps to get their job done—opening Gmail to find the assigned task, calling the project manager from Slack to get instructions on how to do that task. 

EPM eliminates this problem. You can create a task on EPM software, assign it to your team members, and include instructions on how to do it. Plus, you can attach the required files, if any.

This way, employees need not navigate through different apps and spend more time on their respective tasks, increasing productivity.

2. High-quality output 

Poor quality of work is the last thing you want from your team members. While using EPM, you need to ensure that each member is assigned the tasks according to their strengths and expertise. 

Plus, it also ensures that you’re not putting high pressure on any employee with additional tasks. This helps the employee focus on one given task and give their hundred percent to succeed.

3. Reduced risks 

Picture this: You recently bagged a new project and understood what the client wants to achieve. You planned everything with your entire team, set a deadline, allocated resources, and assigned tasks to each member. Everything is going as planned. 

But, after three months, the client contacts you and communicates their changed vision—they now want to target a new set of audiences. So, how do you change your entire project three months into execution? 

Risks are inevitable in any organization. But how you manage them can make or break your project success. 

An EPM software allows you to have all the projects at once place. You can get a strategic viewpoint of each project and identify the risks associated with them. Plus, take precautionary measures to avoid or eliminate them in the future.

4. Enhanced team collaboration 

Team collaboration is a crucial element that helps your company reach new heights. When your employees work in a collaborative environment, it becomes easier to retain them longer, saving you money finding new ones. 

Enterprise project management takes team collaboration to the next level. Since everyone can see the assigned tasks, employees tend to work together and help each other complete the tasks. This promotes transparent and healthy communication among the team members.

EPMO

5 Steps to Implement an EPMO

Now that you’re aware of EPM and how it can benefit your large enterprise, let’s look at the five EPM implementation steps for successful management and organization across different departments. 

1. Determine the use of a EPMO

Even though some aspects of enterprise project management are the same across the organizations, every company uses it differently. So, the first step involves determining how you will implement EPM after identifying problems and reviewing current processes. 

You should ask yourself questions like: 

  1. What kind of resources are required to implement this process? This includes personnel, equipment, office space, and EPM software and tools. 
  2. What are your long-term company objectives? And, how does the use of EPM help achieve them? 
  3. Who will take on the new role, and what is required of that person daily?
  4. What are the responsibilities of the enterprise project management office?
  5. What are the current project management processes, and how the implementation of EPM will affect them?

 

2. Communicate with stakeholders

Large organizations have definite rules and processes for undertaking new investments, and this involves obtaining the acceptance of stakeholders or board members.

Developing a positive relationship with the stakeholders and earning their trust are essential aspects of managing a project. So, the next step involves communicating your plan to stakeholders and explaining to them the benefits and process of implementing EPM.

Understand that critical stakeholders are present both inside and outside of the company. Identifying them will allow you to better execute your project planning by ensuring all stakeholders have complete information throughout the project and are satisfied with the results.

However, before you approach them, make sure you can convey the benefits of EPM and the expected results of the same.

3. Create a EPMO Project Support Office (PSO) 

Project Support Office (PSO) plays a crucial role in implementing the EPM process throughout the organization. It is a temporary or permanent support department that offers a plethora of support functions to enterprise-wide project managers and teams daily. These functions include: 

  1. Determining the impact of a project on the enterprise and identifying the benefits of completing it. 
  2. Preparing a budget and plan for the given project. 
  3. Selecting reliable enterprise project management solutions. 
  4. Providing training of EPM software to the project personnel.
  5. Assessing the risks associated with the project and managing them. 
  6. Communicating the project status updates to the concerned team members. 
  7. Assessing the performance of the project and modifying business operations wherever required. 
  8. Preparing additional paperwork for research, training, and legal purposes. 
  9. Developing an effective communication method for the team members.
  10. Ensuring that the company’s objectives are aligned with the project. 

EPMO

4. Practice a Consistent EPMO Methodology 

When it comes to successfully managing projects and project managers in large organizations, it’s best to practice a clear and consistent approach across various business units. 

Project methodologies are the rules or practices used by organizations to guide processes to achieve a particular goal. These ensure sound clarity by defining roles, which helps in an effective decision-making process. These also set standards for when and how to assess projects against each other and take resulting actions. 

Standard project management methodologies include:

  1. Waterfall: It is a sequential process where each step wraps up before the next one begins. This model works best for projects with detailed plans that require a single timeline. Each member has a clearly defined goal that is never expected to change. The typical stages involve requirements, design, implementation, verification, and maintenance. 
  2. Agile: In this model, large projects are broken down into small manageable tasks completed in short periods throughout the project life cycle. The agile method works well when the product features are not or do not have to be well-defined. Project owners can make changes in project requirements to deliver better results to the stakeholders.

5. Select the correct tool 

Using office tools and spreadsheets for managing organization-wide projects can be an uphill task. Tons of resources, files, conversations, and agreements can be pretty challenging to keep track of. Further, it can result in ineffective collaboration, delay in tasks, lack of project visibility, etc. 

Enter: Enterprise Project management tools. 

An enterprise project management tool is software that helps teams manage multiple projects across the organization. It involves planning and tracking the project’s progress, aligning resources with the company’s vision, communicating and collaborating on a project, etc. 

Some basic features an EPM tool must have include:  

  1. Scheduling meetings with team members and keeping communication open and transparent
  2. Smooth integration with other enterprise-grade tools for seamless workflows
  3. Assigning and tracking tasks throughout the project life cycle
  4. Sharing documents with team members back and forth
  5. Using Gantt charts to showcase project schedules, changing the start and end date, and controlling which team members are working on which project
  6. Tracking time spent on each task and project allows employees to log timesheets, solid visibility over resource utilization.

5 Powerful Ways to Improve Your EPMO

Whether you’re an EPM expert or just a beginner, check out these five tips for implementing enterprise project management in your organization. 

1. Plan thoroughly 

Planning is a crucial aspect of a successful organization-wide project. However, it’s often underestimated by most companies. Here are a few tips for nailing the initial planning stage and avoiding confusion due to unclear planning. 

Clearly define your project goals and objectives and make sure they align with the company’s vision. When you define goals poorly, you won’t have anything to refer to when you need to make difficult decisions later. Ask yourself: 

What are the core objectives you should focus on? What should you keep in mind when the scope and requirements need to change due to unexpected circumstances? This phase could take some time—a few weeks or even months—as it will be the foundation for everyone involved in the project. 

 Once you have your objectives in place, you will need to set milestones for each project. Since complex projects can take a lot of time to finish, break them up into small tasks so you can track the progress smoothly. Also, when a milestone is complete, congratulate your team members and let them know their efforts are paying off. Understand the risks associated with each project and when and how they may occur. Have a plan in place so your progress doesn’t get delayed.

 

2. Encourage open communication 

Effective and open communication between team members and stakeholders is another vital element in project planning. If done right, it can go a long way in keeping everyone in the loop. On the other hand, poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary delays. 

Here’s how you can encourage open communication: 

  1. Set the right tone from the beginning. Give opportunity to every team member to express their opinions—both positive and negative. Plus, invite everyone to discuss their feedback during daily or weekly meetings. This way, the members will get motivated to share their thoughts. 
  2. Make sure the team can access the required information easily. Confidential information could result in delayed work and frustrated employees. If you’re confused, ask the members and stakeholders about what information they need to help them the most. 
  3. Use reliable collaboration and communication tools that align with your project needs. Choose the ones that boost everyone’s productivity, ensure smooth communication, file sharing, and so on. Also, make sure that the software supports a wide range of integration for streamlined project operations. Some examples include Slack, Microsoft Team, Skype, etc.

3. Track your progress

While managing a project, things can often go off track. Research shows that nearly 15% of projects fail. And out of the successful ones, half fail to meet time commitments, 43% exceed their budget, and 32% fail to deliver the required product. 

This is where tracking the progress of your project can help. 

It might sound simple, but monitoring the project progress can make a massive difference between the success and failure of the project. It gives you a better understanding of the different project phases, resource allocation, and the status of each team member. 

Here’s how you can master progress tracking:

  1. Conduct weekly meetings and prepare reports. Done efficiently, these are excellent ways to help team members and stakeholders be on the same page. Before writing reports, clearly define what should and should not be included in them. Also, avoid spending hours on unnecessary meetings without results.
  2. Have an effective escalation system so that team members can communicate their issues without any hesitation or ask for the required information to make well-informed decisions. This includes preparing the correct information and sharing it with the right people at the right time. 
  3. Make sure the feedback and reporting are two-way. Make sure the upper management and key decision-makers engage with various stakeholders and team members and spend time hearing their positive or negative feedback.

4. Motivate your Team 

Employees are the center of every project. So, it’s crucial to keep them motivated, focused, and aligned with the company’s goals and objectives. Here’s how you can do it: 

  1. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member to pick the right employee for the project. 
  2. Maintain excellent and diverse relationships with the employees as a toxic work environment with backstabbing and office politics can lower their morale. Host workshops, lunch parties, and other team-building activities to boost their productivity. 
  3. Personal growth should also be encouraged. When employees develop an interest in different things, it can bring positive energy and results to a project. 
  4. When a milestone is achieved, appreciate the efforts of everyone involved. This can go a long way for members to complete the tasks on time, with high quality.

Qualified Project Managers 

Project management is one of those roles that anyone cannot do and requires the skills to control budget, hire team members, manage client relationships and processes, and the bottom line of your business operations. 

It’s an important role, but most applicants don’t have more than a resume to show their experience. 

No matter how nerve-wracking it is, finding a great project manager is different between meeting deadlines, budget, and other requirements and not fulfilling the expectations. 

Follow these tips to hire a project manager who will drive your organization forward: 

  1. Determine what this role means to your enterprise and what experience your potential candidate will bring to the table. 
  2. Define the skills your project manager must possess. These include communicating effectively, prioritizing the tasks at hand, identifying and managing risks, providing helpful feedback, and so on. Also, assess the ability of the candidate to remain calm at the time of crisis. 
  3. Sell your brand to ideal candidates. What makes you a great place to work? Will your company help them to grow their career as a project manager? What opportunities will they receive to improve themselves? 

Conclusion

As your company grows, it gets challenging to manage every project without any inconsistency. Moving to enterprise project management is a huge step, but it can streamline your project management across different departments in the long run. Further, it focuses on highlighting its mission and objective and providing valuable insights to make effective decisions.

In a nutshell, when it comes to EPMO, proper preparation is the key—from the tools you use to the methodology you choose and how you align goals. And, if you are struggling with implementing EPM in your organization, take advantage of top EPM software for more effective project planning and management.