What is Enterprise Project Management?

Project management expert Mike Gorsage estimates that the use of enterprise project management can reduce the cost of a project by 10-20%. Given this potential, businesses should understand what enterprise project management is and whether they should be making use of it.

From Project Management to Enterprise Project Management

Enterprise project management is all about adaptability and balancing interdependent elements. As businesses and their projects have grown more complex, project management has also evolved in order to meet their needs. The term “project management” no longer solely refers to the relatively simple matter of directing a team of workers through a single project from initiation to completion. Projects usually do not exist in a vacuum, without affecting or being effected by the business’s other operations. Rather, projects have an impact across the entire enterprise. It therefore behooves a successfully run business to take this impact into account and ensure that it is managed just as thoroughly as the daily operations of the project itself.

Enterprise project management, or EPM for short, has given rise to the concept of a project portfolio, a set of interrelated projects that are either planned or are currently underway. Project portfolio management is central to enterprise project management. Just as each project has a manager whose job is to keep that project on schedule and within budget, the portfolio as a whole is overseen by a project portfolio manager. His or her task is to continually evaluate whether the projects are working together to reach the business’s overall objective. Because of changing circumstances, such as reduced resources or an altered strategy, it is possible that a portfolio manager will cancel a project even if that project, considered only in isolation, is operating smoothly. Without EPM, the need to do this would likely go undetected.

Because EPM deals with multiple projects and considers many outside factors, it is exponentially more complicated than traditional project management. A number of software tools have been developed to help businesses handle this situation.

The Advantages of Enterprise Project Management

Gorsage compares enterprise project management to the well-worn adage “measure twice, cut once.” Businesses that do not employ EPM, he tells us, are “often poorly executed,” and they frequently end up “missing deadlines or budgetary requirements.” On the other hand, a business that does use EPM safeguards itself against these risks, noticeably increasing efficiency and decreasing costs.

Not all businesses will have to implement enterprise project management. The simpler operations are, the more acceptable it is to use more traditional approaches. However, for those businesses that do handle multiple interconnected projects at once, failure to make use of the ideas behind EPM will mean a bloated, inefficient structure, lost revenue, and inability to keep up with the competition.