Enterprise Project Management: Benefits, Challenges & Tools

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Managing more than one project at a time creates a lot of problems. How can you allocate resources wisely across all those projects? How can you keep the projects aligned with the strategic goals of the organization? That and more is what enterprise project management does.

Let’s define the term enterprise project management and then identify its unique challenges before going into what an enterprise project manager is and what an enterprise project management office is. We’ll also explain the benefits and share some free templates to help you out.

What Is Enterprise Project Management?

Enterprise project management (EPM) is an umbrella term that covers the professional practices, processes and tools that are used when managing multiple projects, such as a program or portfolio, at the same time. Unlike project management, which focuses on one project at a time with narrowly defined goals, enterprise project management works towards uniform strategies and processes with the goals of efficiency and alignment of all the projects to work collectively towards the organization’s business goals.

You can think of enterprise project management as a way to organize and track multiple projects. Instead of managing one project with teams dedicated only to that one project and other resources allotted to only that one project, enterprise project management works to share these resources across multiple projects in a project portfolio. It seeks to avoid duplication of effort and foster better communication between projects so there are fewer mistakes. As a result, you’ll have a holistic decision-making process that doesn’t overlook opportunities and keeps all projects serving a common purpose.

To do this and avoid potential pitfalls of individual project management while focusing on the strategic goals of the larger organization you’ll want to use project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that can manage multiple projects and resources in real time. Use our roadmap tool to see all your projects on a visual timeline to help you better allocate resources and manage all your projects more efficiently. Roadmaps are Gantt charts that manage multiple projects and can link dependencies to avoid delays and set a baseline to track progress and costs in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's roadmap
ProjectManager’s roadmap helps with enterprise project management. Learn more

Unique Challenges of Enterprise Project Management

While the benefits of enterprise project management include more efficient projects and being able to reach strategic goals through collective projects, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges to managing multiple projects. These challenges can be faced and controlled, but only if an enterprise project manager is aware of them. Here are some of the more challenging aspects of enterprise project management.

Ensuring Project Strategic Alignment

One of the main goals of enterprise project management is project strategic alignment, which is when all the plans and executions of the projects being managed fit into the organization’s strategic goals. Therefore, all projects must provide business results to help the organization achieve its full potential and long-term plans.

Approving, Selecting and Prioritizing Projects

Part of enterprise project management is determining which of the existing as well as new projects are most urgent. The approval and selection of these prioritized projects is one way to gain efficiency and deliver on the strategic goals of the organization and is one of the duties that an enterprise project manager is responsible for.

Managing Multiple Projects Simultaneously

It’s hard enough to manage one project, but managing multiple projects at the same time is exponentially more difficult. Setting priorities and budgets across projects can be overwhelming and lead to mistakes, which can negatively impact quality and outcomes. It’s imperative to not only look at the larger picture but not forget the important details, too.

Allocating Organizational Resources Across Projects

Being able to share resources across multiple projects is one way to work more efficiently and save on costs, but this is hard to achieve. But teams, tools and materials aren’t unlimited and multiple projects can be vying for the same resources at the same time. Being able to schedule resources and understand resource requirements will improve resource allocation.

Tracking Project Performance

You’ll need to track progress and performance across multiple projects, all of which will be demanding your attention. It’s important to not neglect any data and to have that data delivered in real time to make informed decisions promptly. This can be accomplished with dashboards and reporting tools.

What Is an Enterprise Project Manager?

An enterprise project manager is responsible for managing the scope of multiple projects to ensure that they’re sharing resources efficiently and delivering on the strategic goals of the organization. It depends on the organization, but in general, all enterprise project managers share certain core responsibilities.

They’re part of a high-level strategic team and provide business guidelines for all the projects to follow as well as leading the project management practices. Enterprise project managers also oversee all the projects, review them and make sure they’re meeting their schedules and staying on budget.

The enterprise project manager will help the individual project managers with resource management and resolve any resource conflicts. They make sure all project goals are aligned with the overall business goals of the organization as well as train and mentor the individual project managers and their teams.

What Is an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO)?

An enterprise project management office is a centralized internal or external organization that is responsible for the planning of program and portfolio projects. It specializes in strategy and administration to evaluate projects and continuously optimize them.

An enterprise project management office also works to make sure projects meet their budgets and are completed on time. They monitor projects and act to resolve issues and cut down on wasted resources. But mostly, they want to ensure the projects align with the overall business strategic goals of the organization. They do this and their other duties by using project management and project portfolio management tools.

Other functions of an enterprise project management office include managing risk, standardizing processes, mentoring and improving project accountability. The enterprise project management office is manned by project managers, portfolio managers and other executives with knowledge of the projects. They’re led by an enterprise project management office director.

Benefits of an Enterprise Project Management Office

It should be clear how important an enterprise project management office is after defining it and its responsibilities. But to emphasize those points, let’s look a little closer at some of the benefits of having an enterprise project management office.

Uses Project Management Software for Accurate Project Tracking

As noted above, an enterprise project management office will use project management tools to help them manage all their projects. This includes tools such as portfolio dashboards that can give them a high-level view of their project’s progress and performance, which benefits the management of all projects.

Provides One Centralized Location for All Project Management Activities

By having an enterprise project management office, there’s one entity that oversees all the projects. This helps with aligning strategic goals, managing schedules and keeping to budgets. If this was a responsibility spread across many different people, it’d be harder to maintain sight of these collective goals.

Builds the Project Management Know-How of an Organization

Managing multiple projects together within one enterprise project management office means that there’s a wealth of learned knowledge collected under one roof. Not only experience, but the skill sets of all the professionals involved in the enterprise project management office is a valuable benefit.

Facilitates the Communication Between Project Stakeholders Across Departments

Stakeholders want to stay informed on the progress of the projects they’re involved in. Having one communication hub to feed all these distinct channels makes the dissemination of that information more effective and efficient.

Enterprise Project Management Templates

If you’re looking for a quick fix to help you with your enterprise project management, some templates can give you a headstart. ProjectManager’s site has dozens of free project and portfolio management templates for Excel and Word that you can download to help you get started. Here are a few.

Resource Plan Template

Plan your resources with our free resource plan template for Excel. You can outline the tasks, the departments, the hours and costs for each resource and then map them on a weekly or monthly calendar.

Project Dashboard Template

Get a high-level overview of your project with our free project dashboard template for Excel. It shows you project metrics, such as tasks, workload, costs and more, in easy-to-read graphs and charts.

Project Budget Template

Use our free project budget template for Excel to list your tasks and the associated costs, both labor and material. There’s also room to capture travel, equipment and food expenses, and to see if you’re under or over budget.

How ProjectManager Helps with Enterprise Project Management

Templates are a quick fix, as we said, but when you’re managing a portfolio of projects and need them to align with larger business goals, you need something more powerful. Templates are static and aren’t efficient tools. Project management software takes you to the next level. ProjectManager is award-winning project and project portfolio management software that gives you all the tools you need to plan, manage and track your program or portfolio in real time.

Monitor Costs and Progress of Multiple Projects With Real-Time Dashboards

Enterprise project managers and enterprise project management offices need to have tools that give them an overview of their project’s progress and performance whenever they need it. Our portfolio dashboard shows live data across all your projects. See time, cost, workload and more in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Unlike lightweight tools, there’s no time-consuming setup required. Just toggle over to our dashboard and monitor your projects in real time.

ProjectManager's portfolio dashboardAssign Work to Your Team Members and Track Their Workload

Our software allows you to put the availability of everyone working for your program or portfolio into the tool, including their vacation, PTO and even global holidays for remote teams. That makes it easier to assign and reallocate resources as needed. Once your teams are executing projects, visit the workload chart. It’s color-coded to show each team member’s allocation and you can balance their workload right from the chart to have everyone working at capacity and staying productive.

ProjectManager's workload chart

Those are just some of the tools you get with our software. There are also risk management features that help you identify and track issues to keep them from negatively impacting your projects. Our multiple project views allow everyone to work how they like, whether on kanban boards, task lists, sheet or calendar views. Enterprise project managers can plan and assign on Gantt charts, but teams have the freedom to use whichever view they want to manage their work.

ProjectManager is award-winning project and portfolio management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere in between. They can share files, comment at the task level and stay updated with email notifications and in-app alerts. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to deliver successful projects. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.