Moving PMOs to think big

Read time 2min 40sec

Project managers play an important role in ensuring a company's strategy translates into action, yet they are still largely excluded from the 'strategy table'.

This is the message Dal'ene Grobler, PPM executive consultant at Project Portfolio Office (PPO) Cape Town conveyed to delegates attending the recent Gauteng PMO Forum held in Sandton.

"The 2015 PwC Global PPM survey," states Grobler, "notes that little has changed in the previous ten years prior to the survey being released, in the way programmes and projects are executed and delivered."

Adding in the past two years since the report was released the status quo remains the same.

"The Global PPM Survey outlines the disconnect between executive teams and project managers. An opportunity therefore exists for project managers to play a bigger role in leading and delivering their services; at the same time connecting better with the executive team, and vice versa," she says.

Changing ways

Grobler suggests ten steps that PMO executives and leaders could follow to help change the way projects are conducted:

1. Optimise your portfolio to maximise return.
Make decisions using clear methodology, objective criteria and quality data to help ensure the most important strategic programmes are prioritised.

2. Be flexible, change faster.
As new business and programme challenges arise, PMO leaders can help their organisations adapt quickly by adopting a more flexible approach.

3. Empower your people to deliver success.
Provide the right resources, training and tools.

4. Connect the executive team to programme delivery teams.
Results will improve if there is a closer understanding and working arrangement between the two teams.

5. Measure and address the harsh facts to maintain direction.
Programmes must measure progress, identify risks and tackle the difficult issues, changing course where necessary.

6. Embrace and encourage experience.
Experienced team members are equipped to question, analyse and challenge therefore assist the executive to avoid making ill-informed decisions.

7. Revisit the role of the project function.
Project management professionals have a lot more to offer as strategists and advisors.

8. Adopt an agile (flexible) approach to meeting the challenge of change.
Being able to respond to a constantly changing environment requires being closely attuned, not just to the company, but to wider economic, social and political factors.

9. Foster a culture that embraces change.

Change does not necessarily have to be difficult and embracing continuous change secures the viability of an organization. Fostering a culture of continuous improvement is however, a cultural shift.

10. Recognise the importance of change management

This is not an optional extra - it is a crucial business objective that must be effectively cascaded throughout the whole organisation in order to meet the challenges ahead.

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