Project Management Leadership Grows Up

Project management has eaten its spinach and taken its vitamins. A PM Solutions study supports that the project management office (PMO) has, in the last few years, entered a phase of newfound maturity and influence, with more than half of these organizations now answering to the highest levels of management. The statistics further show that PMOs reduced the number of failed projects by 31 percent, delivered 30 percent of projects under budget, demonstrated a 21 percent improvement in productivity, delivered 19 percent of projects ahead of schedule, and saved companies an average of over half a million dollars per project. All the same, J. Kent Crawford says in an article that it is not time for PMO leaders to rest on their laurels just yet. He finds that there continue to be three top priorities of leaders into the future:

  1. Improve resource planning and forecasting processes.</li>
  2. Implement/enhance core project/program management processes.
  3. Implement/enhance reporting, analytics, and dashboard tools.

Having inadequate project management skills is the top resource management challenge cited in the study, and PMOs sometimes remedy this by contracting outside resources who have the necessary skills and can train employees to gain those skills as well. When it comes to management processes though, there is no replacement for good old excellent project management practice, even if PMOs tend to focus on high-value strategic tasks. Companies with a project management methodology are demonstrably shown to be better at turning around failing projects. The third item stems from the fact that PMOs are often depended upon to be able to explain how a company is doing. The PMOs that want to solidify their strategic role in the company must learn to get the right data and present it to executives in the most helpful way possible. The future seems bright for the PMOs who can accomplish these tasks: We expect to see continued growth in the strategic value of the project management office, especially as portfolio management gains more traction in the enterprise. The strategic PMO leaders in the PM Solutions study are preparing for this by looking to their foundations, as well as by implementing and enhancing performance measurement and governance processes. In fact, 49 percent of the study respondents list these processes—which support excellent portfolio management—as priorities for this year. Project management has come a long way, but it can go even further. Keep popping those vitamins.

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