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November 2011

Highlights from Gartner's PPM and IT Governance Summit -- Part 4: Driving PMO Maturity

Driving PMO MaturitySo far, I've talked about the role of the EPMO, effective PMO communication, and how a PMO can drive innovation in an organization -- all key points from Gartner's recent PPM and Governance Summit. In this last post from this series, I'll talk about the fourth and final point: how PMO maturity needs to be a reflection of -- and a driver of -- organizational maturity.

There are two elements to this. First, a PMO must constantly change to adapt to the growing maturity of the organization. But that's just the passive aspect of this. In a more active role, the PMO needs to indeed drive organizational maturity.

So it's a matter of assessing and then matching the current needs and maturity of the organization (something half of all PMOs fail to do according to Gartner), and then laying out a roadmap to help the organization think in terms of business capabilities and strategic execution.

This leads me to a subtle, but related, topic: the name of the PMO. I've consulted to some organizations where a simple name change better reflected the current role of the PMO and created the right mentality to align the organization. For instance, in one organization with multiple PMOs, I suggested the newly create "Enterprise PMO" be called a Project Support Office instead. First, it removed some of the stigma of "EPMO as methodology police" and better reflected the fledgling PMO's goal to support and integrate the other existing (and more mature) PMOs. As a PMO matures, it might be called a Strategic Execution Office, or Business Capabilities Center, or something that reflects the growing scope and maturity of the PMO.

And mature it must. To make a difference in the organization, the PMO can't just "document the battle" -- they must lead the charge. This means driving toward best practices around business capabilities, optimizing projects and aligning resources based on business value, and leading to faster and more innovative initiatives though adaptive models.

Indeed, as Garner validates in their summit kickoff, rethinking the role of the EPMO; reshaping PMO communication; revitalizing the organization toward greater adaptability and innovation; and reclassifying the PMO as a reflection of -- and driver of -- organizational maturity, will reposition the PMO as a key and vital component of organizational success.

Related post: Highlights from Gartner's PPM and IT Governance Summit -- Part 3: Be an Enabler, Not a Disabler

Highlights from Gartner's PPM and IT Governance Summit -- Part 3: Be an Enabler, Not a Disabler

Be an Enabler, Not a Disabler In my last two posts, I talked about the evolving role of the EPMO and effective PMO communication, two of the four key takeaways from Gartner's PPM and IT Governance Summit. This post will cover the third point, driving competitive advantage and innovation.

Gartner states that traditional governance processes and project management systems crush innovation in organizations -- which is the opposite of what a PMO needs to do if it is to be perceived as valuable to the organization.

I think this is an important point -- that executives want, more than anything, competitive advantage, and that this requires taking more risks, not fewer. With this in mind, effective governance needs to enable an organization to optimize investments that balance out the portfolio within the risk tolerances of the organization.

This means, just like a personal stock portfolio, allowing room for riskier and more innovative projects, where there's more uncertainty and planning is incremental but the potential upside is huge.

It also means that processes must be adaptive and move quickly, unburdened by a one-size-fits-all methodology and an overly cautious attitude. If governance processes are bureaucratic and laborious, and if project management methodologies fare no better, then the organization's growth will be stymied as more adaptive and daring competitors pass them by.

PMOs and their associated processes must be enablers, not disablers. And that, I think, is Gartner's key point here.

In the next post, I'll talk about the last key point from Gartner's summit, Driving PMO Maturity.

Related post: Highlights from Gartner's PPM and IT Governance Summit -- Part 2: Effective Communication

Horizons 2011: The Untold Value of a Single Nugget

In my current capacity as a Planview expert-in-residence, I was pleased to be invited to attend and speak at the Horizons User Conference last Wednesday, as well as share my thoughts as a guest blogger. As always, there was much to take in; catching up with old friends, meeting new, first-time attendees (a majority this year, in fact), and sitting in on several of the many sessions.

The Untold ValueIn retrospect, one particular take-away struck me as a consistent theme over my experience at a dozen or so Planview user events. Of the many unique ways that participants gain value from such meetings, perhaps none is more important as finding that one 'nugget of information' that changes the future course of their program and profoundly affects their level of success. I have no doubt that Greg Gilmore talked about this in his closing session on Thursday.

As you would expect, most user presentations offer positive experiences and share amazing achievements as they continue on their portfolio management journey. Certainly inspiration and useful knowledge can be gained from such accounts. But, as we all know, the road isn't always one that is easily traveled; sometimes a presenter offers up tough lessons created by struggle and adversity. Such accounts serve as a reminder about how challenging the implementation of portfolio management can be, or any other major improvement initiative for that matter.

Although it is natural to initially react with a bit of gloom when an organization recounts their struggles, there is a selfless and positive reason why they volunteer their story. If you look around the room, you will probably find that someone is at that very moment having an epiphany; that the resulting knowledge is shining like a beacon to someone else, showing the way forward for their own efforts. Maybe it shows in the look on their face, or how they lean in to their coworker with hurried whispers. Perhaps it is their furious notations or in the questions they ask.

Ultimately, that's what Horizons is all about, what it has always offered to the user community -- the chance to learn and grow from each others' knowledge and experience -- even it if is hard-won. As aptly illustrated by the idea of 'finding a nugget,' the value of one simple idea can be immeasurable, whether it comes in the form of a Meet-The-Expert session, a customer presentation, a networking discussion, or learning of new product capabilities. Even though it seems such nuggets are rare as we work our way through our daily efforts, I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a Horizons 2011 attendee who left empty handed. Hope to see you there next year!