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NON-STANDARDISATION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES: A CASE STUDY OF ERICSSON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

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NON-STANDARDISATION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES: A CASE STUDY OF ERICSSON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

A Dissertation

by

Name

Student No.

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree

MASTER OF COMMERCE

in

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

at the

CRANEFIELD COLLEGE OF PROJECT AND PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT

Supervisor: Professor E. D. Schmikl

Date: 16 September 2011

DECLARATION OF COPYRIGHT

I hereby declare that this dissertation submitted for the degree Master of Commerce in Project Management at Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management is my own original unaided work that has not previously been submitted to any other institution or higher education establishment. I further declare that all sources cited or quoted are indicated and acknowledged by means of a comprehensive list of references.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Ericsson, for availing their facilities to enable me to conduct the research and to my supervisor, Prof. Schmikl, for his guidance and support.

ABSTRACT

Author: Ursula Smuts-Pillay

Degree: Master of Commerce in Project Management

Title: Non-standardisation of Project Management processes: A case study of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa

Institution: Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management

Department: Project Management

Name of Supervisor: Professor E D Schmikl

Date: 16 September 2011

Key Words: Non-standardisation; Project Management; processes; Project Offices; Ericsson; sub-Saharan Africa; telecommunications; Five Factor Model

Ericsson is one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies that supplies turnkey business solutions to multiple telecommunications operators. The livelihood of the organisation is formed by projects and project management practices, which is why all its employees strive towards achieving operational excellence in everything they do. All project activities are aligned by Project Offices with the organisation’s core values, namely professionalism, respect and perseverance. In our case study we closely considered four Projects Offices established within the market unit called Sub-Saharan Africa that vary in operational maturity, size and age. The first of them was established in South Africa in 2002 and the second one in Nigeria in 2003. Project Offices in Kenya and Senegal were set up in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The Nigerian and South African offices developed their own ways of work processes and procedures independently from one another.

Project Offices make use of a wide variety of project management models, procedures and processes. The majority of them were developed in-house, specific to the organisation in support of a particular project and business solutions, all of which are based on industry standards. The central function team was established in 2006 to serve as a change agent, which seemed to be the only constant in all Project Offices under consideration.

In order to identify where non-standardisation occurred, as well as its severity, descriptive case study research was applied with utilisation of methodological triangulation.

Non-standardisation areas were identified as:

  • Alignment and standardisation of Project Offices across the market unit as detailed in the following:
  • Organisational structures and reporting forums.
  • Process clarity and expectations needed more emphasis, especially in Nigeria.
  • Announcement of any changes in existing processes.
  • Hosting TG4 meetings and creating Project Specifications in the Nigerian Project Office.
  • Receiving Assignment Specifications from the pre-sales teams in the South African Project Office.
  • Needed more PMP® certified Project Managers.
  • Needed more Ericsson EPM and SPM certified Project Managers in the NRO and SI domains.
  • Formal handover from pre-sales to execution.
  • SOX key controls CC9.6.1.1, CC9.8.1.1.
  • Financial Analysis report.

Stakeholder’s buy in was essential for this type of change project, with specific focus on management buy-in and support. Effective leading of virtual teams by making use of the Central Functions team as change agents with a Manager driving the initiative was a key ingredient in this recipe of success.

LIST OF TABLES

Table 4.1: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the South African Project Office.
Table 4.2: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the Nigerian Project Office.
Table 4.3: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the market unit as a whole.
Table 4.4: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the South African Project Office.
Table 4.5: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the Nigerian Project Office.
Table 4.6: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the market unit as a whole.
Table 4.7: A representation of processes forming part of the audit criteria.
Table 4.8: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office without weights applied.
Table 4.9: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office without weights applied.
Table 4.10: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office with weights applied.
Table 4.11: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office with weights applied.
Table 4.12: A comparison between weighted and un-weighted scores for both Project Offices.
Table 4.13: SOX audit results for the Nigerian Project Office – count.
Table 4.14: SOX audit results for the Nigerian Project Office − percentage.
Table 4.15: SOX audit results for the South African Project Office − count.
Table 4.16: SOX audit results for the South African Project Office − percentage.
Table 4.17: Project Financial Analysis Reports – count.
Table 4.18: Project Financial Analysis Reports − percentage.

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1: PROPS-C Life Cycle Model.
Figure 2.2: PROPS-C and Sarbanes Oxley adherence model.
Figure 2.3: Organisational structure depicting the Project Offices in relation to the central functions team.
Figure 2.4: Project Office and Key Account Manager for one customer overlap.
Figure 4.1: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the South African Project Office.
Figure 4.2: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the Nigerian Project Office.
Figure 4.3: Section 1 – Project Office responses for the market unit as a whole.
Figure 4.4: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the South African Project Office.
Figure 4.5: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the Nigerian Project Office.
Figure 4.6: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the market unit as a whole.
Figure 4.7: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office without weights applied.
Figure 4.8: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office without weights applied.
Figure 4.9: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office with weights applied.
Figure 4.10: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office with weights applied.
Figure 4.11: Characteristics of five central factors.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Telecommunications: The science that deals with communication at a distance, as by telephone, satellite, or other electronic means (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms a, 2002:Online).

Telecommunications operator: A service provider of telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications access (Wikipedia a, 2007:Online).

Sub-Saharan Africa: The area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara desert (Wikipedia b, 2007: Online).

Ericsson: One of Sweden's largest companies; it is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems and related services, covering a range of technologies, including mobile networks in particular (Wikipedia c, 2007: Online).

Project Office: The organisational entity with full time personnel to provide a focal point for the discipline of project management. Also known as project office, project management centre of excellence, or directorate of project managers (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms b, 2002:Online).

Project Management: Planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to specified cost, quality and performance. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms c, 2002:Online).

Operational excellence: Philosophy of leadership, teamwork and problem-solving, resulting in continuous improvement throughout the organisation by focusing on the needs of the customer, empowering employees, and optimising existing activities in the process (Wikipedia d, 2007: Online).

Key performance indicators: Such project management indicators that reflect directly on the key objectives or goals of the project and are the most relevant measures to confirm the acceptability of the project and its product by the project’s stakeholders as being “successful” (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms d, 2002:Online).

Change agent: An internal change agent is usually a staff person who has expertise in the behavioural sciences and in the intervention technology of Organisational development (Wikipedia e, 2007: Online).

Methodological triangulation: Type of research where both quantitative and qualitative research approaches are used for data collection (Watkins, 2006: 45).

Triangulation: Multiple sources of data are collected with the hope that they all converge to support a particular hypothesis or theory (cited in Leedy & Ormrod, 2001:105).

Hypothesis: A supposition, usually one that is not completely understood and is not proven, but assumed for purposes of an argument (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms e, 2002:Online).

Quantitative research: In social sciences, quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena, as well as their relationships (Wikipedia f, 2007: Online).

Qualitative research: It is a method of inquiry that presupposes in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour (Wikipedia g, 2007: Online).

Turnkey: A form of contract in which a facility or equipment is to be designed, built, supplied, or installed completely and ready for operation (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms f, 2002:Online).

Process map: Activities involved in defining exactly what a business entity does, who is responsible for it, to what standard a process should be completed and how the success of a business process can be determined (Wikipedia h, 2007: Online).

Likert scale: Summated ratings: A method of attitude-scale construction developed by Rensis Likert, which is based on item analysis to select the best items (LIKERT, R. 1932. A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes. Archives of Psychology. 140: 1–55).

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