Metropolitan Canadian Municipal Office Case Study

Customize and Implement Critical PPM Components

The SITUATION

The project management environment in the municipal office had been static for approximately 20 years. In the meanwhile the environment had grown significantly in size and complexity – e.g., the number of priority projects grew exponentially from 5 to 55 in Information Technology alone. Enterprise-wide information was not available to monitor and oversee which projects were being executed and why.
Also, there was no consistency with how projects were being managed. Each department were following a multitude of processes inconsistently. Thus, the limited resources available were not being utilized most effectively or efficiently. The Leadership Team recognized the critical need for:
  • Improved selection and prioritization process of project initiatives to ensure strong alignment with Strategic objectives
  • A consistent more disciplined governance of project initiatives in flight Watershed CI was engaged to develop a combined integrated process for project prioritization and selection and once activated, a more disciplined process of project governance.

The CHALLENGE

Any process developed for the City would need to:
  • Be consistently applied Enterprise-wide but allow for flexibility to accommodate the unique needs of each department
  • Strike the right balance between ensuring the appropriate level of governance and avoiding the burden of unnecessary oversight
  • Ensure decision-making accountability is placed at the right authority levels within the organization
  • As much as possible, accommodate and/or adjust existing governance processes and forums e.g., the City’s recently introduced annual Business Planning Process
  • Be flexible and scalable to match varying sizes and types of projects
Though there was recognition of the criticality of introducing these processes at the Senior Leadership level, it would involve a significant departure from current practice both for the project practitioners and Councilors who were the de-facto decision-making body.
This would require significant Change Management effort including:
  • Clear demonstrated value resulting from this change
  • Careful consideration of cultural shift within the City

The APPROACH

Based on the City’s requirements, an integrated process was designed between Project Portfolio Management (PPM) framework and Project Gating Framework. PPM would introduce the methodology for project submission, classification, screening and prioritization. Once approved and prioritized, projects were ‘registered’ and specific activation and gating processes would be initiated. This customized combined framework would address the key requirements of project selection and governance.
Given the magnitude of change envisioned, the approach was to select two diverse partner organizations (Information Technology and Land Use) as the pilot areas. By addressing very different needs of these two organizations, it was expected that with minor modification, the model/framework would be able to address needs of the Enterprise.

The RESULT

We chose to follow a collaborative process between the City’s Project Management Support Office (PMSO) and selected members of the two departments to design/define the desired state processes. These three groups formed the Design Team. Weekly facilitated workshops were conducted. Watershed CI’s consultant provided the ‘best practices’ starting point and through facilitated meetings with the workshop participants, requirements for departmental customization were determined. Each process and framework component was drafted and reviewed. A baseline was developed that applied to all projects and departments and where appropriate flexibility was built in to allow departmental variations without compromising the intent of the assignment.
We engaged with the Design Team to build a customized framework that would accommodate the diverse needs of the pilot organizations. We successfully transitioned the work to the internal team, with the plan to pilot. Based on the pilot, the internal team would adjust based on feedback and outcomes, and subsequently roll out enterprise-wide.

Why Watershed CI?

As experts in the field of Change Integration™, we recognize that one size does not fit all. Each client comes with distinctive needs, culture, level of maturity and tolerance for complexity. We weigh these factors when selecting the appropriate solution – this ensures the suite of deliverables achieve high-quality, customized results.
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