Hi, I recently rediscovered this article which I wrote nearly a decade ago, in 2002. It seems like yesterday, but of course, life and times were very different. We were on the cusp of a number of major political, financial, technological and environmental shifts. What were the challenges facing PMs in 2002? And today? Has the PM environment moved with the times? Let me know your thoughts too…. read more
I know I promised this yesterday but instead I spent the time debating with myself about what to say. You see, in recent times I haven’t been going to project management conferences, preferring instead to go to the conferences where the people who ‘use’ project managers hang out. (And just for clarity please note that my use of the terms project and program, manager and director are interchangeable for these purposes – the people other people look to, to get things done).
However, I agreed to speak at the PMI Pharmaceutical project management conference in the US last week and was hopeful that things had changed. That perhaps the conversation would be around delivery rather than process and outcomes rather than tracking, reporting and analysis? read more
Program and Portfolio Management Offices (PMOs) arose in response to a problem with systemic project and program failure.
To the question “How do we improve project and program outcomes”?, we answered, “Improve governance, dictate the procedure of methodology and increase the frequency, content and nature of reporting”. Clearly this was logical, but……
Have we succeeded? Many people argue that in fact the ‘overhead’ hasn’t helped at all. The PMO in many cases is seen as a reporting overhead staffed by ‘police’ who care more about the reports and the paperwork than outcomes.
Executives feel good about all the information, safe in the knowledge that there is sufficient overview of their projects and programs. PMOs have become a safety blanket…until it all goes wrong.
Why are projects and programs still failing? Have we in fact asked and answered the right question? Have we lost sight of the real reason we are here and the real opportunity to add and realise value?
Unless we are perceived to add value we will become a passing fad – and we have too much to offer to let that happen.
It’s not too late. In fact, there is a simple question we can ask that will refocus our thinking and our approach and help PMOs be seen as really adding value.
PMOs can achieve relevance, respect and acknowledged contribution. Who wants to be consigned to history like the quality guys? And who remembers knowledge management? Let’s fight for relevance through contribution – you don’t have to fail.