Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:00

No Enterprise PMO Equals Poorly Managed Organization

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

People. Process, then Technology

From her corner office, the new executive decried, "Decentralize the PMO. Let each department be responsible for their own projects." Maybe she had made a pact with another executive for some other bit of power, or it could be she lost a power struggle and the PMO had to go, or possibly she has little regards for project management thinking it is a mechanical, blue collar discipline that methodically follows a recipe to execute each project. Bottom line, she is missing the point of the Project Management Office (PMO)—it is all about business goals. Unfortunately, for the company, decentralized PMOs provide little if any value. They are similar to distributed teamwork—an oxymoron. The concept is illogical.

The Purpose of a Project Management Office

Want to read more?

Business environments change daily making it difficult to keep initiatives aligned with the corporate goals. Without alignment the projects and initiatives fail to deliver value. Our Strategic Alignment: The Key To Project Success white paper addresses these issues and what need to be done to thwart them.

The challenge for any company is defining the goal of the Project Management Office. And, that is predicated on the understanding project management. Project management is more than the science of process, it is about people. Project management is 70%-80% dealing with people, 15%-20% executing process, and 5%-10% implementing technology. If the company's attitude is that project management is all about process, they have no basis for understanding the value of a PMO.

Companies that fail to understand this are easy to find. As the annual executive shuffle occurs, these companies create and disband PMOs at the stroke of a pen. If a PMO does not exist, an executive creates one to improve project success rates. If a PMO exists, it is broken up as the sacrificial lamb to the project Gods. No one takes the time to step back and look at the reasons projects suffer and then create a plan to address those issues. They take action for action's sake. It is easy to do and the justification is equally straightforward, after all, they can look around them and it appears all the other companies are doing it. Well, about half the companies are—ones that built them last year.

The problem is the dearth of competent middle management. Managers new to their positions that must show they are "in charge" and the quickest way to show action and decisiveness is to play musical chairs obfuscating the problem and dispersing blame. This is ineffective, unless the goal is to confuse.

The Successful PMO's Purpose

Image from Motifake.com The effective PMO's objective is ensuring all projects are aligned with, and maintain a focus on, the company's strategic goals. It is a small group working across all departments and upholding project prioritization, marshaling resources based on that priority, and helping project managers remove project roadblocks. In there lies the problem—a useful PMO has power to set priorities across each divisions. For this to work the PMO must be an enterprise-wide group reporting to the CEO or an equivalent authority. The people in charge of the PMO must be humble, rather than power mongering. They must have charisma, good judgment, excellent listening skills, integrity, and accountability. In other words, they have to be a superlative leader.

The Project Manager's Recourse

So, management has disbanded your PMO, what is a project manager to do? The easiest course of action is to wait a year; it will change. Unfortunately, if you have an effective PMO, after a year, you are going to lose it to the new executive's demonstration of prowess as he or she casts its members to the wind. You can protect yourself and the essence of the PMO by adopting three traits.

Live the corporate goals. This is your first challenge. There needs to be a strategic plan at a level of granularity that the projects can be mapped it the plan. Be ready to find projects that have little basis for existence in the corporate goals. Reprioritize, or even canceled, these projects.

Assume authority. Work with your peer project managers to prioritize projects. Tie the stacking to the strategic plan, publish it widely, and adjust it to changes in the business environment.

Level resource utilization. Instead of complaining about resource constraints, resolve them. Create a resource matrix, prioritized by project, and allocate people to each project as needed. When managers or project sponsors complain, get them in a meeting, show your logic, and have them suggest changes—if they can. Assuming you have done your work properly, their complaints will be unfounded.

Tell Us Your Story

We have all been there. You are sure to have examples and can treat all of us to the path you took to maintain your sanity and successfully (hopefully) meet your organization's goals. Please take a few minutes and tell us your experiences with the PMO shuffle.

Read 31518 times

Related items

  • Webinar Topic Example

    Nearly any topic that Todd Williams writes about or speaks on, he can do a webinar. You can find some of his "uni-directional" webinars on ProjectManagement.com (see partial listing below) or you can have a fully interactive session as in the audio clip.  The limitations of the session are based on the tool used. In this example, the ZOOM meeting tool was used and it did not allow recording of the video. The session was recorded on May 29, 2019 at 12:30PM London time (4:30AM Pacific). There were about a dozen people online, about half of them had their video turned on, and the meeting organizer (Jonathan Norman) moderated the call. 

    What Example Webinar: Eliminating Blame Covers

    Here are three uni-directional webinar examples posted on ProjectManagement.com (these are free to PMI Members)

  • Filling Execution Gaps: How Executives and Project Managers Turn Corporate Strategy into Successful Projects
    What Filling Execution Gaps Covers

    Filling Execution Gaps

    by Todd C. Williams
    ISBN: 978-1-5015-0640-6
    De G Press (DeGruyter), September 2017

    Project alignment, executive sponsorship, change management, governance, leadership, and common understanding. These six business issues are topics of daily discussions between executives, middle management, and project managers; they are the pivotal problems plaguing transformational leadership. Any one of these six, when improperly addressed, will hex a project's chances for success. And, they do—daily—destroying the ability companies to turn vision into value.

    Check it out on Amazon or the Filling Execution Gaps website

    Without the foundation of a common understanding of goals and core concepts, such as value being critical to success, communication stops and projects fail.

    Without change management, users fail to adopt project deliverables, value is lost, and projects fail.

    Without maintaining alignment between corporate goals and projects, projects miss their value targets and projects fail.

    Without an engaged executive sponsor, scope increases, goals drift, chaos reigns, value is lost, and projects fail.

    Without enough governance, critical connections are not made, steps are ignored, value is overlooked, and projects fail.

    Too much governance slows progress, companies cannot respond to business pressures, value drowns in bureaucracy, and projects fail.

    Without strong leadership defining the vision and value, goals are not set, essential relationships do not form, teams do not develop, essential decisions are not made, and projects fail.

  • Filling Execution Gaps: Building Success-Focused Organizations

    Executives define vision, strategy, and goals to advance the business. Projects enable companies to meet those goals. Between strategy and projects, there is a lot of work to be done—work that lays the foundation for project and operational success. Through experience and research, six common gaps exist in organizations that inhibit project success—an absence of common understanding, disengaged executive sponsors, misalignment with goals, poor change management, ineffective governance, and lackluster leadership.

  • Get Recognized as a Leader: Four Core Leadership Actions

    Leaders make decisions. This requires a core set of actions to gather the best information, hear out the concerns of others, and making a decision that everyone will follow—even if there is not unanimous agreement with the decision. Although there are hundreds of actions leaders must take, there are four core actions that all great leaders do—listening, dialog and discussion, selling a vision, and eliminating blame. This session will discuss those actions in a roundtable format that we call a "What Would You Do?" session. In these sessions, the presenter acts as a moderator spending 10 to 15 minutes per topic working with the audience talking about what the action is, how to best do it, and hearing from the group on how they have carried out the action. This brings significant audience interaction, involvement, and broader education. 

  • Build Your Leadership Style: Six Leadership Strategies

    Salespeople, Project managers, and business leaders, to name a few, need to change their leadership style for every situation. Situational leadership is more important for these roles than nearly any other role in an organization. Central to this leadership style is commanding the six core strategies—directive, expert, consensus, engaging, coaching, and affiliative. These sets leaders the foundation for building the most appropriate leadership style for the conditions surrounding the current events, people in the room, and external conditions. In this roundtable session, which we refer to as a "What Would You Do?" format, the audience debates the use of each strategy as the presenter poses various conditions and dilemmas that face leaders daily. This creates an educational, interactive and entertaining presentation that builds cohesiveness in your group and relationships that last long after your event.

Leave a comment

Filling Execution Gaps

Available Worldwide

Filling Exectution Gaps cover

Filling Execution Gaps is available worldwide. Below are some options.

 

PG DirectLogo
Limited Time Price $20.99
Amazon logo
Book or Kindle
Flag of the United States Canadian Flag Flag of the United Kingdom Irish Flag Deutsche Flagge
Drapeau Français Bandiera Italiana PRC flag
Japanese flag
Bandera de España
Flag of India
Bandera de México
Bandeira do Brasil
Flag of Australia
Vlag van Nederland
DeG Press Logo
Barnes and Noble Logo
Books a Million Logo
Booktopia Logo
Worldwide: Many other
book sellers worldwide.

Rescue The Problem Project

Internationally acclaimed

Image of RPP

For a signed and personalized copy in the US visit the our eCommerce website.

Amazon logo
Buy it in the United States Buy it in Canada Buy it in the United Kingdom
Buy it in Ireland Buy it in Germany Buy it in France
Buy it in Italy Buy it in the PRC
Buy it in Japan
Book sellers worldwide.

Upcoming Events

Other's References

More Info on Project Recovery

Tell me More!

Please send me more information
on fixing a failing project.

Sitemap