Focus Areas

In Project and Development Management, the classification of development initiatives helps to select the appropriate steering and execution model. The DMO is in charge of defining and maintaining this classification scheme depending on the needs of the business environment. The Pre-Study phase with the resulting project proposal and the first business case ideas give sufficient input to apply the classification. The projects are then prioritized based on their value to the business and the availability of resources.

The focus areas of Project Management vary greatly among IT organizations in companies of different sizes. Establishing projects and creating a project culture are the top priorities in small companies. Large corporations struggle with other challenges: the larger the company, the greater the number of projects and, consequently, the greater the importance of processes and the effective management of project resources.

Project management challenges also change when business impact increases. Projects that are confined to a single unit are typically easier than projects spanning multiple units. Usually, larger projects also require wide-ranging changes to corporate culture and tools. This puts additional pressure on project managers. In such cases, the project organization must have participants also from HR and communications.


Typical Focus Areas in Companies of Different Sizes

Small Companies

Net sales category 10 M€, operating locally

In the IT organizations of small companies, the same individuals are typically responsible for both continuous services and development activities. To avoid “never-ending projects”, the first priority of Project Management is to turn strategic development tasks into projects.

When developing a project culture, it is important to establish the minimum standard of Project Management. All projects must have well-defined targets, a project plan, an owner, a project manager and a regular reporting practice. Furthermore, each project must have a clear end point that is preceded by the integration of project deliverables into continuous operations. External expert help is a way to ensure project success.


Medium-sized Companies

Net sales category 100 M€, decentralized operations

As the size of a company and the number of stakeholders grows, so does the importance of project business cases as well as proper prioritization and preparation.

When the operating environment expands, increasing attention must be paid to project steering, execution and rollout. Moreover, the importance of well-established project management models increases. In medium-sized companies, there are many projects ongoing at all times, requiring a shared project management culture.


Large Companies

Net sales category 1 000 M€, operating internationally

Large companies have numerous active projects running simultaneously, and their project culture is well established. A Project or Development Management Office (PMO/DMO) is often set up to organize project activities and to develop uniform project management models and practices.

Programs are prioritized and resourced with the help of a project portfolio to achieve the most beneficial outcome for the company’s business.

Due to the size and diversity of the operating environment, training and well-managed transitions to production are of particular importance. All projects strive for maximal business value and common operational models.


Very Large Companies

Net sales category 10 000 M€, operating globally

In very large companies, the focus of project management is on the effective management of project resources. In addition to personnel, the project resource pool includes experts from external partners. Typically, very large companies have a dedicated function for managing project resources.

The management of business strategy takes place with the help of a project portfolio. The project portfolio is a tool for management. The balance and maximal value of the project portfolio as well as its alignment with business strategy are taken into account in decision-making.


Figure 5.9.1 The focus of Project Management changes with the size and complexity of the company.


The aim of projects is to deliver current or new practices, systems and services for the purpose of achieving the targets defined in the company’s business strategy or IT strategy.

In the absence of business demand and steering, justification for a project ceases to exist. Projects are managed so that they achieve the specified goals on schedule, within budget and with the required level of quality.

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