Oct 13, 2011

Nationwide Insurance: Centralized IT Project Management Scores Big

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Culture & Change Management, Project Management Office (PMO) | 0 Comments

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Nationwide Insurance's IT function found that, while a PMO can improve project delivery, ten or more PMOs scattered across the enterprise, with over 300 project managers all pursuing projects in different ways, led to inefficiencies.

The improvements in enterprise IT service delivery realized over just two years were impressive enough to garner this company's new, centralized PMO a finalist position in this year's PMO of the Year Award.

According to Nationwide's Maria Urani, VP of Enterprise IT Delivery Services, the key to success was  committed sponsorship at the C level. "Our CTO (senior vice-president Guru Vasudeva) and CIO (senior VP Jim Korcykoski) are both very excited" about the recognition Nationwide has received.  She is quick to credit them with providing the clout that moved the project of transforming IT project management at Nationwide forward.

Her advice to those attempting a similar centralization? "What is really important is getting roles and expectations defined, both for the roles themselves and those who work with them. You need to communicate "what's in it for me?" answers as well, for both the associates and partners in other functions. Why will the new structure work for them? Why is it better? Keep this message consistent!"

Urani also noted that self-examination was a key first step to designing a structure to support project management -- whether in IT or any other function. "You have to know your service offerings, including the ad hoc ones. We published a list, laminated it, shared with with partners throughout the company."

Like any major organizational change, the centralization of over 300 project managers under one PMO met with some resistance. Says Urani, "Nationwide's culture had to change; people had to give up their desks and come out of ther comfort zone." One way they countered resistance was to make sure that project managers had the tools they needed to work effectively. "Blackberries for everyone!" Urani laughed. But she's not joking: by immediately implementing ways to measure satisfaction with the changes, the PMO was able to ascertain that 90% were happy with the program after a year.

For more details, check out the description of Nationwide in the PMO of the Year Award ebook.

Next: California Technology Agency strives to make projects work for the public - an interview with the CTA PMO team.


      No tags.


    (12 votes. Average: 2.5 out of 5)


    No comments yet. Be the first one!

    Leave a Comment

    search blog:

    RSS Feed

    Subscribe to our RSS Feed

    Most Recent Posts
    Blog Authors

    view all authors

    Blog Archives

    Other project management blog sources: