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Highlights from Gartner’s PPM and IT Governance Summit—Part 1: The Evolving Role of the EPMO

Highlights from Gartner’s PPM and IT Governance Summit—Part 1: The Evolving Role of the EPMO

At the opening session for Gartner’s PPM and IT Governance Summit in San Diego in June, the topic was “What’s HOT and What’s NOT in PPM and IT Governance.” Speakers Audrey Apfel, Donna Fitzgerald, and Tina Nunno focused on different aspects of delivering value in turbulent times, including the evolving role of the EPMO.

Pretty much everything they said aligned with what I’ve been touting as well.

Specifically, they talked about the future of project-based work in general, as well as where PMOs and Governance are headed. There were four key points that jumped out:

  1. The role of the EPMO is changing, with a focus on leading business change and strategy.
  2. Communication is key, and when communicating to executives, it’s better to be interesting than complete.
  3. Traditional governance processes and PM systems crush innovation and stifle the very thing executives are after — competitive advantage.
  4. PMOs need to be adaptable to the organization’s culture and maturity to stay relevant. This must be combined with a focus on progressively driving business capabilities.

Regarding the first item — the changing role of the EPMO — I think we’ve all been seeing this shift for some time now, and it’s good to see it validated in the industry. Projects and programs are growing ever more complex and uncertain, leading to more adaptive project management approaches and a renewed focus on business capabilities.

No doubt, tomorrow’s PMO (and today’s for that matter), needs to shift its focus accordingly in order to remain relevant and vital to an organization. An EPMO is in a unique position to be able to help bridge strategy, execution, and finance in an organization and help align everyone around business capabilities. This, combined with leading the way in portfolio management across project, products, assets, and services can truly make a difference in an organization.

In my next three posts, I’ll comment on the other three key points from Gartner’s presentation; effective communication, driving competitive advantage and innovation, and driving PMO maturity.

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Jerry Manas
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Jerry Manas is an internationally best-selling author, speaker, and consultant. He is frequently cited by leading voices in the world of business, including legendary management guru Tom Peters (“In Search of Excellence”), who often references Manas’s bestselling book Napoleon on Project Management for its insights on simplicity and character, and Pat Williams, Senior VP of the Orlando Magic, who called Manas’s book Managing the Gray Areas “a new path for leaders.” Jerry’s latest book is The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook (McGraw-Hill), which Judith E. Glaser, noted author of Conversational Intelligence, touted as “the first book dedicated to what is essentially the drivetrain of organizations—the effective use of its people toward its most important activities.” Through his consulting company, The Marengo Group, Jerry helps clients maximize their organizational people resources, leading to a grater capacity to innovate, a more value-focused workforce, and an increased ability to adapt to change. He is a popular speaker at events around the world, speaking on lessons from history, resource planning, organizational change, and other topics. Jerry’s work has been highlighted in a variety of publications, including the Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun Times, National Post, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, and others. @jerrymanas (Jerry Manas on Twitter)