Project Management as a Synthesis for Improvement within the South African Post Office

Author: Tsitsi, Comfort
Supervisor: Professor Erik Schmikl
Date: September 2010

The research was about project management as a synthesis for improvement within the South African Post Office and the investigation has revealed the following:

There is poor coordination of projects between business units and this leads to a creation of a “silo mentality”. A proper change management process was not undertaken to ensure proper behavioural and organisational culture change. Project team members are not given the resources and authority necessary to ensure proper control. The introduction of project management within the Post Office did not receive support of all stakeholders including top management, most of the time projects are not aligned to the strategy of the company, top management seems to have taken an ad hoc approach in the implementation of projects within the organisation and communication between business units is virtually non-existent.

The company does not have high performance teams which can be used to carry out projects successfully. The organisation fails to align the projects with its strategy and dearth of leadership is a major challenge for the organisation. The other challenge that exists is the inability to resource projects properly. Project management can indeed be used as a synthesis for improvement within the South African Post Office however it is necessary that the challenges which are identified in the research be addressed first.

The continuous review of the strategic direction of the Post Office should be a priority, coupled with a good performance management system to ensure timely feedback and success of all projects. The proper resourcing of projects would also need to be looked at adequately as confirmed by the majority of the respondents who strongly disagreed that the projects are adequately resourced to meet set objectives, a continuous support mechanism of all projects should be undertaken within the company.

The approach of imparting project management skills within the organisation need to be looked at in order to make a cost-benefit assessment. A benchmarking exercise should be undertaken to evaluate the current programme used to impart skills on project management to employees and compare it to other similar programmes being offered in the market.

The issue of leadership within the organisation is very critical if project management is to succeed. To this end, it is recommended that top management take full responsibility of the process and ensure that unqualified support is given to all projects and that communication becomes the cornerstone of project delivery within the organisation.