Project Management

PMO Directors Should Think Like Executives

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Closing the gap between initiatives and strategy is a hot topic among PMO Symposium 2013 attendees and executives alike. But one of the creators of Balanced Scorecard -- keynote speaker Robert S. Kaplan, professor emeritus, Harvard Business School -- devised an elegant solution: Organizations should be able to describe their strategy in 50 words or less. Keeping it concise makes it easier to map out how that strategy connects to measures, targets and initiatives.

That kind of focus on strategy should be happening right out of the gate. Ed Hoffman, PhD, CKO and APPEL Director at NASA, a PMI Global Executive Council member, suggested in a panel discussion that PMO leaders ask: "What's the problem we're trying to address in our organization and what are we doing that really helps?"

"The solution doesn't have to be elaborate and high-tech," said Ruth Anne Guerrero, PMP, senior vice president, PMI Global Executive Council member TD Bank, N.A., and head of TDBNA PMO. Complex solutions may actually distract more than help, said Tony Gayter, vice president, IT and strategy, HP, a PMI Global Executive Council member. "Pick six metrics that really matter. Don't overcomplicate it."

Taking a deeper dive into PMI's Pulse of the Professionâ„¢ In-Depth Report: The Impact of PMOs on Strategy Implementation, PMI's vice president, IT Frank Schettini said high-performing PMOs share three qualities: 

  1. They create a project management culture at their organizations. 
  2. They continually evaluate the PMO's performance. 
  3. They evolve and improve through knowledge management and change management. 
The most successful PMO directors think and communicate like senior executives, Mr. Schettini said.

Part of that comes down to a shift in language, said keynote speaker and author Daniel Pink. "This is where smart people often go awry," he said. "They use their own language instead of that of the people they're persuading. Use the language of the C-suite when you need to 'sell' up. Convince less technical people with less specialized jargon."

Mr. Pink also recommended that PMO leaders learn to curb their power. "You'll get better results by understanding others' perspectives and finding a common ground." 

Read more from symposium.
Posted by cyndee miller on: November 18, 2013 10:59 AM | Permalink

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