Your role in this case study for the assignment is that of the new Senior Project Officer overseeing all project management activities at Engineering Consultancy Ltd (ECL). You are reporting directly to the Managing Director.
ECL is a leading company delivering projects and consultancy in the field of engineering and infrastructure. Customers are both from the public and private sector. It is located in the capital and has a proven history of successful projects for international customers. It was founded in 1980 and today, it employs 250 people.
Two years ago, representatives of investors on the board of directors of ECL had required that the company demonstrates how it is managing and improving its project processes. As a response, several ideas were explored and a budget made available to implement project process management at ECL. However, these activities have not led to any improvements or successes that could be presented to investors.
Therefore, ECL has decided to advertise the position of Senior Project Officer for which you were headhunted. In preparation for the next meeting with key shareholders, the Managing Director found in the literature the following quote: “Many organisations, particularly from sectors that run large-scale projects, use project offices to assist in all aspects of the management of project work” (Maylor, 2010:63). Accordingly, the Managing Director wants you to write a study focusing on the introduction of a Project Management Office (PMO) at ECL.
This report is expected to serve as an input for the discussions at the board of directors. In the meantime, this has become a critical issue as several customers of the company have also required documentation about sustainable process and resource management at ECL. The Managing Director has made it clear that your report is of strategic importance both for the company’s market position and also for some of its customers, and which should not fall into the hands of competitors.
For ECL, the stated objectives of your report are:
• Identify all relationships between project process management and a project management office (PMO);
• Contact all project managers of ECL about how the PMO can help to improve projects;
• Provide evidence (e.g. through secondary data collection from the literature on Project management) about the effectiveness of PMOs;
• Explain how the interaction between project management, project portfolio management and strategic programme management can lead to better and more sustainable process and resource management at ECL; and
• Organise meetings with customers of ECL to understand how a PMO can support their projects.
A significant IT solution was discussed to be an essential component as part of the PMO in case you can demonstrate that it supports the objectives listed above.
Although your report is time critical, a 4 month period is given to prepare, before presenting in front of the board of directors of ECL. Please consider progress meetings or other milestones as part of your time planning.
A total project budget of £147,000 is considered appropriate and sufficient by the Finance Director. This sum is intended to cover all costs to finish your report including all consultant and travel costs, and new hardware and software for the project planning software solution.
The budget includes all costs for contacting and meeting customers of ECL at your discretion.
The only costs this budget would not cover would be the salaries of any ECL project managers seconded full or part-time to support you. They would draw their salaries exactly as usual.
Personnel allocated for your study are: two secretaries with a salary at £ 3,250 p.c.m. (per current month), and two consultants at £ 300 per hour or 2,400 per day.
The implementation of the Project Management Office (PMO)
Work for your PMO report should start immediately. Please elaborate on the following issues as preparation for the future implementation of the PMO at ECL:
Requirements Analysis which needs to be discussed with project managers and should take no more than 20 working days. This should include information about current projects, staff project experience, and current project process management.
This should be followed by Detailed Analysis of the Effectiveness of the PMO (5 days) and Improvement of Project Processes (15 days) – these activities can run at the same time and can run roughly in parallel. As soon as Detailed Description of the PMO is complete you could start Selection of Project Planning Software solution (30 days).
Computing Centre Review should run for 10 days and can be done in parallel.
Depending on your requirements for the PMO, you can create up to 10 more activities and/or milestones supporting the creation of a PMO.
Presentation of final PMO report is a final milestone.
Please check for public holidays during the project duration.
When asked about who works on what tasks the following information was handed over to you (the letters in brackets stand for: S1 and S2 = Secretaries, C1 and C2 = Consultants). Please note that these are only suggestions. As Senior Project Officer you can adapt this as necessary:
Requirements Analysis (no more than 20 working days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1) Detailed Analysis of the Effectiveness of the PMO (5 days) (SPO, C1, C2) Improvement of Project Processes (15 days) (SPO, C1, C2)
Detailed Description of the PMO (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
Selection of Project Planning Software solution (30 days) (SPO, C1, C2) Computing Centre Review (SPO, C1, C2)
Draft of PMO report (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
Discussion of report with Managing Director (SPO, C1, C2) Writing of final PMO report (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2) Presentation of final PMO report (SPO, C1, C2)
In the role of the Senior Project Officer you are required to develop a report (including academic references), structured along the following lines:
Part A – General overview (60%) – approx. 2,500 words
Critically evaluate the relationships between a project management office (PMO) and project process management. What steps can be taken to improve the overall performance of project process management at ECL? What are the key weaknesses roles of a PMO? What are the key measures and tactics to implement a PMO?
Part B – Project Planning (20%) – Gantt Chart report (added explanations approx. 250 words)
Given the importance of your report, develop a one-page project plan in Gantt chart form (as if the project had not commenced) for the 4 month duration. The chart should clearly indicate the critical tasks and the planned end date but ignore progress and resources at this point. Include the Gantt chart as appendix Part B.1.
Suggest any tactical options to reduce the project duration to 3 months.
Update your planning and include a second updated Gantt chart as Appendix Part B.2.
Part C – Budget creation (20%) – Excel report and approx. 250 words of added explanation
According to below part C is progress management and budget creation part D
Assuming that the project will run perfectly to the schedule outlined by you in Part B.1 with all contract personnel working as defined on the tasks indicated, generate an overall budget planning for your report. Include the 2 secretaries and 2 consultants, accommodation costs at £650 per week inclusive, your own salary at £ 5,250 p.c.m. (per current month), all new PC hardware (total fixed cost: £35,000) and project planning software (total fixed cost: £27,000), and total miscellaneous fixed costs of £25,000. Create budget positions for meetings, travel costs and other activities at your discretion within the overall budget limit. Show all calculations and totals via suitable report formats. Include as Appendix C.1.
The agreed total project budget for your report is £147,000. When you discuss this budget on your first day with the Finance Director, he asks that you prepare an alternative where total costs are only £117,000. Show all calculations and totals via suitable report formats, and include as Appendix C.2.
Part A – General overview (60%) – approx. 1,800 words
Part B – Project Planning (10%)
Part C – Progress Management (10%)
Part D – Budget creation (10%)
Part E – Budget management (10%)
The written element of the report relating to part A should be approximately 2,500 words in length.
Explanatory notes supporting the creation of information using MS Project (Parts B and C) should be approximately 500 words in length.