Sep 13, 2010

A Solid Foundation Builds A Winning PMO

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Human Capital, Project Management Office (PMO) | 1 Comment

Nearly a decade ago, I conducted an interview with the leader of what was, at the time, a unique PMO on the Center of Excellence model. We had looked around to find an organization that was a "best-practice" leader in the area of creating career paths for project managers. At the time, that organization had many things that other project management organizations only dreamed of: a comprehensive training program and complete executive buy-in.

The PMO director described a program that aimed to get projects off the ground faster and better by establishing itself, in effect, as a community of practice: organization-wide, the project managers would share the same training background and speak the same language.

What became of that PMO?

It's this year's PMO of the Year Award winner.

The IBM Project Management Center of Excellence has taken the top slot in the 2010 competition: you can read all about them, and the three runners-up in a downloadable e-book here - and in a series of posts on this blog this week.

The big surprise, for me, was the consistency between what my interviewee, Carol Wright, had described years ago, and the organization described in the 2010 application by her successor, Deborah Dell. Some things had changed - today there are specific metrics available to establish the effectiveness of the program, and it now has global reach - but, by and large, IBM was continuing to expand on and refine a program that had been established on an excellent foundation.

What were the cornerstones of that foundation?

1. Executive buy-in. From the outset, the culture of IBM was not one of blaming individual project managers for project failures. They began by asking, "How can the corporation provide the support necessary for project managers to do their best?"

2. A serious, wide-scale commitment. Though the staff was small, the reach was corporate, and has continued to expand.

3. A thoughtful description of the project manager's role at all levels of expertise, and the development of an education program that reflected those realities. This is important, because all to often we see professional education carried out the other way 'round: courses developed in a vacuum, and trainees who return from the classroom unable to apply new information to their existing workaday world.

4. A focus on the people who perform projects - not so much on tools or methodology or structure.

The e-book describing the awards program for 2010 can also be viewed on SlideShare:

Tomorrow: The PMOY Awards first runner-up, The Doe Run Company of St. Louis , Missouri.


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1 Comment on A Solid Foundation Builds A Winning PMO

office 2010 professional product key card says:

office 2010 professional product key card…

[...]IBM PM Center of Excellence Wins 2010 PMO of the Year Award[...]...

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

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