Dec 16, 2008

2009: Thoughts from - and for - the C-Level

Posted by J. Kent Crawford in Governance, Project Management Office (PMO), Strategy Execution | 1 Comment

Whew! These are some challenging times. As I read the news daily I am struck by the fact that our economic woes are primarily management failures - failures in the areas of governance and strategy. This only inspires me to redouble my efforts to spread the word about integrating the strategic level of organizations with the task level via great project management discipline.

As the CEO of a small company, it's hard to fathom how corporate leadership could let an organization come within weeks or months of complete meltdown without making radical changes to avert disaster. Granted, the sheer size of some of the businesses that have failed creates difficulty - the old "turning the battleship" phenomenon - but still, when it comes to strategic and financial failure, the role of the CEO is that the buck stops here. A closer track on whether or not the organization's strategies were working, and workable, would have flagged approaching problems months, if not years, ago. A scoreboard of measures that included metrics beyond the short-term financial ones would have helped, too.

A couple years ago, we envisioned that the role of project management would expand upward and outward from the project level to change the way organizations are run. That's happening, though not as fast as I'd like to see. Governing organizations as portfolios of projects will streamline and revolutionize business, providing a path forward out of our present economic turmoil. As we discussed in our 2007 book, Seven Steps to Strategy Execution, strategy must flow down through the organization and permeate it, with governance bringing methodology, portfolio processes, and resource management into harmony. When we see an enterprise-level PMO orchestrating these areas -  as our research shows is increasingly the case - we know that the organization is moving toward a structure that can potentially achieve great things by streamlining processes, eliminating duplications of effort, and bringing project management discipline to all the organization's strategic initiatives. When I see an organization implement the CPO title - Chief Project Officer - I'm even more impressed. We've long campaigned for this role, putting the discipline of managing by projects at the highest level of the organization.

Turning around failing projects ... faltering organizations ... struggling industries ... a challenged economy ... for CEOs and CPOs, it's a great opportunity to put the logic of project management into play. Where old-school management and processes have failed us, it's time to put some new thinking in place. That should be every leader's game plan for 2009.


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    1 Comment on 2009: Thoughts from - and for - the C-Level

    Paul Lombard says:

      Thanks for your insights. I recently read an article in a business magazine (I believe it was Barrons but am not sure) which suggested that some of the best companies were started or grew during down times. The article suggested that circumstances like this create pools of willing skilled workers and a supply of government money available to start up or enhance operations. Additionally, troubled times create opportunities for those willing to buck the desire to hunker down, and to embrace the opportunities that lie before them.

    Paul Lombard, PMP
    PM College

    Posted on January 27, 2009 at 9:21 am

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