The PMI Global Congress offers a great opportunity to interact with practitioners of project portfolio management (PPM). This year’s event was held in Dallas, Texas from Oct 22 – Oct 25. My time was mostly spent in group interactions and attending presentations. It provided a rich and diverse perspective on what people were experiencing in the project management space.
If I were to distill my group discussions based on key challenges people are facing, they would include:
- Resource management challenges– Many project management systems being used by PMs do not provide enterprise-wide visibility into resource availability
- Implementation challenges– Companies are too often not able to get their current PPM system to work the way they want it to. In most discussions, I heard the phrase “organizational impasse” over and over.
- Challenges with enterprise level visibility– PMOs are spending a lot of time generating reports to use in executive meetings and are looking for a system that provides a single source of truth for reporting
The PMI sessions as always are rich in content. The question is what is relevant to your area of interest. I mostly attended sessions that talked about new project management trends. Here are my key takeaways:
- Agile project management is here to stay and it continues to grow in popularity. However, organizations are struggling to reconcile agile and waterfall projects. Nancy Nee from ESI International’s presentation titled “Agile: Still the Magic Bullet or Do You Need a Blended Solution” explained this problem articulately and offered a clear path that would help Agile and Waterfall projects co-exist and complement each other.
- In order for PMs to be successful, they have to move beyond commonly understood project management activities and take on business analysis functions. Today’s PMs should be able to assess, quantify, and communicate a project’s impact in business terms èthe PM needs to have a clear grasp of Earned Value, Project Finance, Business Case Analysis, and Balanced Scorecard concepts. The presentation on Powerful Project Financials by Sean Wilson and Claire Schwartz, provided practical insights on how this can be achieved. Roberto Toledo’s presentation titled “From Balanced Scored to Project Portfolio” showed how strategic initiatives can be achieved through execution of projects.
- The majority (about 52%) of PMOs are not perceived as being successful. In order to survive they need to re-evaluate their purpose and value to the organization they serve. Jack Duggal’s presentation on “Reinventing the PMO” highlighted this problem in great depth and talked about PMOs evolving into an adaptive and ambient organization. Duggal proposed an integrated PMO framework that focused on the following categories:
- Execution and performance,
- Strategic decision support,
- Governance, and
- Performance management & reporting
All in all, it was a great event for practitioners of project and project portfolio management. There was something for everyone and I for one came away with nuggets of information that would be very useful to me as a PPM professional.