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Methodologies & Frameworks
What Is An Enterprise Project Management Framework?

As organizations grow and projects become more complex, enterprise project management can be critical in achieving strategic objectives. The right enterprise project management framework can elevate project management from a siloed, task-based effort to an enterprise-wide system that can provide needed structure but retain agility as needed.

In this article

Elements Of An Enterprise Project Management Framework

Once you understand the basic elements of an enterprise project management framework, you can create a system for your organization that can ensure project success via a consistent organizational project management process.

What is an enterprise project management framework?

First, let’s define what exactly a project management framework is. On a basic level, a project management framework is any set of procedures, processes, or systems used to successfully complete a project.

Any rudimentary system that tracks a project is technically a framework. An outline of tasks on a napkin can be considered a project management framework. But the best project management frameworks typically become codified, formalized, and standardized.

A variety of project management techniques, frameworks, and methodologies are available, including waterfall methodology, critical chain project management methodology, agile methodology (including kanban and scrum frameworks), lean methodology, and projects in controlled environments (PRINCE2) methodology.

Note: some distinguish between a framework, which would be considered more flexible, fluid, and malleable, and a methodology, which provides a rigid, often top-down structure. Under these definitions, agile is a framework and PRINCE2 is a methodology, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

Now, what is an enterprise project management framework? It is basically a project management framework (or methodology) that is expanded for enterprise-level needs. Enterprise project management typically involves managing multiple, often simultaneous projects within a company. The goal with an enterprise project management framework is to standardize processes and streamline project management across the organization.

The elements of an enterprise project management framework often include additional elements such as project portfolio management that aren’t needed in simple project management.

Why is a project management framework important?

The right project management framework provides a structure for the project team to successfully work on projects without having to reinvent the wheel each time. With enterprise project management, additional structure might be incorporated to support needs such as change management, portfolio management, and governance.

What should an effective project management framework include?

An effective project management framework should cover every aspect of the project life cycle, from the initial business case to project controls to launch. The specific elements of your organization’s enterprise project management system will depend on your needs and the underlying methodology chosen.

Different organizations will have different needs, obviously. A company that is working on developing enterprise architecture for business may need to have a special enterprise architect role and workflow, whereas a start-up creating consumer-based apps may have a need for a scaled agile framework.

In particular, complex projects such as enterprise architecture development may need a framework that provides a bit more of a structured methodology.

Agile frameworks, for example, are usually great for software development and smaller projects that require flexibility and speed. For very large, enterprise-level projects, PRINCE2 may be more appropriate. You might want to include business intelligence tools for projects that could benefit from data analysis.

Your organization may need to utilize different types of methodologies and frameworks depending on the department and types of projects. But even then, consistent values and overall goals in project management could potentially be implemented across the organization to create cohesion.

Implementing a framework for enterprise project management

Once the basic framework, such as an agile project management framework, has been chosen, it will be time to implement the new framework for enterprise project management.

How can you develop a process for implementing a framework for enterprise project management at your company?

During any sort of corporate culture change, you’ll need to implement practical aspects (such as workflow management) and communicate values and vision. Setting the vision first can help with the process.

For example, if you want to use extreme programming as a project management framework, you might focus on simplicity, streamlined communication, constructive feedback, mutual respect, and courage.

How do you prepare your employees to implement a framework for enterprise project management?

Clear communication is essential in implementing a framework for enterprise project management. Ultimately, your employees will also be committed to facilitating project success because no one likes to constantly work on struggling, failing projects. So transitioning to a new enterprise project management framework should be well received.

However, much of the employee reception will depend on how day-to-day tasks and ongoing workflows are established. For example, you might need to implement project management software. Training your team on the software can often be the difference between easy adoption versus frustration.

Who should be in charge of implementing a framework for enterprise project management at your company?

If your organization already has an existing project management office (PMO), then it’s likely in charge of establishing project management methodology. But many organizations don’t have a formal PMO.

And even so, it’s often a good idea to include project teams in developing enterprise project management systems. This is especially true if you are leveraging agile principles for project management because agile methodology is all about working collaboratively.

Bringing your project management to an enterprise-level

Elevating your project management to an enterprise-level can be helpful for businesses of all sizes. Even small businesses and start-ups can benefit greatly from an enterprise approach to project management if multiple projects are the norm.

In transitioning from basic project management to enterprise project management, look to create standardized yet flexible project execution guidelines that can work across the organization.

What are some common features in project management frameworks that can elevate project management to an enterprise-level?

In addition to the common steps in project management—such as initial project planning, milestone setting, and project road maps—enterprise project management might incorporate additional processes and workflows.

These additional project workflows might include risk analysis, structured or standardized estimating, project reviews, coaching for project managers and teams, granular time accounting, robust issue management, and change management.

What are the benefits of bringing your project management to an enterprise-level?

When an organization is dealing with project implementation across an enterprise or with a portfolio of projects, having additional structure and controls can save time and money.

This doesn’t mean that projects must be run the same way or in a rigid manner. For example, with agile project management, projects are intended to be highly flexible and modular. An enterprise project management framework might provide a little more structure on top of the basic agile framework, which still allows for creativity while providing some better controls and consistency.

How does project management software help you bring your project management to an enterprise-level?

Utilizing the right software for enterprise project management can take your project management to a whole new level. Good project management software makes it easy for a PMO to oversee multiple ongoing projects and project portfolios. But even for a single complex project, enterprise project management software is one project management tool you should not live without.

Enterprise project management software can handle all sorts of project controls, tracking, and resource allocation. It can help better enable task management and milestone planning. It can automate routine tasks.

Lots of different software are available. For example, you can find project management software for start-ups. Start-ups have special needs due to shifting roles, changing products, and team members wearing multiple hats. Flexibility and speed are key for start-ups while large Fortune 500 companies probably prefer using software that focuses on advanced features in areas such as risk management, project controls, and business intelligence.

Learn more about the different tools that enterprise organizations use here.

Getting started with an enterprise project management framework

There is much more to learn about this growing area of project management. If your organization is running multiple, large-scale (or even small-scale) projects on an ongoing basis, an enterprise approach to project management may be the boost you need to get to the next level.

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By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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