Jun 8, 2009

PMOs Moving Up the Ladder: Blessing or Curse?

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Project & Program Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Site News | 2 Comments

Our PMO Award winner and finalists had their day in the sun in Boston, and the brief case studies of their achievements have been posted on the PM Solutions website, for those of you who weren't able to be with us at the awards ceremony.

It's an interesting thing about these case studies; this is the fourth year we have sponsored this award, and each year I've pulled together a story from the application materials, checked with the PMO Director, and gone straight to press with it ... oh, but how things have changed in 2009!

This year each of the case studies went though more than one level of review at the PMOs' companies - from legal to PR, and up the chain to VPs of various stripes, our humble few pages of copy were vetted, critiqued, corrected and revised. At first this just frustrated me, but then I realized: for the first time in the award's history, the upper echelons actually care what is being said about the PMO.

And that, my friends, is progress.

Yet ... weigh in here, project managers ... although PMs have for decades said they wanted greater visibility in the organization and more executive involvement ... now that this is a reality in many companies, I'd bet that visibility is a two-edged sword. Yes, you get the praise and maybe even the funding you deserve. But the presentation of Paul Ritchie's quoted in yesterday's post from Kent Crawford tells another side of the story: visibility also means being held accountable for our lapses, and scrutinized on factors we perhaps had not even thought of.

I'll be interested to hear from those of you who find themselves visible ... and nervous ... as well as those who are basking in the spotlight.


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2 Comments on PMOs Moving Up the Ladder: Blessing or Curse?

Chris Chambliss says:

I am a PMO VP with visibility across our enterprise in front of 4 presidents and CIO, CFO, COO and CEO.  Has my organization proved itself, yes.  That’s why the visibility is there, but more is being expected these days that is stretching the boundaries of my team.
We are able to prioritize a myriad of projects in a group setting with all 8 of these Execs using our innovative dashboard, that’s huge with this group.  But with that visibility comes the expectation that our PMO will resolve conflicts between the other Exec members, reach down in to their orgs and sift through complex business problems and guide the business on which programs to take on next.
Fun, but that’s a bit too deep and I’m pushing back and helping the Execs realize THEY have to be a bigger part of this process and understand where in their org depths these program requests are coming from.
It’s ultimately a collaborative effort because when the spotlight is shining on my team for too long it starts to burn.

Posted on July 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

Anand says:

Hi Chris,
I have recently joined a PMO and was part of the meetings where they used to review projects. But it seems that they are doing so in multiple forums. The top management would want to consolidate the projects across the delivery areas and then review them. I have a feel that you have such dashboard in place that matches our requirement. Could you please throw in some ideas for me please that I should take care for creating such a dashboard?

Posted on July 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm

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