Conclusions are drawn based on the sub-research questions, as well as investigative themes within the questionnaire that was designed as a data capturing instrument.
In support of the primal research question, the following sub-research questions were posed:
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Investigative themes within the questionnaire were based on the sub-research questions as mentioned. In order to solicit the most accurate data, it was decided to split the research questionnaire into two sections. In the first section the participants’ view of the Project Office(s) was solicited. The second section pertained to the participant’s view of how the project management processes and procedures impacted their day-to-day activities.
Based on responses received related to the first section, it could be said that participants in the South African Project Office were mostly positive about standardisation when asked to comment on their current processes and procedures. They seemed to agree that alignment had multiple benefits to the organisation as a whole. An average number of participants indicated that the processes that they were expected to follow were clear to them. This number, however, should be considerable increased, as participants should ideally reflect at least an 85% score when referring to clarity and expectations. The negative responses, however, were very low in numbers. Some of the negative numbers could possibly be contributed to new project personnel in this Project Office, who may have found all the processes a bit overwhelming and, as stated, perhaps somewhat unclear.
In conclusion, the responses from participants representing the Nigerian Project Office were positive in relation to the ideal that standardisation and alignment represented the best ways of working that would yield the greatest results for the organization, as well as its customers. Participants in the South African Project Office seemed to have a clearer indication on what was expected of them than their counterparts in Nigeria. It could be contributed to the fact that the South African Project Office adhered to PEMA, as well as the SI Maturity model, whereas the Nigerian Project Office had only made an introduction to these programs. What is interesting to note is that the negative responses from the participants in the Nigerian Project Office were far greater than the negative responses received from the South African Project Office. Half of all participants in Nigeria stated that there was a misalignment among the Project Offices. Non-standardisation of processes also ranked higher on negative opinions in Nigeria than in South Africa.
Overall, it appeared that all participants agreed that it was necessary to standardise and align project management processes and procedures across the market unit in order to achieve greater success in project execution. Moreover, it was noted that this was not the case in terms of application and deserved a lot of attention in remediation.
The following is a summary of responses received pertaining to the second section of the questionnaire that dealt with the participant’s view of how the project management processes and procedures impacted their day-to-day activities. Participants from the South African Project Office acknowledged the benefits that process standardisation and adherence, as well as alignment, contributed towards successful project management. Only a small number of participants felt that it did not add any real value. One item that required additional comment was that 21% of participants who wanted to see an improvement in communication when alignment occurred in terms of process changes and updates.
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Responses received from participants representing the Nigerian Project Office mutually agreed that it was easier to make use of standardised processes, project operating costs could be lowered, risk exposure could be minimised, communication would improve, ‘best practice’ was a possibility, time-to-customer was improved upon, as well as an increase in quality could be seen. It seemed as if participants found it hard to believe that such standardisation could positively contribute towards customer satisfaction, communication, as well as profitability.
The overall response within the market unit was very positive. Averaging out percentages calculated across all twenty one questions, 42% of participants within the market unit strongly agree with standardisation and the methods in which it was achieved, while 47% of participants agree with it. Change management was most often met with negative feedback, it was, therefore, surprising to see that a mere 7% of participants disagree with standardisation and the methods in which it was achieved, with only 1% of participants who strongly disagree.
Though opinions on alignment and standardisation formed an important input towards change programs such as this one, a true reflection of application is found in the regular ongoing internal audits that supported secondary data gathered. Results gleaned from these data sets reflected a somewhat different picture.
From the improvement areas above, conclusions based on compliance within the Nigerian Project Office are outlined as follows. The impact of a Project Manager not having a Project Specification meant that vital information pertaining to the delivery of the project was not available to the team. Delivery quality was negatively affected; frustration and confusion could have resulted from such an omission. When analysing the data, it was found that full compliance represented a large number of projects. It could be said that the Project Managers in this Project Office were familiar with processes and procedures. The effect was a greater sense of trust and efficiency among participants here. One cause for concern was the high percentage of non-compliance pertaining to an ‘Assignment Specification’ that should have been received as part of the handover from the planning phase before TG2. This was indicative that the handover from the pre-sales team towards the delivery team required some attention. Possible effects could have been included, but were not limited to the delivery of the project not being in line with the initial sale to the customer. This could have negatively impacted customer satisfaction as well as the organisation, portraying a sense of unprofessionalism.
Maturity measurements are achieved when weights are applied to measurements. While it was known that the implementation of the PROPS-C model was more established in the South African Project Office, it would appear that the Nigerian Project Office’s highest compliancy scores were in line with the organisational focus areas. Within the confines of limitations, as well as de-limitations, as stated within this research, the Nigerian Project Office seemed to be more mature. The only areas where the South African Project Office appeared to be more mature pertained to the budget, TG2 and internal kick-off meetings that were held with the project team. The results reflected a variance in the level of process application as evidence of non-standardisation.
It could be said that audit results without weights applied reflected the true compliance of processes and procedures. Weighted measures were not the correct method to use when compliance levels were sought. It could be disputed though that the level of maturity could be determined from a weighted result, as it could reflect the Project Manager’s ability to perform above average if weighted measures score above 80%.
From the PEMA results it was evident that even though the South African and Nigerian Project Offices have been in existence for quite some time, certifications and human capital investment needed to be improved. In performing handover between the pre-sales team and the Project Manager, the pre-sales team hands over the documents and detail, as discussed with the customer, to the Project Manager for execution and delivery of the project in accordance with the customer contract. A template is required to be completed by both parties and then signed off. It should be noted that the implementation and use of this template is a new addition to the Project Office and, therefore, the uptake is slow and is reflected in the audit results. Even though the template is standardised for both Project Offices, it appears that non-standardisation in its application exists.
Evaluating results obtained from SOX audits performed in the Nigerian Project Office performance was noted to be sub-standard in relation to financials. The crux of SOX compliance is based on risk exposure to the organisation, hence, the high percentage of non-compliance projects were of far greater concern, taking into account that the financial risk to the organisation increased exponentially. It would appear that the Nigerian Project Office was not very mature in the financial realm.
Audit results for the South African Project Office displayed that overall cost and budget control was well-managed. A great concern was realised with 60% non-compliance in support of revenue recognition not being aligned with the values indicated in the supporting documents. The customer contract governs all invoicing activities, while Ericsson governs revenue recognition to the organisation. Project Manager not adhering to the content of these financial documents had a direct impact on the organisation’s cash flow. Earned value analysis was thus not possible with a 33% compliance rate; therefore, non-standardisation could be seen in the inconsistency of financial management and reporting in the respective Project Offices.
Similar to the results achieved in the Nigerian Project Office, it was found that the Project Office in South Africa archived their documents in a consistent manner, as prescribed by the organisation. Standardisation was evident in the effective management of this particular SOX key control. Archiving of documents in a secure location does not just suffice as a means to curtail loss of misplaced paper work, it serves as a means to protect intellectual property rights and confidential information.
In making use of this comprehensive research strategy, non-standardisation was consistently found when comparing audit results of each Project Office by making use of methodological triangulation. Implementation of processes and adherence to them was also found to be inconsistent, which neither lends itself to achieving operational excellence, nor standardisation of project management processes as part of the key objectives.
Full compliance projects in both Project Offices seemed to be fairly equal in the level of application, though the percentages were very low. Less than half of all projects evaluated showed evidence of Project Financial Analysis Reports being present. Partial compliance meant that a report was present, however, it was either not the correct report or the full suite of reports were not generated from the financial system. Non-compliance as high as 57% in the South African Project Office showed that Project Managers rely solely on the Project Financial Controller to generate reports on their behalf and the Project Managers did not take the initiative themselves.
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In this regard it would appear that the Nigerian Project Office was more compliant than the South African Project Office. This sparks an interesting debate, as results shown earlier in the research that the South African Project Office was more compliant than the Nigerian Project Office in a measure generated on financial performance. Further analysis is required. In performing comparative analysis, results revealed an interesting trend or lack of it. The Nigerian Project Office was consistent in its scoring pertaining to full compliance measures. This, however, seemed to be the only consistent measure that could be learned from these results. Partial and non-compliant scores for both Project Offices, as well as full compliance scores for the South African Project Office were in great flux and showed no consistency at all.
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