The Project Management Institute recently commented that organizations are, in increasing numbers, seeing added value from appointing chief project officers.
According to Rebecca Langdon’s piece on Morgan International’s supply chain blog, the chief project officer (CPO) is responsible for providing governance over an organization’s internal projects. Specifically, he/she:
- Ensures every project supports the right business goals
- Links all projects to business strategies
- Drives efficiencies and linkages between projects
- Manages resource requirements across the project portfolio
- Ensures that every project as an effective project manager
- Implements and oversees implementation of a project management methodology
Chief project officers, which are more common in some industries than others, are sometimes seen as preferable to project management offices because project management offices may not have board-level influence and therefore can’t accomplish their strategic priorities.
Langdon pointed out that chief project officers are in the ideal position to raise the profile of the project portfolio, and to demonstrate the importance of projects to business development and maturity. “The CPO can also ensure that projects are resourced effectively. In organizations in which there is no chief project officer representing the needs of projects, projects might suffer for resources compared with other functions that shout louder,” she said. “A CPO is also a cost-effective option than a full-scale PMO.”
The logical next step in project management’s evolution
Jordan explained why having a project management office and rolling project portfolio management (PPM) into it doesn’t go quite far enough. “At best, the PMO is a subset of the accountabilities of a CIO or COO, and the focus and objectives of those functions reflect that. Sooner or later, that is going to send the message that PPM is not a top organizational priority, which in turn results in a loss of focus and a degradation of performance,” he said.
“By creating an executive role responsible for project execution, an organization sends a very strong message. It is a visible commitment to the importance of portfolio management as a tool to deliver corporate results, and ensures that there will always be a focus on not just delivering those benefits this year, but also on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the process going forward.”
When project management is elevated to this level of importance, it can no longer be viewed as optional by other business functions that may have their own processes. A chief project officer, said Jordan, makes it easier to manage initiatives in a multitude of departments, reduces the organization’s risk exposure, and drives lower costs, better results and a more engaged employee base.
For more, read the rest of the piece at the QuickBase Fast Track blog.