My intent for this paper is to outline my plan to develop and implement a corporate Project Management Office (PMO) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) strategy and capability. My goal in the design of this PMO is to develop a structured avenue in which to manage projects and improve the management of the enterprise through portfolio management thereby linking projects to corporate strategy. I also want it to be more than the mere establishing of an office that creates reports but its vision and purpose is to infuse a cultural change throughout the organization that maximally supports the objectives of this enterprise. Absolute attention must be focused on the portions of the strategic direction of the organization that deal with the project management function.
A cardinal rule in this process is to resist the urge to throw a PMO software solution at any or every problem that rears its ugly head. Too much focus is often placed upon the PMO tool. While tools can be an effective method to address and solve certain problems that may arise, the tools will most likely lead to failure if used alone when the underlying problem has not been identified.
1Lee Merkhofer Consulting outlines 7 keys to implementing Project Portfolio Management. These keys are as follows: (1) embrace the principles involved, (2) choose and approach that fits your situation, (3) secure executive support, (4) establish governance, (5) create a value-measurement framework, (6) institutionalize effective process, and (7) follow a road map for success.
1Merkhofer, L. (2007). Implementing Project Portforlio Management. Retrieved August 13, 2008, from Prioritizing Projects and Optimally Allocating Resources: http://www.prioritysystem.com
Issues and Readiness for Change
It has already been established that the new CIO is a strategist that envisions moving the enterprise to the next level in terms of ROI, IT Governance and strategic planning. One of our first challenges will be to staff the project management area and develop a plan for capability improvement. To improve the organization’s project management capability there would need to be a concerted effort on several fronts. I have identified five interrelated areas to address:
• Project Portfolio Management (PPM)
• A standard practice or methodology for project management • Personnel training in a sustained manner
• Establishing an enterprise project management tool
• Aligning with a PM maturity assessment approach for continuous improvement.
In terms of politics and influence, many decisions have been made prior to this PMO initiative. There have been some outcomes considered favorable but more failures are fresh in the minds of the constituents than successes. Although the failures are there, most people are probably comfortable with the existing or non-existent processes. In introducing this change, a level of transparency is evident and required, a situational element guaranteed to create a level of discomfort for many. This discomfort is accompanied and often fueled by fear of change. This fear creates a tide with which we will have to fight against. We are one step ahead, though. We have leadership that has decided that change is important and with visible c-level commitment we are off to a running start. Our desire is to create an appetite for change that is both contagious and filled with expectancy.
Timing and careful planning is imperative in an undertaking of this nature: organizational and cultural change and acceptance. The process to introduce change does not have to be harsh or confrontational. We can begin by concentrating on the establishment of a PM standard for practice and a formal training program for all of the company’s project managers, IT Managers and key project team members. We want the PMO to be seen as a provider of project management services in addition to leading the overall change initiative.
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