Program and portfolio management: Getting to the next level

In Project management on September 17, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Late 2006, Gartner put out a paper with the above title. While it is old and brief, there are some good points that remain valid. In particular, the comments on evolving the PMO.

Evolving the PMO covered five points – the two I found most relevant were:

Expanding the PMO’s involvement in the area of business case development

  • Involvement in business case development is critical to ensure a common understanding of project objectives among the primary stakeholders (including the project manager).
  • Expectations of business outcomes are also set with senior management at the business case stage. For a project manager this is a big deal if you come in to deliver a project with unrealistic or ‘foggy’ outcomes. I have been in this situation and it was extremely difficult to get the senior management team to back track to reassess the validity of the expected business outcomes. First in best dressed work in project management too.

Expanding the PMO’s involvement in the area of organisational project management

  • Projects generally require people change. Unless you build this in as part of the project, ultimately you will fail. The days are gone where you supply a set of project deliverables and you are done.
  • The business will judge your success on achieving the actual business outcomes and related value.
  • At a minimum, you need to identify the areas of change required, help the organisation communicate and manage change, and assess how successful the organisation has been in embracing the change.

Finally, PMO’s should ideally operate at an enterprise level not within IT or similar silos. At an enterprise level PMO’s have a better chance of providing and ensuring a consistent set of portfolio, program, and project processes, controls, and measures of performance to ensure the success of all business initiatives.


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