Project Delivery Through Effective Project Portfolio Management

PROJECT BACKGROUND

A global consumer health products company was in need of a Quality Portfolio Manager to lead one of three manufacturing project portfolios. The portfolio included technical operations and quality assurance projects as well as a set of compliance projects that were initiated to address 483 observations made by the FDA. In total, the portfolio consisted of 10 strategic area workstreams and 22 projects with 50 key deliverables.

IPM was engaged to assume the role of the Quality Portfolio Manager to accelerate project delivery, improve team communication and effectiveness, and increase alignment with senior management.

Before IPM joined the Quality team to oversee the portfolio, projects within the functional areas were falling behind schedule and weren’t meeting critical milestones. Instead of making senior management aware of issues, project leads reported projects “on track” and did not reveal their true status until failure was inevitable.

In addition, high employee turnover resulted in inconsistent reporting across all projects and often led to confusion about  project approach, scope, and deliverables.

IPM’S SOLUTION

IPM set out to create an entirely new set of expectations with team members and team leaders that was aligned with senior management’s need for accurate and timely information. By working hands on within the project groups – attending team meetings, asking pointed questions, and challenging the team to evaluate their current practices, IPM identified the true status of each project in the portfolio and recognized the issues that senior management needed to address.

After an assessment of the team’s communication methods revealed their inadequacy, IPM devised a new approach designed to transparently communicate project status, raise issues and present alternative solutions, apply lessons learned, and engage senior management. IPM created a universal set of communication tools and restructured management meetings for increased efficiency and effectiveness.

PROJECT RESULTS

IPM took command and control of the portfolio and:

Improved portfolio alignment. IPM ensured that all projects were prioritized and aligned with the company’s internal quality standards, FDA regulations, and the strategic direction of the greater organization, all of which were imperative to the overall health of the organization.

Increased project momentum. With IPM’s support and mentoring, the project leaders and managers modified their project plans to better monitor project status, ran more effective team meetings, and were motivated to deliver their projects on time.

Mitigated project risk. IPM ensured that project leads proactively reported risks and issues, and in turn, relayed this information to senior management with proposed mitigation plans and specific requests for approval. The company experienced a cultural shift; increased transparency and risk mitigation became an integral part of every management meeting.

Optimized communication. By transparently communicating project milestones, progress, and successes and failures, senior management was able to make more informed decisions. IPM’s sustainable communication tools became a reporting standard across all three site portfolios.