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PM Essence

Project Based Organization Culture - Organizational Project Culture (OPC)


-  Seshadri Chatterjee, PMP
The term organizational project culture or OPC is a very new concept. In a more fundamental way the organization culture is made up of the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors of its employees. It reflects the demonstrated values and principles of the workplace, permeating everything an organization does. Essentially, it can make or break your organization.
The ideal organizational culture is one in which projects are considered in strategic planning and are implemented to support an organization's corporate strategy and corporate objectives. In this way, they receive the necessary attention and support of senior management and the organization's resources to allow them to succeed. The OPC is basically a method by which the organization supports its ongoing projects. 
Fundamentals of Organizational Project Culture (OPC):
The basic objective for creating an OPC is-
To understand their current organizational culture and how it could be improved.
To measure where they stand today against the ideal organizational project culture
To understand the goal and strategy to close the gap (between OCC and OPC)
To develop and implement the plan to create an OPC.
Steps to create an ideal OPC:
Create a OPC Steering committee
Communicate OPC to the whole organization
Measure the gap between organization current culture (OCC) and ideal OPC
Develop strategies to close the gap between OCC and OPC.
Create an OPC Steering committee:
A cross-functional steering committee that consists of a mix of management and staff will lead the project, guiding the approach for the organization. This committee will report directly to their Sponsor, the Management of the organization. It will be important for the Steering Committee to define their purpose, roles and  responsibilities as well as their communication strategy and expected outcomes. They will develop sub-committees of staff who will help to manage the on-going project change requirements.
Communicate OPC to the whole organization:
Once the Steering Committee has undertaken the first step, they will communicate the policy to the rest of the organization explaining why it is important and how it will benefit all. 
Measure the gap between organization current culture (OCC) and ideal OPC:
For measuring the base point for the OCC in relation to the OPC, staff of all levels will be asked to complete a survey. These individuals might spend a lot of time on projects or very little time. They may be a project leader or a project team member. They may be working on a small project on their own or be part of a very large project. They might provide resources to a project but not actually be involved in any project directly. All these individuals should be included to provide a 360-degree feedback view of the current organizational culture with regard to project management. The survey will identify the gaps and where they exist and will also gauge the organization's readiness for change. Analysis of the results will help the organization to identify the organizational forces likely to drive or impede change and what changes are necessary to close the gap between OCC and OPC.
Develop strategies to close the gap between OCC and OPC:
It's management's responsibility to determine how to close the gap between the OCC and OPC for their organization. Which strategies they want to follow? And these decisions have to be taken by the top management after giving due weightage and feedbacks from the project key stakeholders. 
Benefits of having OPC:
The benefits of Organization Project Culture (OPC) can be as follows:
Projects will be more aligned to corporate strategies.
Business objectives can be met in a more measurable way.
Projects can meet the customer expectations.
Projects are implemented within the budget ensuring no cost overrun.
Projects are on schedule with support from organization.
Time to market can be improved.
A project team will have high satisfaction lowering attrition among the team members.
Project team will have greater confidence towards the corporate team.
Strategically more beneficial and sustainable for any future projects.
Mutually beneficial for both the project teams and the corporate team.
By having an OPC, projects tend to be more successful (in terms of schedule, budget etc.) also there will be better employee satisfaction lowering attrition. Customer satisfaction index would increase there by increasing competitive advantage in the market. Also it will contribute to the overall success of the corporate strategy.