Organisations under pressure to provide high-quality products under tight deadlines are usually innovating on new management process to meet various needs. But despite the use of the different systems across industries, there appears to be a consensus that the Project Management Office (PMO) is the most efficient process of meeting a deadline that is accompanied by high quality. This is why it is important that London’s 2012 Olympics Organising Committee should consider utilizing PMO in the preparation process and the actual running of this important event. In the preparation office, members of the preparing team, such as contractors are able to plan their works in ways that would lead to timely delivery. On its part, the organising committee is afforded the time to draw a calendar of deadlines that contractors have to meet. During the event itself, the use of PMO enables organising committees to help athletes and tourists as they find their way around the city and event venues. When the Olympic event is all over and normalcy returns, PMO guidelines would help the organising committee to pass information regarding its experience to relevant authorities
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Project Management Office
Project management office (PMO) refers to the establishment of the central department that handles all processes pertaining to tasks of substantial value to an organisation (Lock 2007). Tasks being managed could be going into the long run or just many short projects that get performed in an organisation for long durations of time. Having such departments reduces the need for constant consulting or contracting out every time organisations need help with projects. Project management office thus end-up serving as an internal consulting team that senior management and other stakeholders take as a point of reference. In that regard, officials in the office are usually well accustomed to the special needs of different projects; they maintain and update documentation that helps to keep stakeholders informed on progress.
The office further helps organisations to meet regulatory frameworks as well as industry and international standards pertaining to specific projects. Such internal mechanisms have several tangible benefits to organisations. First, office employees end up developing managerial and industrial skills that improve productivity. Second, the higher propensity of meeting government and industry standards lead to much respect in the market and society, which is virtually all organisations. Third, organisations are able to accomplish projects on time, because of the shorter communication channels that would be used in sharing information regarding some anticipated needs in specific projects. Fourth, internal project management mechanisms make decision-making and consensus-building easier, because team members happen to work with each other on many occasions and on different projects. The accruing teams thus find it easy to develop individual and team cultures that lead to greater efficiency in project activities.
A successful project management office is the one that meets the following criteria, which is rooted in the way such offices are established: First, establishing the office should be done in collaboration with experts (consultants) in the field, especially in situations where organisations are doing it for the first time. Undertaking a quick establishment process could lead to skipping some important steps. Secondly, responsibilities to be accorded project management office must be agreed upon before work begins; it makes it easier for employees to understand their mandate so they could make tentative plans.
Third, organisations should ensure the signing of written agreements with employees manning PMOs—which helps in creating confidence among employees in this department. Fourth, channels of communication between the office and the rest of the organisations should be established; PMO should also be accorded the power to directly communicate to other stakeholders, such as suppliers and contractors, without going through parent organisations. Organisations that take those steps in the establishment of their project management offices should be assured of timely project delivery and efficiency in the management process; this information would help in the preparation of future events in the city or other places in the country, or even future Olympics hosts all over the world. This is because PMO focuses on the long-run effects of its activities, both within and without organisations practising this type of project management system.
A project management office is vital in organisations that run different projects at the same time (Mill 2007). Mill (2007) further describes this system as relatively new in management texts but has existed long before finding its way into academic literature. However, Kerzner (2004) reports that this management system is relatively new in practice and in theory. Despite the dispute in the age of this field, its use has been expanding quickly across industries and nations (Lientz & Rea 2001). The increased use of PMO in organisational tasks has further led to its introduction to business schools and management literature in an attempt to broaden awareness.
Analysing London 2012 Olympics’ organisational structure in PMO context
The London 2012 Olympics is a prime example of an event that should be organised and run through PMO arrangements. Though this major sporting event is four years away, it is necessary to start preparing the city of London for the few months of increased population and activities. In that regard, this section shall analyse the best way that the London 2012 Olympic Committee should arrange their organisational structure to ensure efficiency, timely delivery of facilities, smooth flow of activities during the Olympic period and the eventual cleaning up of the city. Each the following subtopic address a specific area of the planning structure.
The remaining four years before 2012 provides a window of opportunity for the committee to plan and execute necessary strategies that would lead London to provide the greatest Olympics in the history of this event; should target at shadowing Sydney 2000 which’s rumoured to be the best Olympics ever. The London Committee has established an elaborative plan that spreads its activities to the several years to the event (Leyden 2008). In fact, the plans started a few years ago; some activities in the plans have already been undertaken. The Committee has therefore divided its plans into several subprojects, which leads to fluid management. As it happens in many other major sporting events, it is the big subprojects that involve structures such as stadiums, accommodation and transport that are the ones that undertake longer periods to accomplish. In order to accomplish that bottleneck, the Committee has already started working on the big facilities. For instance, it has been collaborating with London transport authorities to prepare the system for major capacity build up after the games (Standish Group 1995).
The Committee has not ignored the use of Information Technology in the management of its activities. Indeed, management activities are being logged into computers that will enable members and other stakeholders to share among themselves. Having a central source for the committee’ data makes it easy for all stakeholders to discuss issues and come to productive conclusions. Though the central source of Olympic PMO’s data is not complete as of yet, it is of great importance to enable other members of the public, especially professionals in a certain field to make a contribution. These people’s would be able to access what the Committee can efficiently achieve, and what it cannot achieve. As a result, advice regarding contracting out some of the activities can efficiently be done. The use of IT in the preparation process can be heightened by ensuring that teams within the committee are advised to prepare their plans and upload them for general discussions. Finally, all plans from all teams should be compiled and subsequently approved; this will ensure efficiency in the running of the preparations.
London Olympics Committee has come up with an UK₤ 9.3B as the cost to prepare for the event (BBC 2007). This is in accordance with PMO guidelines that management ensures that working budgets have been planned and implemented. Despite setting the budget at the initial stages of the preparation, it is of vital importance to ensure regular updates, because of the long term duration of the projects. Inflation in the global arena, which is leading to the rising cost of materials and services used in the preparation process, is a major reason for regular tuning. Changes in the budget should be made forthwith. Failure to make this important point could lead to the committee working with smaller budgets that could compromise the quality of facilities and services to be provided.
PMO guidelines further demand that the management of the London event ensure to follow the standards stipulated by the relevant body, in this case, the International Olympics Committee (IOC). IOC guidelines are to ensure that best international practices regarding the budgeting are followed; issues of transparency and quality of work to be undertaken on Olympics budgets are emphasised (ODA 2007). The International Olympics Committee is further encouraged to perform ad hoc audits on London’s budgets to sure that the laid down procedures are followed to the letter; Londoners are therefore encouraged to oblige to IOC inspections by allowing access to financial books as well as plans. As a measure of seeing whether budget sizes are worth the investment, PMO guidelines require organisations to project the income that would accrue from the project. In London’s Committee’s case, gate charges and other income that could accrue from the even should be calculated and compared with the budget. This has already happened; the greater Britain is to earn handsomely during Olympics events.
PMO requires the labour force to be used in the preparation process and during the event to be pre-determined and included in the budgeting process. In London’s case, the organizational structure, from members of the committee to the shortest period contractor, should thus be budgeted for. Before planning on the number of employees needed for specific projects, the organizing committee should be kept to prepare the roles and responsibilities of individual workers, teams, and contractors. This shall aid in the process of determining who is doing what in the preparation process. In addition, employees, teams and contractors will be in a position to understand their roles; this would increase productivity as specialization and division of labour becomes the norm. A note to remember: all the roles must be developing from the plans of the event, that is, needs preparing for Olympics. When that is done, committee members and the involved consultants are able to understand what can be achieved internally and what will need to be contracted out; it can also understand what Londoners or Britons in that matter can accomplish efficiently, and what will have to be contracted to international bodies.
In regard to the abilities of employees and contractors to meet committee goals, it shall be of great importance to help train or expose them to IOC work standards. This will ensure that people taking part in the preparation process understand the quality and ethical standards that are expected of them. Some of the expectations include regular reporting to the relevant authorities; they should also understand that IOC performs ad hoc inspections of the work being performed in preparation for this global event. Helping these stakeholders understand these demands would go a long way in helping London preside over the most exciting Olympic event.
Methodology & Processes
The preparation of the London 2012 Olympics should be based on processes that are in line with international expectations and the demands of the IOC. Reason: this is an international event that will attract people from all over the world. In that sense, many governments, as well as international organisations, are interested in seeing that processes being undertaken do not compromise beliefs, ethics and industrial standards among others. Selecting the methodologies used in preparing and running the event should therefore be seen not in British interest alone, but as an international one. To help in this practice, PMO encourages organisations to ensure the use of specialists in the establishment of their office and subsequent running of management affairs. The London committee should thus ensure that the international experts’ council is considered in each step of the preparation process. This is where IOC mentorship comes in handy; it should use its international contacts to help London overcome organisational challenges regarding internationally and culturally acceptable processes. London should on its part ensure it seeks advice on matters that could contravene certain standards.
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Stakeholders in the preparation process should also be involved in the methodology process. In addition, employees, volunteers and contractors should be tutored on the methodologies that would be used in the preparation and running of the event. After teaching these groups on the methodologies they will have to follow in their specialities, the committee should ensure performing constant inspections on whether its guidelines and international expectations were being followed. This should be followed by the improvement of the methodologies with the goal of attaining higher efficiencies in project delivery. In addition, the Olympics PMO should ensure adopting a new methodology in preparing and running the event, but that’s only when efficiency would be positively affected.
Tools in the Olympic preparation process mostly apply to the contractors that would be asked to carry out some important processes that the organisation committee is not in a position to deliver. The tools used by committee employees to perform various tasks are also in consideration. The several demands that PMO demands of the tools used in the process are as follows: Firstly, senior management should ensure that the tools are of quality that will not compromise on employee’s safety. In that regard, it is important to source from manufacturers and distributors that have excellent safety standards. Secondly, the tools must be able to help employees perform delivery facilities that would be able to meet all Olympic demands. This is because of public safety that has to be met during the event. As a precautionary ally measure on safety during preparation processes and in the event itself, PMO demands that the tools used to be checked regularly for defectiveness and repaired promptly. Thus before sourcing the equipment and tools to be used in the London event, the committee should ensure that only reputable manufacturers, who will be willing to service their equipment regularly should be considered in the tendering process.
Quality of services or goods provided is central to PMO; benefactors must be assured that standards are met in projects. Owing to the greater size of Olympics’ stakeholders, the organising committee should ensure that both local and international standards are met. Indeed, it has to be aware of the standards in different countries because of public and athletes safety. It has to be considered that countries could have different requirements for their athletes. But to save the London committee from the hustle of researching and meeting standards of different countries, IOC happens to have its own measures that organisers have to meet. London’s PMO should thus make use of IOC standards in both the preparation and running of the event.
Adhering to these standards shall make it easy for the local PMO to deliver facilities and services that all negations would be satisfied with. Also, the organising committee could develop its own standards for different purposes. Considering that accommodation facilities for athletes will have to be constructed, the organising committee should ensure the effectiveness of meeting athletes needs as well as those of future use. Facilities that would be used in the future must therefore meet industrial standards. For example, those that will serve as housing should meet the country’s housing standards, while those serving as sports facilities should meet regulatory standards.
Risk management in the preparation and running of Olympics events should be the forefront goal of the organizing committee. In this understanding, PMO would be important in researching processes that would ensure that employees and contractors are completely safe from any risk. In addition, the facilities that are being constructed should be risk-free. PMO recommends that project managers perform regular risk monitoring across the organization. In these processes, it is important to consider both internal and external risk factors that could expose organizations and their projects to risks. This helps PMO managers to understand whether solutions can be achieved internally or external help is needed. Employees tasked with the responsibility of understanding these risks should immediately report to the management and solutions practised immediately.
In order to help all members of the organization’s workforce to contribute to the risk assessment processes, PMO recommends that managers develop internal frameworks for reporting. Employees themselves are encouraged to help the PMO taskforce to identify these risks. This leads to a situation where members of the labour force understand what could befall them and thus develop their own protective measures. It also makes it easy for PMOs to provide information on self-protection. In addition, PMOs’ ability to develop implementation plans is heightened by the newly-earned employee awareness. In the application of the London Olympics committee, it shall be necessary frameworks that will make it possible for employees and contractors to report any risk factors that could affect their facilities, services and goods that will be provided. In addition, it shall be necessary for the committee to establish a task force that would deal squarely with security threats that could appear during the games. This is because athletes and tourists safety is becoming a key concern in many governments and individuals alike.
By recognizing the risks that could affect the running of the events during the Olympics and even beyond, the organizing committee should develop action plans that would be unsuccessful in preventing the maturity of the threats. In relation to the safety and security during the actual Olympics events, the organizing committee should alliance with local security departments, which must be fully prepared to face the safety challenges that would be posed during the Olympics. When such measures are taken and authorities understand their responsibilities of ensuring law and order, the organizing committee would be able to concentrate on other pressing safety and security concerns (UK Government, 2002).
PMO prepares project managers on the importance of considering other sub-projects that would be closely associated with the mainstream activity. This enables the management to see whether that could be some strategies or resources that could be developed together, thus save on time and resources. Checking on dependences on projects is to be done on several occasions during project lifetime—this ensures that other sub-projects that could come up are well incorporated in the main project management processes. London Olympics organising committee should take note of other projects that could be maintained together with the main event. The best example is the winter Olympics that would happen shortly after the summer games in London. In that sense, the London committee should ensure that summer events will succeed at ushering winter games; performing under international expectations could lead to lesser popularity of the subsequent winter games. The organisation committee should also consider collaborating with the winter organisers; they could share information and trade advice regarding certain aspects of games organisation, such as risk factors. Some other projects that could be undertaken in conjunction with the Olympic event in London should also be considered. This can especially be used to control some logistic headaches.
The project management office further helps senior management to keep all the documentation regarding the project, past and future ones. This is important because the documents serve as a point of reference to future managers (Stevens, 2002). When that is done, future employees in organisations do not have to create new procedures to perform certain tasks. Instead, they would just be reading old documentation and makes changes that were necessary. Time and resources that would have been used in the development of new processes would thus be used to design business strategies that would strengthen organisations in their industry. The London Olympic organisers have a lesson to learn from this; they must be the custodian of London’s historic moments during the Olympics.
This will enable future organisers of the Olympics and other events to just draw on the experience that is currently being developed. Apart from organisational documentation, the organising committee should ensure that plans of all the structures built are kept safely and distributed to the necessary stakeholders. For instance, plans for the Olympic village that could be used for residential purposes should be passed to their new owners. Other plans such as transport strategies that would be used during Olympic season should be kept well so the city can improve and use them in future. It shall be important to keep an index of all these documents and make it available to members of the public so they could know where to get information regarding the event. Other countries that would like to host Olympics in the future would also have a chance to learn from London.
Project Management Office enables organisations to understand what they can achieve and what cannot be achieved internally. This leads to an understanding of limitations that could accrue from each of the organisational internal systems. Despite the wide dreams and goals that the London Olympics committee could have on the city’s great moments, it shall be necessary to understand the limits of the city resources in handling the pressure that could accrue from hosting this global event. For instance, London’s availability of accommodation in London during the event will most likely put pressure on the city’s transportation systems. In that regard, the organisational committee should do all it can to prepares the system for such times. To help the city overcome such times, it shall be necessary for the committee to encourage some tourists to live in other areas of the country; this should be done in congestion with transportation authorities that will ensure smooth flow of train, car and air traffic between London and its environs. The committee should thus investigate the limitations of its abilities before, during and after the event. The results should be communicated to authorities and another stakeholder, who shall subsequently embark on looking for solutions way before the events take place—that shall be the beginning of preceding the greatest Olympic experience.
In PMO arrangements, it is vital to ensure that all aspects of the projects are interconnected with each other because it helps in providing efficiency which is the main goal of establishing this framework. This is usually done through the use of information technology, which eases access to information and thus improve decision making. The integration of systems enables members in different working groups are able to countercheck each others’ work. The result: earlier problem detection and development of quicker solutions. The London Olympics organisers should thus ensure that their integration of information technology system used in Olympics preparations. Some sections of the information should be made available to the members of the public and analysts so they can understand what their city will go through during preparations and Olympic events. It is obvious that members of the public will air their opinions regarding the effects of the Olympics in their lives. Indeed, various policy analysts will write and express public viewpoints from various angles. This could result in the organising committee getting advice from different circles regarding issues that had been ignored at the initial planning stages. Owing to the increase in access to information worldwide, the organising committee could even get advice from other countries—all of which will help in the preparation of getting Olympic season.
Acceptance & Conformance
Those most of the project management directions are provided by organisations task managers, PMO encourages managers to develop their own departmental control frameworks that would only be applicable to the departments. This shapes project employees actions at all times, and are best achieved through incentives and the development or departmental work ethics that have to be followed. This is one aspect that the London Olympics should consider as they prepare for the event because it shall help employees and contractors understand that they are preparing for one of the world’s premier events, which means that the highest ethical standards must be met at all times. The development of ethical standards to be followed by the people involved with the preparations should be done at the lowest level of management instead of the top. In that regard, individual departments shall develop their own processes that would be in line with expectations at the highest levels of management. Such a delegation would mean that each department or contractor has policies that echo those of the organisation, but are little tweaked to ensure they are acceptable to all team members and does not affect the group’s efficiency. People involved with the event will also feel obliged to follow these set policies they participated in drafting.
This aspect refers to the ability of project managers to maintain high levels of management styles depicted by different working groups. All leaders in individual groups should be well aware of styles practised by their counterparts; it helps create uniformity because there is a high tendency to copy management styles that produce the best results. The management of the London Olympics should thus encourage group leaders to understand peers management styles. Leaders in different workgroups should do this through regular meetings with each other. The committee should actually help to arrange these meetings, especially between groups whose roles are somehow interrelated.
Employees within the organisational committee should also be involved in these meetings so they can understand what was going on at the management level. Alternatively, group leaders should ensure briefing their juniors. This flow of information between participating individuals helps in keeping them aware of any changes in strategies; it also serves as a source of strength in the labour force. Contractors should also be involved in the information sharing process; they should also be encouraged to make a contribution in regard to their industries. The volunteering members of the public should also be remembered because they are part and parcel of the preparation process (Lawson et al., 1999). The result: the creation of working groups that understand the significance of the Olympics internationally scene, and thus do their best in all activities.
The main role of PMO is to manage important tasks and provide guidelines to practising organisations. As a result, senior management and employees in this office are actually professions in their fields, which make them serve as points of reference to their organisations. Indeed, having them within organisations saves senior management from the agony of looking for outside consultants to help. In that regard, members of the London Olympics management should be available to offer advice to stakeholders within the city, country and indeed all over the world. After all, they are the ones who have the best understanding of aspects of the event. The organisers should also be obliged to provide advice to the members of the labour force and contractors who have concerns regarding their roles in the preparation process. This is a huge demand for the management, which has other work to do despite mentoring. But it can use information technology to ensure that information I reaching all the stakeholders. The internet is one of the means to make this happen. In addition, it is necessary to establish task forces that will be providing advice to various interest groups (Fewings, 2005). On the bottom line, the organising committee should ensure that its advice reaches all embers of the organisers.
Organisation’s PMO also serves as the liaison to outside organisations. This means ensuring that business relationships with other organisations are maintained at the highest levels. Since the professionals in PMO are the ones tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that business relationships are maintained, it is advisable that organisations equip them with the best knowledge, by providing opportunities in business education. Alternatively, organisations should consider employing business professionals that would foster relationships. It is, therefore, necessary for the London Olympics Committee to ensure that relationships with contractors and other business contacts are well maintained.
The key element of maintaining a proper business relationship with stakeholders is communication (Pryke & Smyth, 2006). In this regard, the London organising committee should ensure that decisions and progress of the preparation process are well communicated to countries that would be participating. For instance, teams should be well informed regarding the status of their accommodation and transportation facilities. But for all this to happen, contractors should ensure communicating to the organising committee regarding the status of the facilities being constructed. The organising committee should also ensure performing inspections regarding the status of various projects to ensure that contractors are on time and what they what reported was a true reflection of the happens on the ground.
The organising committee of the London 2012 Olympics have a dream goal of preceding one of the best Olympic events in history. But for this to happen, the respective PMO must apply best practices in the field. Since the most favourable practices have already been mentioned in the above section, the following ones include recommendations to the organising committee:
First, the committee should perform a cost-benefit analysis of the event. This shall help in drawing up the budget and allocating resources to each of the departments. As it should happen in the analysis, the benefits of the games should be greater than the costs to society. It shall however be a mistake to just measure monetary costs and benefits without considering other social aspects. For instance, it inconveniences that Londoners will have to undergo must be considered; it would be erroneous to ignore such facts. The organising committee should involve members of the public in the process of coming to terms with accruing inconveniences.
Secondly, the organising committee should provide fluent communication networks with members of the public. This will make it easy for people attending Olympic events to get to event locations with ease. Other than passing information, the committee should ensure that attendees travel to event locations with ease. And some will be new to the city; it should be ensured that the committee has enough guards that will be helping tourists with necessary questions regarding directions part any other information. In addition, the committee should use its website to provide such information, and should actually start as soon as possible so that people could familiarize themselves.
Thirdly, the London committee should do its best to emulate Sydney 2000 Olympics organisers that were arguably one of the best in the event’s history (Brown et al., 2002). Marching or even going beyond Sydney isn’t easy, which means that Londoners will have to work extra hard in the fight of replacing Australians as the best Olympics organisers. Adhering to the above PMO guidelines should help in achieving that goal. In fact one can argue that London has time on its side; the four years provide a huge window of fine-tuning preparations. Apart from the Australians, Londoners should also learn from the strengths organisers of other Olympics editions.
Fourthly, London organisers should take the advantage of information technology to ease the communication headache that has dented previous editions. This especially involves the way information is passed to members of the public worldwide. Passing information quickly to people, especially those who would be attending the event in London would go a far way in enriching Olympic experiences that happen to be a once in a lifetime event for a significant number of individuals. To make this communication process easy and efficient, the management should immediately start providing important information in the right way rather than waiting till the events are beginning. This is because taking such measures will give individuals time to get used to the system.
Fifthly, on-time delivery of sporting and accommodation facilities is also a matter of necessity. In this regard, the organising committee should ensure that everything is in place way before summer 2012. Such an earlier completion would provide athletes with ample time to be used with their localities before embarking on the business that brought them to London. It would also provide the organising committee and other authorities to inspect those facilities for athletes and tourists’ safety. Contractors, employees and senior PMO managers should thus be encouraged to complete their projects on time; they should subsequently feel obliged to doing so.
Project Management Office is, therefore, one of the best systems to ensure time projects delivery. It has been shown that organisations in different industries are increasingly relying on this system in an attempt to increase productivity and efficiency. The success that has accrued from its use means that more and more organisational-big and small would continue adopting PMO as their management process of choice. The use of PMO in the preparation and actual running of the London Olympics in 2012 would help in preceding a memorable event among Londoners, athletes, tourists and the entire world. During the preparation process, stakeholders (especially contractors, employees and members of the public) would benefit from the increased efficiency that would accrue from the practice of PMO. For instance, the contractors would be in a position to maintain clear communication channels with the organisation committee. The committee would subsequently, communicate project standing to members of the public, and thus keep all people well aware. During the event itself, PMO will help the organising committee to keep tourists and athletes well informed of events venues as well as the best transportation channels to use. Finally, PMO would enable the organising committee to provide documentation of the event to relevant authorities; this information could be used in organising future events—a move that would save public resources and organisers’ time.
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