Jun 3, 2014

Transformation, Strategy and Statistics: A Panel Discussion with Gartner and PMI

Posted by Johanna Mickel in Project & Program Management, Governance, Human Capital, Project Management Events, Project Management Office (PMO), Project Management Research, Strategy Execution | 0 Comments

20% of projects transform the business; what are you focusing on?

Today’s panel discussion at the Gartner PPM and IT Governance conference featured Matt Light and PMI’s CEO Mark Langley, along with two practitioners—Claire Rutkowski of MWH Global and James Brown. James is currently with Dupont Pioneer but in a previous role was director of the PMO at Rockwell Automation … a finalist in the 2009 PMO of the Year Award. You can read more about James’ accomplishments at Rockwell in our book, An Inside Look at High-Performing PMOs. It’s interesting how these leaders of top PMOs keep showing up in increasingly high-profile niches!

Matt Light presented a treasure trove of statistics from recent Gartner research around the topic “How to Strategically Align PPM to Focus Transformational Change.” For example, in their study, project spending broke down into three categories:

  • 53% of spending is on projects that “run the business” … those keep-the-lights-on projects
  • 27% is on projects that “grow the business.” Most new products, or facility expansions, fit this bill.
  • 20%, however, “transform the business.” And this is where all the promise and excitement reside. (Naturally. It’s that old Pareto principle at work, again.)

Light suggested that the PMO should “trifurcate” around these three types of initiatives, putting their top intellectual capital to work on that crucial 20%. He recommended an “activist PMO” that becomes a full partner with the executive level in executing strategy.

This is interesting because I just got done poring over our newest research data from The State of the PMO 2014, and it’s obvious that the trend towards a PMO that plays a strategic role is already here. Well over half of PMOs help develop strategic plans; the majority also track strategic initiatives and their benefits. And that “activist PMO”? I think it’s not too different from the “Disruptive PMO” that my CEO Kent Crawford envisioned last year in his PMO Symposium talk (there’s a recap webinar available here).

Mark Langley’s statistics were more broadly applicable to all businesses, not particularly IT. He noted that 61% of companies in the PMI study cited admitted they were “not good at strategy.” And, that 50% of companies don’t “get it” when it comes to project management value: the concept that all strategic change comes from projects.

Hmm. I’m thinking that the 50-plus percent of companies who are floundering around with strategy and who don’t understand the value of PM, are probably the same 50% who don’t employ the PMO to help with strategic planning and portfolio tracking! <wink>

Join us to hear more about PMO trends and research when Kent Crawford presents a new webinar on the topic on June 12.


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