Global Mining Company
Restructuring resource capability pools and project demand for maximum value
The IM division of a global mining company faced eroding value from its project investment and ongoing problematic quality from its project delivery. The project environment ran an impressive $3 billion of in-flight projects with 15 major programs making up 75% of the investment. There was no clear line of project demand, ranging from individual project managers undertaking unapproved project work and executives making project investment decisions without an holistic view of the organisation’s investment plan.
In addition, the client was considering outsourcing its entire project capability to improve project execution outcomes and better value (benefit) realisation. However, business lines argued that this costly option removed their direct access to project capability and were doubtful that one outsourcing company had the sophistication and bandwidth to manage the entire portfolio of projects.
As far as the business was concerned, the entire project demand process appeared woefully inefficient. The project environment appeared to be poor value for money and far from transparent.
In the first phase of the work, PPM Global used the PPM Health Check Accelerator™ to understand the performance of the IT project environment. It found that project demand originated from a number of sources and its interaction with the business was cumbersome. Just over 45% of time was spent on high-value projects with resources deployed at the project manager’s discretion. The situation was unsustainable and damaging the project environment’s ability to operate in the best interest of the business. Given the scarcity of skilled project resources in this city, it was clear that the just-in-time resource procurement approach was doomed.
Discovery revealed just three unique project environment dysfunctions, mostly to do with how the project environment was structured:
As part of the transformation, PPM Global worked with the IT project managers to agree to a project environment structure and resource model. This best-practice approach established capability pools within IT from which structured project demand could draw. This meant that the project environment drew on resource pools that were not embedded in projects which led to optimum resource utilisation. This was a major shift in how scarce, highly skilled IT capacity was used.
A lean, highly prescribed Project Initiation process was introduced, enabling controlled, best-practice demand configuration across the entire enterprise. The business clarified ownership of any given request and was used to check on estimated time to complete vs. time taken.
As with all lean transformations, these process improvements alone were not sufficient.
Applying our proprietary PPM Architecture (PPMA) approach, we helped the miner align the PPM environment with operations and IT. In the PPMA approach, we first defined all PPM capabilities. We then categorised these capabilities in two different dimensions: how specific they are to the business and how much business value do they help to create.
To foster a culture of continuous improvement, project managers and IT executives were trained to see themselves as coaches.
- Demand Management
- Resource Management
- Value Management
- PPM Architecture
- PPM Reporting
- PPM Target Operating Model
- PPM Health Check Accelerator™
By implementing a structured Project Initiation process, demand came under the control of the EPMO. Overall, the IT project environment delivered a 30% decrease in resource capacity in 12 months and executed 20% more projects than the previous year. The new Project Initiation processes and centralisation of resources using the EPMO freed significant resources to work on higher value projects. Almost half of the time saved came from standardising IT capability pools and sharing best practices. The rest came from better planning, better use of management time and other adjustments to the entire Project environment.
Critically, and a major factor in getting buy-in for a second phase of the transformation, the entire IT environment was re-structured into discrete capability pools that reflected business needs rather than IT capability.
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