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The CIO’s Role in Project Management

The CIO has never seen more high priority projects, less staff, and more demands. While the CIO might not have their hand in the operation of every project the IT organization is working on, they are certainly responsible for the success or failure of those projects. This article by Thomas Hoffman looks at what role the CIO has in project management as of today: when demand exceeds capacity, it's the CIO's job to set the scale back to even. Hoffman looks to the insights provided by Dennis L'Heureux, CIO of Rockford Health Systems for the past 14 years. L'Heureux explains how he managed to define his role and support the creation of a PMO to help balance the off-kilter scales of what work was requested and what could be done: To help put some structure and discipline around project management efforts at Rockford Health, L'Heureux created a project management office (PMO) about a year ago. A PMO officer recommends who should be placed on various project teams, while L'Heureux lobbies senior management for the staff needed for different projects, as well as to determine the timeline for utilizing each of those people. L'Heureux describes his role in project management as a careful mix of art, politics, and identification of resources and staff availability. “It takes some bobbing and weaving,” says L'Heureux. “We have business managers identified as the project leaders, and I shadow them. If they fail, I get hung. If they succeed, I get glorified.” The CIO is the key player in the success of project management: they are the person who decides what processes to follow and, truthfully, the only person who can enforce those processes across their IT organization. They are the enabling force in the IT group, but can also be the disabling force if they fail to support strong project management practices.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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