The Case for the Chief Project Officer

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

For more years than I care to admit, I have been suggesting to anyone who will listen that organizations will soon be appointing Chief Project Officers, or CPOs. Well some organizations have, but let’s be honest: I wouldn’t have made much money as a fortuneteller because it’s still a pretty uncommon job title.

However, the argument for the CPO is becoming stronger and stronger, so I want to use this executive-themed month at ProjectManagement.com to again call on organizations to consider the case for an executive responsible for project execution. CPO is a convenient title alongside COO, CIO, etc., but in reality I don’t care what the role is called; I do believe that organizations will be the better for having it, and here’s why.

Strategic execution
In the last few years, organizations have become much better at improving the alignment of the strategic priorities and the projects that are undertaken. This usually occurs as part of a commitment to portfolio management--a conscious effort to make sure that project budgets are tied to initiatives that will deliver the best return for the organization. For most organizations, that has meant creating a new portfolio management function--which in turn requires the function to be aligned with the right area of the organization.

The answer is often to roll project portfolio management (…

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