Project Management OfficeProject Portfolio Management

The Long-Term and Strategic Side of Project Management

In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Elizabeth Harrin considers a theory being discussed about the future of project management. Right now, managers spend the great majority of their time on operational concerns, with only a bit of time leftover for project sponsorship, planning, etc. But over the next few years, these priorities are expected to swap in importance. Harrin considers the implications.

Plotting Moves

First of all, while the significance of project work is clearly underrated, that does not mean the significance of operational work is especially overrated—somebody still has to keep the lights on. That means either operational processes will have to become streamlined to accomplish more with less work, or managers will have to delegate some of the operational work to others. Both are reasonable possibilities.

Once the script is flipped though, and PMO and portfolio leaders are spending more of their time squarely on project work, they will have to think even more strategically than before. As Harrin explains, a PMO leader must do many things, including standardize methodology, ensure there is a prioritization process, and support the use of a good project portfolio management collaboration tool. And moving forward, leaders must do even more, including the following:

  • Finding the minimum viable processes, allowing skilled and experienced staff flexibility within the minimum common practices.
  • Strategic dialogue and decision-making so that the right projects make it through the prioritisation process.
  • Talking to people about how they do the job and what they want to do better but can’t today, for whatever reason. And then looking at how you can make those reasons go away.
  • Forcing discussions about prioritisation so that it isn’t overlooked or half-done.

Sometimes, just deciding the right work to be doing is challenging work all by itself. For more thoughts, you can view the original post here:

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