Transformation to a Project-Oriented Culture in a Public Works Department

Author:Van Zyl, Frans
Supervisor: Professor Pieter Steyn
Date: March 2008

The South African Government as the custodian of all National Government buildings entrusts the National Department of Public Works, (NDPW) for providing and maintaining accommodation for all National Government Departments. In order to keep up with continuous transformation and change, leaders and managers need to assess the corporate environment and create means of providing solutions that will ensure that the needs of stakeholders are met.

This led to the National Department of Public Works embarking on a strategic approach to change management supported by Project Management knowledge and skills, with the aim of transforming the department to a project-oriented organisation. To succeed, the supporting role of senior management became of paramount importance. They were expected to create an environment conducive to knowledge creation, application and replication, but failed. Moreover, ineffective internal processes, a lack of skilled project managers and the appointment of inexperienced consultants resulted in profound client dissatisfaction.

It is recommended that the existing organizational structure be amended to accommodate a programme office with the necessary staff. It is of the utmost importance to create stability within senior management with a clear direction, vision and mission of the organization.