For years now, IT departments of companies have been struggling to execute multiple projects within the given budget and time period. Today companies are all about getting in more business and so, numerous projects run simultaneously, each needing detailed monitoring by the IT department. This has made several departments adopt the PMO or Project Management Offices approach as a means to enhance IT performance, reduce costs, improve quality and speed up the delivery of projects.
How PMOs can help CIOs
CIOs can make effective use of PMOs as they help in determining the structure which leads to standardization in terms of project management and also gives way to portfolio management of IT projects. Another key driver is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This requires the disclosure of investments by companies, including major projects which are likely to have an impact on the operating strategy and performance of a company. This act makes it imperative for companies to keep a close check on the expenditure incurred on a project along with its progress.
According to Andre Spatz, who was a former CIO at UNICEF, the CIO plays a critical role in the governance methodologies related to management of projects. In serving at the CIO position from 1997 through 2006, Spatz made sure that he took the co-ownership of every project along with the business managers whose organizations were accountable for results of efficient project execution.
Case study: CIO Dennis L’Heureux uses PMO for Rockford Health
Like many other CIOs facing similar situations today, Dennis L’Heureux’s IT firm is being burdened with more projects than it can actually execute. L’Heureux, says that they are unable to meet the ever growing demand. He has been serving as the Rockford Health System CIO for the last 14 years. He maintains that business managers have to be consistently told that their demand surpasses the company’s capacity to deliver.
To structure and organize the various projects being handled by Rockford Health, a project management office was created by L’Heureux sometime back. It is the job of the PMO officer to suggest which employee should be put to work on which project, forming different project teams. L’Heureux on the other hand manages the communication with the senior management with respect to the staff required for the various ongoing projects. He also determines the time period for which the services of each of those people should be utilized for the projects allotted.
According to L’Heureux, his role as CIO in project management is a delicate mix of several fields -politics, art, resource identification and the likes. He carefully shadows the business managers who have been given the role of project heads. Their failure makes him accountable and their success makes him bask in glory.
From L’Heureux’s experience, we understand how it is the responsibility of the CIOs of companies to establish discipline standards with regards to project management. They need to communicate the goals and objectives clearly in a manner that is understood by the business managers and the working staff.