For the PM, the customer should probably come first. Your CEO, your CIO, your CTO, etc. all need to be concerned about the forward advancement of the company. I get that. But in the project management world, the customer is everything. And customer satisfaction is everything. We have our ways of doing things, and the profitability of our project is important as well is the revenue we generate through add-on work like change orders. But customer satisfaction is critical – and that’s where there can be a disconnect between project management and our C-level leadership. Maybe the CEO should become a project manager for a week. They might get it then.
The PM infrastructure is important to the project client. How we run our projects is important to our project clients. What I mean here is consistent delivery, consistent methodology, and consistent tools. Consistency breeds customer confidence and satisfaction. That’s why we need a project management infrastructure and the C-level leadership needs to understand that and support that. The PM infrastructure needs their buy-in and support to be successful and ultimately it is incredibly important to the organization that the projects are successful whether the CEO and staff realize it on a daily basis or not. They will care very much in the long run.
It really does take input from many areas of the company to get the project done right. The project manager needs to be connected. And he needs access to important info in different departments of the organization. Accounting for financials. Legal for compliance. The list can go on and on. Even more reason why the project management infrastructure needs the support of the higher ups. The PM needs to know that when he goes to ask for certain info or to get help with decisions that must be made, he will get it.
The project manager and PM infrastructure needs to be empowered. This goes with the last one, but a step beyond. Important decisions need to be made. And sometimes with less than all the information available. Waiting for people and info to be available may mean the difference between a project success and failure. The project manager must be empowered to make such decisions and the PMO director and the entire PM organization needs that same empowerment. The C-level leadership must step it up to ensure the PMO has that in order to be successful. The PMO may not seem that critical, but it is.
Summary / call for input
Our organizations’ senior leadership has their own job to do. But that doesn’t negate or even override the importance of the PMO and what those in that organization do for the company’s customers and for the financial bottom line of the organization as a whole. Those projects – for many organizations – are the lifeblood of the company. I led one for my first employer that was their biggest – without it the company would have floundered and possibly gone under…it was that big…$50 million. These projects drive the company in many cases.
What about our readers? What frustrations have you found from C-level knowledge of the PM practices? What support or lack thereof have you experienced?