In this editorial we will revisit an article published on CIO.com in 2017 by David Cotgreave, Professional Services Director of Stoneseed, a project management service provider based in the United Kingdom. In this review we will look at the top-level recommendations provided by Cotgreave in the article “Your Project Management New Year’s Resolutions”, then overlay his observations with the benefit of hindsight and perspective three years later. Finally, we will look at some of the ways that utilizing PMO managed services (PMaaS) is able to mitigate the risk of project failure and import best practices into the organization’s Strategic Planning and Delivery.

1. Resolve to be even more of an IT project management office evangelist

One of the key issues that has historically hindered the delivery of successful projects – generally defined as projects competed on time, within budget and within scope – has been that in the IT world project management has an image problem. There are several reasons for this image problem that I will likely cover in a future editorial, however chief among them is the image of the project manager as “task master”. The perception that the primary function of a project manager is to simply copy down a list of things to do and check them off one by one until the project is complete is a reputation that no professional project manager wants to be associated with. In the CIO.com article Cotgreave writes,

“When you’ve nailed the role of your project management office and aligned it with strategic business objectives, IT project successes soar and scope creep reduces significantly.”

I submit the amendment to this resolution should be “Resolve to Utilize PMO Capabilities to Drive the Strategic Plan”. The varied nature of project engagement within the enterprise strategic project portfolio puts the PMO in the unique position to have windows into the silos of activity throughout the organization. Particularly in IT where activities are often service-based, “fire and forget” tasks moving through a workflow defined by an IT service catalog. The opportunity lying beneath the surface is to utilize the PMO as the ambassador (and in some cases referee) to the business and external clients. Additionally, most medium to large organizations are capturing huge amounts of performance data, metrics and KPIs for various reasons. Executives have a great resource in project management office resources to assist in applying order to that data, aggregation and reporting on the data and ultimately incorporating it, along with the standard project management lessons learned, into valuable inputs to the overall Strategic Plan.

Applying PMO Managed Services

Utilizing a managed service provider in the case of the planning and execution of enterprise-level strategic plans provides executive leadership with an opportunity to on-board highly motivated resources that are keen to demonstrate the value of project management to the organization. Motivated by the desire of future business and the establishment of a long term business partner relationship, the manage service provider’s success depends on providing decision makers with¬† solid recommendations, risk assessments and prioritization that will provide the needed clarity within the planning horizon. Finally, the broad experience provided by a PMO managed service provider across multiple verticals has the potential to assist in the development of a robust strategic plan that utilizes best practices from other industries.