By J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CSM, GWCPM, SCPM | Executive Vice President – Enterprise Solutions, IIL
Many people hate resolutions, and in fact, “resolve” not to make them. But resolutions can help give us a direction for the coming year; at the very least, they can make us think about what we want to accomplish.
So, with that in mind, here are five areas that PMO Directors should think hard about for 2017.
Establish, and keep everyone focused on, key project performance metrics
Project Management Offices (PMOs) exist largely to improve project performance in an organization. So, their worth, or value, is directly tied to how well projects get done. And the only way to know if performance is improving year over year is get the right metrics in place and monitor them constantly. It’s not the quantity of metrics you use, it’s their quality. Sure, you may be using time, cost and scope, but there are certainly others that can tell the real story of improvement. If you can nail these, you stand a good chance of surviving in a world where the PMO mortality rate is quite high.
Beat the “business value” drum loudly and often by zeroing in on benefits realization.
Projects matter. That’s why organizations spend precious time and money doing them. And they do them for the ultimate benefits they are (or should be) designed to deliver. What good is implementing a new CRM system if the sales people don’t use it? It’s not the deliverable that counts; it’s the end result. As you are reviewing project proposals and overseeing execution of critical projects, keep your eye on what the outcome of the project should be—not what deliverables are produced. Keep asking questions regarding outcomes, and your project managers, and others, will get the message. When you deliver benefits, you deliver value.
Keep an eye on how politics can up-end your portfolio and be ready for change.
Brexit and Trump. These two dynamics alone will inevitably cause most organizations to review and reassess how they’re going to do business in the coming years. And that reassessment will result in portfolio reviews with current projects being terminated and new ones created, and quickly. PMO Directors need to be ready for abrupt change: change in direction, change in leadership, and change in project mixes. Will possible financial deregulation cause the need for additional projects? Of course. Will Brexit’s trade and immigration impacts have companies scrambling to change their practices? You bet.
Be the “center of innovation” in projects.
Innovation: it’s an overused and jaded term but it’s never been more important to organizations today. Business models in many industries are quickly fading into irrelevance, and organizations are struggling to survive in light of massive global and technological change. General Electric now bills itself as the leader of a digital industrial transformation with an outpost in Silicon Valley to tap into that rich technological ecosystem. Digital transformation is everywhere. Where’s the innovation in your projects? As PMO Director, search and advocate for those projects that don’t just “keep the lights on,” but illuminate new ways of doing things and that create new products that customers will clamor for.
“Lead the Charge” in Agile
The Agile “bandwagon” is one you may (and probably should) jump on, and fast. Agile is not a fad. It’s here to stay. It’s evolving from an IT-focused approach to getting work done to one used to build cars, jet fighters, and influence clients through more effective marketing approaches. In other words, it is a way of getting work done that can be applied wherever projects exist. PMO Directors need to lead the charge in Agile. Help your organization understand its potential, hire the right coaches to work on the right projects, have people trained, decide on the right metrics and get down to business. Standing by while others take the lead diminishes your role in the organization. There’s no faster way to value—for you, your PMO, and the company—than making Agile a part of how work gets done.
J. LeRoy Ward is a highly respected consultant and adviser to Global Fortune 500 Corporations and government agencies in the areas of project, program and portfolio management. With more than 38 years of government and private sector experience, LeRoy specializes in working with senior executives to understand their role in project and program sponsorship, governance, portfolio management and the strategic execution of projects and programs.