Project Assistants’ Case Studies

Comprehensive Project Management Assessment Helps Food Industry Leader Improve Project Management Processes Across the Organization

Situation

Del Monte Foods is a worldwide market leader in the food industry. The company, with an annual revenue of more than 3 billion dollars, employs approximately 17,600 people in 17 production facilities around the world and in 18 strategically located distribution centers in North America.

Located in Pittsburgh, PA, the Del Monte IT Division manages the company’s technology platform, supporting worldwide operations. Like most IT departments in global companies, Del Monte IT Division encountered problems successfully delivering IT projects and was seeking direction on how to develop an effective project management environment across the enterprise.

Solution

Project Assistants’ senior project management consultants first assessed and evaluated the state of Del Monte IT Division’s enterprise project management environment in order to establish a baseline or “known state”. Based on the results of this assessment, the Project Assistants team provided recommendations on how to improve the “known state” and reach the envisioned enterprise project management environment. Finally, Project Assistants’ consultants drafted a detailed Tactical Plan for the implementation of the suggested changes.

Enterprise Project Management Assessment

Project Assistants assessed the key components of Del Monte’s current project management environment by applying the Project Assistants Project Management Maturity Model. This model, which identifies the stages of an organization’s journey to improved project management, is similar to the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM) which was designed to be used for maintaining software engineering best practices.

Based on the above mentioned model, seven key competencies were evaluated to rate Del Monte’s existing project management capabilities and maturity level:

  • Knowledge Management
  • Process Standards, Methods and Procedures
  • Technologies
  • Decision Support
  • Portfolio & Resource Management
  • Professional Development
  • Continuous Process Improvement

For each of the seven Project Management competencies, a score was assigned from a judgment-based scoring system, based on a qualitative assessment. Through the assessment process, the Project Assistants team identified the following key issues:

  1. Project management related standards were being developed by some groups within the enterprise, but these standards had not been institutionalized.
  2. There was a lack of visibility at the project level as well as at the program level in the following Project Management areas:
    • Strategic Planning (long term as well as short term)
    • Resources Management
    • Prioritization (project level as well as task level)
    • Project Performance
    • Project Information
  3. Problems seemed to be caused by the lack of formal procedures and policies rather than by people issues.
  4. There was no Project Management Office (PMO) group in charge of developing centralized and standardized Project Management policies as well as enforcing their application across the organization.
  5. There was a lack of definition of the Project Manager role (power vs. authority issues).
  6. There was a lack of Project Management training.
  7. There was a lack of techniques and tools for scope definition and for estimating.
  8. There was no evidence of monitoring, tracking and reporting on project progress across the enterprise.
  9. There was a lack of tools and techniques for gathering, sharing, and utilizing project related information to support the strategic decision making process.
  10. The Project Management environment was “reactive” rather than “proactive”. Projects were generated mostly by stakeholders’ demand rather than as planned strategic choices.

Suggestions and Recommendations

To reach the envisioned enterprise project management environment, the following suggestions and recommendations were proposed to the Del Monte team:

  • Implement a focused Project Management discipline to promote the role of the Project Manager.
  • Provide training, coaching and mentoring, each of which is vital to improving performance and ensuring accuracy of project methodology implementation.
  • Define, develop and/or enhance existing Del Monte Project Management methodologies, procedures and templates.
  • Assure that consistent Project Management methodologies, processes, and templates are applied across the organization by developing a Project Management revision system (weekly/monthly Critical Threat Review – CTR).
  • Develop and provide a Resource Management Plan, PM/PMO infrastructure, and executive support that assist enforces responsibility, ownership, and timely deployment of the Project Management Maturity Methodology.
  • Implement an EPM solution that will meet Del Monte’s planning, monitoring, tracking and reporting requirements.
  • Implement a phased approach to solve the Project Management problems.

Tactical Plan

The Project Assistants team proposed a phased approach to implementing the necessary changes. As a result, the Tactical Plan was divided into two major phases, addressing short and long term needs. In the short term, resource management, visibility and integration problems could be solved by enhancing existing “in-house” tools through an “ad-hoc” Microsoft Project-based solution. In the long term, Del Monte needed to invest in a more extensive and comprehensive initiative aimed at establishing an enterprise project management methodology and thereby improving its Project Management Maturity level.

The Project Assistants team also developed a detailed implementation project plan which provided information on resources, schedule, tasks dependencies, etc. Following are the major tasks of the plan:

  • Develop detailed implementation
  • Configure and install Project Server
  • Develop an initial Microsoft Project technology solution
  • Define and develop the enterprise project management methodology
  • Support the implementation of the enterprise project management methodology.
  • Training
  • Communication plan

Benefits

Del Monte IT Division greatly benefited from the Project Management expertise and the external, objective perspective of the Project Assistants team. The Del Monte team effectively identified known and unknown problems and clearly understood the current state of Project Management maturity compared to its actual need for Project Management.

As a result, the Del Monte team realized the need for more structural changes in the enterprise project management environment – within the IT division and across the entire enterprise – to improve overall Del Monte Food operational efficiency.

Project Assistants, Inc.

Project Assistants offers a comprehensive suite of consulting services, custom development, education and products to assist organizations at any point of their project management evolution. Project Assistants clients increase their ability to manage risk, maximize ROI, effectively manage change, and increase confidence in making decisions. Project Assistants is based in Wilmington, Delaware and has offices nationwide. To learn more about Project Assistants, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Microsoft Office Project Premier Partner, please visit www.projectassistants.com.