Information Technology Services (ITS) Oman provides IT-based projects, predominantly around hardware and software services, to Oman's Ministry of Defence. It is part of the government and its client base is the Omani military, across Army, Navy and Air Force. It has over 100 employees, ranging from Senior Ranking Officers, to project managers and administrative staff.
ITS found that its clients were sceptical about its ability to deliver what they wanted, when they wanted. Internally, there were problems with how projects were run, with employees relying on constant guidance and supervision from Board level managers. This was an inefficient use of resources and helped cause the delays that led to project over-runs. In addition, there was no commonly agreed acceptance of what constituted a "project" and few employees were trained in project management. Clients would just phone ITS to state their requirements, so there were few formal records. As a consequence, there was little consistency in how projects were run and overseen and employees lacked confidence in their own abilities.
ITS Oman met with ILX Consulting to discuss whether a PRINCE2 training programme could help to improve results. During that meeting it became clear that more holistic change was needed at ITS, so ILX Consulting was engaged on a consulting basis to undertake a full business and project review. The analysis was based upon a series of structured interviews at different levels within the organisation and ITS's performance was measured against the Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model as also known as P3M3. P3M3 is an internationally recognised framework that organisations can use to assess and improve on their current performance and put in place improvement plans and ILX was able to conduct this analysis because its consultant was fully certified in P3M3.
ILX used an over-arching objective of achieving P3M3 (PjM3) accreditation as the focus for its recommendations to ITS. What's more, ILX suggested that ITS use the PRINCE2 method to implement the planned changes so its staff would learn at first-hand how it helps programmes and projects be run more systematically and effectively. With ILX's help, ITS embedded a tailored version of PRINCE2 and a tailored governance programme that met ITS's needs as a military organisation.
ILX also helped ITS establish a formal Project Office, put in place a structure for project management and set out clear job responsibilities for all employees. A training programme was implemented to ensure employees had the skills and abilities to fulfil those responsibilities. ITS also engaged with its clients to get them to buy into the change and to help institute the use of SharePoint for all project-related documents, guides, flow diagrams and so on. A qualified ILX consultant was on site during the whole project, both to provide the necessary training and to constantly mentor and coach the people leading the change.
Within six months, ILX had facilitated an independent assessment from APMG and subsequently ITS Oman became the first organisation in the middle east to gain P3M3 accreditation. This was a massive affirmation of how far ITS had come and a huge confidence boost for ITS staff. To date, around 100 ITS employees have undertaken some form of training and/or mentoring, relative to their role in projects and in the organisation. People identified as project managers have been trained to foundation and practitioner levels in PRINCE2. Any member of staff who has not already completed a PRINCE2 foundation course has completed a "PRINCE2 in Reality" course instead, giving them an introduction into how the new methodology works.
ITS Oman employees make fewer errors and managers are better able to delegate, because ITS employees are more confident in their own abilities. The structures and processes have also improved communications within ITS, which previously had been impeded by perceptions around rank. Most importantly, clients now perceive ITS as a centre of excellence for project management across the whole Ministry of Defence. As a sign of that confidence and ambition, ILX has been retained with a view to helping ITS become the first organisation in Oman to gain ISO 20000 accreditation.
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