Case Study - Large European Telecom


Close to the very end of the last year Thinktank Consulting has completed a very exciting project that has been two years in the making. We have successfully finished a very large project and portfolio management implementation initiative at one of the leading European telecom providers.

The company has experienced a significant growth in the number and size of their projects. Currently a typical project portfolio at the organization consists of approximately fifty ongoing large endeavours. As a result of the above-mentioned developments the company started experiencing problems in the areas of resource planning, allocation and management. Furthermore, there are certain issues with proper planning of the projects, adequate project control and performance reporting.

Company management has contacted Thinktank Consulting Inc. to assist them with an independent, unbiased assessment of the situation and provide its expertise in addressing their problems.

Problems and Challenges

Project Portfolio Management

  • Lack of strategic planning/ portfolio management/ project prioritization
  • Lack of strategic resource allocation

Project Management

  • Lack of proper project planning
  • Lack of unified project management methodology
  • Lack of qualified (trained) and dedicated (full time) project managers
  • Poor Interdepartmental communications on projects
  • Lack of proper requirements elicitation, documentation and management
  • Lack of proper and/or fair estimation

Freestyle Comments from Participants

Portfolio Management/Resourcing

  • “We don't have a sense of what the global view of our organizational requirements is"
  • “Top management thinks that the company resources are free"
  • “We should be doing the right projects at the right time for the right price”
  • “We don’t prioritize our projects”
  •  “Our organization is clearly very under-resourced”
  • “Why are we doing this particular project?”
  • “We can’t be everything to everybody”
  • “We do not have a clear understanding of the differences between the project and ‘business as usual’ work”
  • “Projects sometimes get selected for political reasons”

Project Management

  • “Our project management maturity is fairly low”
  • “We are not very consistent with project documentation”
  • “We don’t consider project interdependencies”
  •  “The regular chain of command is frequently bypassed on our projects”
  • “Our business entities are fairly dysfunctional”
  • “There is no single point of contact on larger interdepartmental projects”
  •  “We are a very siloed organization”
  •  “Sometimes we are pressured into providing unrealistic estimates”
  •  “There is no unified approach to projects at our company”
  • “Communications on larger interdepartmental projects is an issue”
  • “We frequently do not produce any requirements (scope) documentation”
  • “We have to manage customer expectations”


In the course of these two years we managed to accomplish the following:

  • Provided project and portfolio management training to approximately 100 employees of the company in order to familiarize them with the PM and PPM basics
  • Conducted  a "Project and Portfolio Management for the C-level"  session for the company executives
  • Developed project and portfolio management processes and templates together with the employee focus group
  • Provided advanced project management training to the company's newly-designated project managers
  • Conducted a "Portfolio Management" workshop for the company's executive team, where we defined project scoring model, balance and strategic fit
  • Developed a "PMO Charter" document that would guide all project and portfolio management processes at the organization in the future.


After about six months the organization has reported the following changes in the situation with their projects:

  • Improved project scoping
  • Improved project planning resulting in decrease of reworks
  • Improved communications between various departments of the company while collaborating on projects
  • No “over the fence” throwing of tasks and assignments
  • Improved estimation efforts
  • Increased project control and accountability
  • First informal discussions about the feasibility and value of projects proposed have been initiated


About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @

Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.