Using project management to realise organisational capability

Strategic success is enabled by organisational capabilities, which can be created through organisational project management, says Hannes van den Berg, MD of ProjectLink.

Johannesburg, 27 Feb 2019
Read time 3min 00sec
Hannes van den Berg, Managing Director of ProjectLink.
Hannes van den Berg, Managing Director of ProjectLink.

For a company to be successful in the current dynamic business environment, it requires a well-developed organisational strategy and the ability to implement it. As some may know, organisational strategy is implemented through organisational project management. However, many organisations are unable to turn their strategies into business benefits. Hannes van den Berg, Managing Director of ProjectLink, states: "One of the main findings that we continuously uncover is the misalignment between the projects being executed and the organisations' strategy."

Adds Van den Berg: "The organisational strategy is not the problem, nor the supporting objectives, nor the ability to translate these objectives into programmes and projects. What is lacking, is the organisation's capability to implement and successfully execute these programmes and projects in order to implement strategy."

Organisational capabilities can be defined as abilities of the organisation that provide a competitive advantage against competitors, as well as enabling the company to grow, adapt and operate day-to-day operations.

"When organisational capabilities are absent, weak or otherwise compromised, strategy execution invariably falters, therefore business benefits cannot be achieved. When an organisation doesn't know what their organisational capabilities are, their strategy will mean nothing as they will have lost sight of their purpose," says Van den Berg.

Strategic success is enabled by organisational capabilities, which can be created through organisational project management (OPM). The Project Management Institute defines OPM as "a strategy execution framework that utilises portfolio, programme and project management, as well as organisational-enabling practices, to consistently and predictably deliver organisational strategy to produce better performance, better results and a sustainable competitive advantage."

Organisations don't realise that as part of their organisational capability they need to be able to execute projects. It doesn't help that you have a sound strategy and that you are selecting the right projects, but you don't have the capability to execute those projects and reap the benefits. If you don't have the adequate structures to enable project management, a scalable OPM methodology, competent people to manage projects or the organisational culture to execute projects, then you also won't be successful. Those are some of the organisational enablers in OPM.

For OPM to be successful, organisational enablers need to be established and embedded; this is aligned to, and forms the basis for, the organisational capabilities.

To implement OPM in an organisation there are four core enabling processes:

1. Strategic alignment;
2. Governance;
3. Competency management; and
4. OPM methodology

Each of the core enabling processes contain the organisational enablers that will embed the organisational capabilities of the organisation. Thus, by ensuring that the organisational enablers are in place, organisations should be able to implement their organisational strategy successfully and ensure business benefit realisation.

In conclusion, how does an organisation build organisational capability? Van den Berg's advice is to get an expert in, someone who has a good understanding of organisational project management to ensure that the organisational project management and organisation enablers are put in place. It is something that does not happen overnight. You need to change the culture of the organisation if you want to implement organisational enablers, you need to have a phased approached in terms of putting certain things in place, thus building the organisational project management maturity over time.

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ProjectLink Sianne Carter (012) 660 0010