Managing a single project can be a difficult feat.
Once an organization or team finds itself in a position to manage a whole portfolio of projects across a range of teams, departments, branches, and even countries—it’s a whole other ball game.
Enterprise project management has unique characteristics that require strategic thinking and use of software at a large scale. In this article, we will define enterprise project management, outline useful information about relevant software, and how to implement EPM in your company.
What is enterprise project management?
Enterprise project management (EPM) describes the practice of managing projects on an organization-wide scale.
It often involves the coordination of several complex projects at once. While the projects may not seem related, they all result in an impact on the same organization.
There are 7 elements of EPM:
- Risk analysis
- Structured estimating
- Project reviews
- Project management coaching
- Escalated issue management
- Time accounting
- Information system management
As you can see, some of these elements — like risk analysis and time accounting are similar to what’s required of project management. The key difference is that they play out on a larger scale.
These processes involve strong leadership and organization and may require the use of project management software to successfully manage. Let’s take a look at one of these leaders— the enterprise project manager.
What does an enterprise project manager do?
An enterprise project manager prevails over the various projects that are occurring in tandem across different departments. Their chief role is to ensure that these projects are meeting organizational expectations and goals.
Key skills of an enterprise project manager include prioritizing and highlighting an organization’s business goals and then managing and grouping projects according to this.
They also serve to manage dependencies between projects and prioritize certain projects over others without bias.
At some point certain projects will become no longer viable or will provide a lower return on investment than originally planned. If trade offs have to be made, it’s essential that management can tell which project to sacrifice for another to succeed.
This becomes especially important to monitor when poorly performing projects may be hindering the progression of others.
A key component of enterprise project management is identifying which projects may no longer be viable and ditching them in favor of more lucrative options.
What is enterprise project management software?
Enterprise project management software is essentially any tool that an enterprise PM might use that could help them with work management on a daily basis.
In many cases, enterprise project management software will be a fully-fledged project management tool that extends beyond single project management into portfolio management and multi-project assessment and reporting.
What are the features of enterprise project management software?
Effective enterprise project management software platforms offer a few defining features:
Project portfolio management
Portfolio management is a feature that is important to EPMs who are managing projects across a variety of business areas.
Portfolio-focused features allow PMs to analyze the potential return on projects, review costs and scope, and gain a big-picture on current or potential projects.
Management of global teams
It’s not unusual in today’s climate to manage a remote and distributed project team, or indeed, multiple teams.
Large enterprise companies need project management software that allows for the management of global teams, inspires team communication, and updates in real-time.
Traditional project management is, of course, often a collaborative effort, but enterprise project management takes this to the next level, requiring collaboration between multiple teams, business units, and often several project managers.
Enterprise project management software must not only enable this form of collaboration on projects, but it must make it easy.
Implementing enterprise project management
How do you go about actually implementing effective EPM? Here’s 6 essential steps:
Determine how EPM would be used
Though there are some facets to EPM that are the same across the board, every enterprise makes use of this business unit in a slightly different way,
Before jumping headfirst into EPM, you should ask yourself:
- What does the role entail? What is required of the person in charge of EPM on a daily basis (this may indeed be more than one role).
- What kind of resources are required? This includes personnel, as well as equipment, office space, and enterprise project management software.
- What are your long-term business objectives? And, most importantly, how does the implementation of EPM contribute toward them?
- What are your current business and PM processes? Consider how implemented EPM may affect these processes or be affected by them. In some cases, you may need to consider making some changes to processes.
Obtain stakeholder buy-in
Larger enterprises tend to have very specific processes for undertaking new investments, and this often requires obtaining the buy-in of specific stakeholders, executives, and/or board members.
Before approaching these stakeholders to obtain approval, ensure you can clearly communicate what the benefits to your business will be, as well as any expected returns on investment.
Determine who will take the reigns
Someone is going to need to be at the head of your EPM team, typically called the enterprise project manager or enterprise program director.
Depending on the scale of your operations, this might be an entirely new role (and thus require the typical HR hoops to jump through), or a role that an existing executive takes on.
In either case, consider job descriptions, resource management, and reporting lines for any roles under the EPM umbrella.
Embed a consistent project management methodology
In a large organization, you’ll be managing projects (and project managers) across a variety of business units.
To ensure consistency across the board, and to maximize the strategic execution of individual projects, you should implement a consistent project management methodology.
This is crucial to ensure that training across various teams remains consistent, and it allows the enterprise project manager to properly assess projects against each other and make decisions at a high-level relating to the profitability of each.
Common project management methodologies include:
Create a Project Support Office (PSO)
Your Project Support Office is a supporting unit to your enterprise PMO (project or program management office), and provides a variety of support functions to enterprise-wide project management.
These functions include:
- Project Identification: assessing the impact of a project on the company and defining the benefits of completing a given project.
- Project Definition: budgeting and planning, choosing an appropriate enterprise project management solution (or solutions).
- Project Execution: risk assessment, project analysis, status updates, and project communications.
- Project Audit: includes assessing the performance of a project, keeping training coming, and refine business operations where required.
Select the right tools for your company
When setting up an enterprise project management office, you’re going to need to put a fair bit of thought into the tools required.
Some basic EPM software to bring on board includes:
- Scheduler: you’ll need a tool for booking time with team members to meet. It’s wise to make these available for everyone on your team to view, keeping lines of communication open and transparent.
- Accounting system: project success is often defined based on return on investment, and as such, you’ll need a quality EPM system for tracking expenses and for reporting any spend back to senior management.
- Process management system: business processes often change, and it’s true that complex projects often require a number of specific processes to be followed by every team member. Process management tools help you to monitor, refine, and communicate each business process to project teams.
- Timesheet capture and time tracking: your EPM solution should also make it easy to track time spent on tasks and projects and for employees to log timesheets, giving your PMs strong visibility over resource utilization.
Enterprise project management made easily
Considering how complex EPM can get, it’s obvious that your enterprise project management tool chest can become quite full — and quite costly — fairly quickly.
To keep workflows simple — and costs low — you’re going to need more than a simple project management software. You’re going to need an enterprise-scale Work OS.
monday.com offers a wide variety of tools to nail enterprise project management, from the initial project plan right through to daily task management.
Here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
- Multiple project views including Gantt chart, Kanban board, Calendar, and Timeline
- Scalable team communications
- Enterprise-level data protection and administrative control
- Resource management capabilities
- Expense tracking
- Time tracking
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- Integrations with other popular enterprise tools like Jira and Salesforce
- Tailored onboarding to align with your strategic objectives
- Robust automation functions
Optimize your enterprise project management instantly
So, is it time to take the next step and plunge into enterprise project management?
Well, you’re going to need project management software that can keep up with the pace.
Check out our project roadmap template for monday.com and kickstart your EPM planning.