PM WORLD TODAY – CASE STUDY – APRIL 2010
The Transformation of Global Project Management Office
By John Anderson and Marc Michaelson The Glowan Consulting Group
This paper chronicles the evolution of a Project Management Office (PMO) in the Global Information Technology (GIT) function of a large high technology company.Following the acquisition of a major player in their market segment, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and others began looking for someone on their staff that could take the existing PMO and transform it into a "World Class" organization. Given the history and many "legacy" issues facing the organization, this was to be no easy task. An examination of the culture of the PMO indicated that while theyemployed many smart, talented people, there had been no consistent leadership and the organization had no solid identity, charter or brand. To many of their internal customers, the Project Managers were viewed as nothing more than administrative people who were there, not to manage the projects and add value to the business but rather to handle all the paperwork and do the bidding of whoever wassenior in the internal customer's organization. A relatively young, talented man from the recently acquired company (we'll call him Mike) was selected to head the PMO and was tasked with rebuilding it into a force within GIT. Now imagine just being acquired, not knowing much about your new company or any of the people and being handed a task of this magnitude. "Holy Smokes, What do we do nowcoach?????" A little background on the individual selected for the job is likely useful at this point. He was in upper middle management (Senior Director), held an advanced college degree and worked in and around IT for ten years or more. He was what we will call a "Super Star Individual Contributor" even though he held
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Published in PM World Today – April 2010 (Vol XII, Issue IV)
a management position. His style was to take on more work than most, work incredibly long hours and produce high quality work under pressure. Just the man for the job, right? Well, we'll see. As luck would have it, just as the magnitude of the job he had accepted was hitting him, he received a noticeform Human Resources that there was going to be an L3 Leadership Learning Program offered and that he could sign up if he wished. The program included 3 months of individual coaching which involved Mike's immediate manager as well as the input from his team and other colleagues. Knowing he would need all the leadership skills he possessed, and more, to be successful in this major initiative andbeing new to the company, he thought "let's see if they'll put their money where their mouth is" and he registered for the program. Somewhat to his surprise, it was approved (including travel to the location) and he was on his way. This is where our story really begins to get interesting. During the course of the L3 Leadership Program Mike recognized that if he was going to be successful in his newendeavor, he would have to rethink how he would approach the work and how he would enlist the support of his team and others throughout GIT. He knew that being new in his position without benefit of existing relationships, he would have to "win over" many people who did not know him and likely didn't trust him. The old "command & control" method was definitely out. Mike not only participated in thisnew Leadership Development program but also embraced the basic tenants of the embedded philosophy of the program. He instinctively knew that more of his people and others would also have to be brought on board. For his on-going development, he contracted with the Leadership Development firm for an additional 18 months of personal coaching. As Mike's direct reports completed the program, they...