Terence O'Donnell, Project Management Director discusses the challenges of applying effective project management to corporate/non-profit collaboration. Terence provides a critical perspective on the application of traditional corporate project management methodologies to non-profit initiatives.
"Effective Project Management is essential for projects executed in either the corporate or voluntary sectors. However the challenges to the successful execution of projects are also linked to the cultural and organization dynamics that pertain in the project environment, within which the project is managed.
Projects have a specified beginning, with a product or deliverable as an end, unlike operations (business or nonprofit), which are ongoing. Typical projects in several Corporate/Non-profit collaboration include;
- Delivering an Cloud based Educational platform for training business skills across the Globe
- A collaboration between a University and the local community to improve IT literacy in a socially deprived inner city area
- Provision of an NGO shared cloud solution
- Improving the turn-around time for delivering test results from national laboratories to rural health clinics
Once the agreed project outputs are delivered as per the project charter and progressively elaborated in a project plan, then the initiative is deemed completed and the project closed (hopefully successfully). Initiatives such as setting up a business skills network in developing countries. Once established, however, there is now an expectation that this ‘program’ will go on indefinitely - this requires an operational governance model to ensure that efficiencies can be leveraged linked to an annual budget along with operational key performance indicators (KPIs).
Appropriate governance models need to be applied to the project and operational phases and there are now established standards and best practices which the corporate sector have largely embraced and applied to the project portfolio. Are these project governance models effective when applied to the non-profit sector and is there a set of competencies that project managers need to have when managing projects in the non-profit sector?
Several of our projects were designed and delivered in collaboration between our clients and a number of non-profit and voluntary organisations. Experienced project managers and project consultants “volunteered” to manage these initiatives and following their tenure were asked the following questions:
1. What are best practices for implementing projects in the Enterprise and when collaborating with the Non-profit sector
2. What are the key differences between implementing projects in the corporate sector and when collaborating with the non-profit sector?
3. What are the competencies needed by project manager’s when implementing projects in such collaborations and how do they differ from the “corporate world”?"
For the answers to these questions contact I.T. Alliance to request your full copy of this paper.