Eneco – Improving project management capabilities

Case Study: Assessing and Improving project management capabilities.

Client

Eneco is the largest Dutch energy company. Within Eneco a decision was made to use the Prince2™ methodology as a framework for their managing their business projects. As part of this program the project team organized a package of training offerings including Prince2™ Foundation and Practitioner level and awareness training for management, team leaders and coordinators.

Objectives

Eneco was convinced that the Attitude and Behavior aspects of Project Management were crucial for successful implementation. Eneco wanted people to learn that Prince2™ was more than templates, documents and project methods and structure. Therefore the objectives of this program were:

  • show the basic elements of Prince2™ and let students experience the added value
  • show the different roles within a Prince2 organization and the associated tasks and responsibilities
  • show the effects of a standardized way of working and the benefits for each individuals own work and the outcome of the project
  • create awareness of individual tasks and responsibilities in relation to the new way of working

Solution

As part of this training program they made use of the Project Management Business Simulation, the Challenge of Egypt.

The simulation was chosen as it helped participants translate project management theory into practice in a safe environment and it confronted people with their roles and responsibilities in relation to project success.

In total 118 team leaders and coordinators were invited for this training. During each session one of the project managers of the Prince2™ program presented a short introduction and background of the program, the program aims and the reason for the business simulation.

The facilitator explained the fundamentals of Prince2™ and related these to the Eneco organization. After each stage of the project (within the game) roles were changed to give all participants the feeling for another role. This enabled participants to understand dependencies and to understand the issues, tasks and responsibilities of the various project roles.

After each round there was discussion and reflection on the use of Prince2™ within the simulation and how this related to the roll-out of Prince2™ within Eneco, and the way in which projects were actually managed within Eneco. Questions to the project team were captured and written on one of the flip charts.

At the end of the day, one of the project members came by and took the time to discuss the questions on the flip chart.

Results

The key learning points at the end of each game were:

  • ‘We learnt how to use tolerances and how to manage by exception’;
  • ‘We recognized the need for accurate information and reporting to support management by exception’;
  • ‘We recognized the benefits of Project Assurance and miss this role in our organization, we should have this role’;
  • ‘We recognize the added value of Project Support in ensuring accurate and timely information is available to support decision making. We should spend more energy in the setup and facilitation of this unit’;
  • ‘We now learned how a Steering Committee should operate. They should be more active in helping the project to become successful’;
  • ‘We can see the effects of a more standardized way of working using Prince2 and the standard dictionary of keywords and processes’;
  • ‘We understood that Prince2™ doesn’t necessarily mean books of templates and procedures’;
  • ‘Some projects need more Prince2™ than others’.

At the end of the program Eneco evaluated the Value of the Simulation approach as part of a traditional training offering.

  • Enabled the project organization to capture and address concerns and concrete improvement actions relating to the deployment of Prince2™ within Eneco. This ensured a faster, smoother transition and lowered the costs of deployment.
  • Created buy-in and acceptance to Prince2™ and overcame initial skepticism and resistance.