5 Things CEOs Must Know About Project Management

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Chief executive officers (CEOs) who want to prepare their organizations for the future must consider project management as the union of project portfolio management, program management and project management.

The confluence of these three functions can transform a CEO's businesses and enable delivering exceptional value to his or her customers.

Here are five things I think CEOs must know about project management that can help them realize its value:

1. Projects are for business growth and transformation.
Operations are for business as usual; projects are catalysts for growing and transforming business. Project management can deliver business value beyond the triple constraint -- and executive sponsorship from CEOs helps in getting more value with less money.

To realize this value, executives should:
  • Identify and prioritize the projects that align with business strategy.
  • Group and manage interrelated and interdependent projects to deliver expected benefits.
  • Deliver each project on time, within budget and with the expected quality.

2. A Chief Projects Officer (CPO) should oversee projects across the board.

It's important to build agility within the project management system and implement the same throughout the organization. To do so, CEOs should introduce someone, likely a CPO, to oversee the implementation of project management throughout the organization.

The primary role of the CPO is to consistently innovate and standardize processes to ensure even distribution of project management excellence. He or she can also be responsible for building up 'best in class' project and program managers with required specializations. Finally, the CPO can check on the health of all projects and programs, in order to take corrective and preventive actions.  

3. Agile and lean are worth investing in.
Agile and lean project management approaches and techniques can facilitate project success because they address the changing demands of the business world.

CEOs must invest money to continuously improve these practices. And they should consider these approaches as assets to the organization's ability to deliver faster, better and more cost-effective projects. Lack of sponsorship from the CEO could result in organizations losing their edge and speed.

4. Project management is more than a supporting player.
In most organizations, project management processes are not considered as key to business success. CEOs must understand that project management is a core function.

Every function of an organization will have projects. There are projects for employee benefits, supply chain efficiency, customer acquisition, branding, alliances, mergers and acquisitions, strategy planning -- you get the idea.  

CEOs should prioritize ongoing development for project management processes, and leverage IT to build sophisticated supporting tools.

5.  Cultivate project management as a career track.
 CEOs must consider project management as a specialized competency rather than a generic competency.

CEOs can encourage this by introducing career tracks in the organization that will emphasize the skills required for successfully executing small-, mid- and large-size projects. Their support of this career path will cultivate consistent learning in the organization. CEOs should put an internal talent development program in place, too.

What else do you think a CEO should know about project management?

Posted by V. Srinivasa Rao on: November 20, 2012 10:07 AM | Permalink


Todd Stone
Interesting take on how project management fits into the overall business processes at an organization. In my experience project management is not really well understood by senior management and therefore it is not truly integrated into the organization. One other thing that CEO's should realize is that having a projects group to deliver assets to the organization is one of the only ways that the company can really grow. Therefore, I agree with your points 4 & 5....supporting the growth of a strong projects group is one of the keys to growing a business.

Paul Puckridge
I was reading a project management book only the other day, and read something similar to what you put in your article. I certainly agree with the sentiments of your writing.

Saket Bansal , PMP , PMI-ACP
In my interaction with CEOs and business owners i always found that they are well aware about the importance of project management , i think its the middle management who thinks that CEOs are not aware.... but the reality is different. Sr. Management has to practice agile and lean and its worth practicing.... once you practice it gets implemented across the organization.

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