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Practice Areas: Aerospace and Defense, Innovation, Leadership
How can a Functional Organization benefit of PM taken a department lead?
What can a PM bring to a department that works almost exclusively is operational and not project focus. Moreover the type of work is intelligence ... IMINT, GEOINT.
Any ideas?
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The very first challenge a PM would face in a functional organization is that there will always be a priority placed on keeping lights on and performing Business As Usual Activities.

They will have a boss whose main priority is to concentrate on Operations as well.

So whenever the PM tries to push the project envelope, they will get a push back from their boss or other staff members

A PM can bring in Innovation and Influencing skills to highlight the importance of projects , especially in introducing improvements to existing operational practices.
Is there a technology component that can make operational life easier? Can a new Tool or Business process be introduced to improve efficiency?

GEOINT and IMINT are highly technical and specialized fields and the Project Manager would benefit from having a very good overall knowledge of these technologies. If they have a good grasp of these technologies, They will be able to influence the organization better in showcasing the benefits and influencing the sponsors.

I agree with Deepesh. As an IT consultant I've often worked in operational organizations such as data centers. The only real impact you might have is to identify and define projects that will improve the department's operational practices. However, you'll have to define the project and present to the department head, and define him or her of its worth. In particular, you’ll have to show how the project work can be performed without jeopardizing the operational work.

I am frequently in that situation and struggle with two issues. We have very clear project processes but our operations processes are not so clear. When invited to help with an operations problem, our PMO advises to frame the problem as a project and apply project processes, because those are the tools we have. The two issues: First, our operations folks do not document their processes very well. One thing we can do is to call this out as we help them fight the fire and perhaps we can later frame a project to help them define and manage their processes better (working on this). Second, the departmental budgets include all their work, including the mini projects we are invited to assist with. They are reluctant to track the "project" budget separately, they just want the work done. In order to use PM processes effectively, we need to include the budget. Otherwise we are running a three legged race with only two legs. We are slowly making progress with this and encourage the functional leads to carve out a part of their departmental budget to track performance. Collecting performance data and lessons learned from these mini projects should help them build a performance history to then improve their processes.

Thank you guys.
In fact I am about to go to an interview and besides the typical answers to our CV, I wanted to establish a view of what I would do if i got the job... indeed there are always something that can be improved. I need to study a bit more to give a very good explanation.

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