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Episode 267: Integration of Project Management and Ongoing Business (Premium)

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Episode 267: Integration of Project Management and Ongoing Business (Premium)In this discussion, Roland Dumont du Voitel (http://www.amontis.com/ - http://de.linkedin.com/pub/dr-roland-dumont-du-voitel/14/9b7/567) and I will be delving into the topic of how an Enterprise PMO - an EPMO - needs to take the perspective of two worlds. That is to say that the EPMO needs to look at both projects and project management as well as the ongoing business. And that the EPMO needs to break down and organize both, so that they can each become an integral part of the company.

Too often, however, this is not part of what the EPMO does. And when it is part of its service, then unfortunately the task often fails.

So please join us in the discussion of what functions an EPMO generally fulfills, why it does indeed need to extend its focus on integrating projects and ongoing business and how that can be done well.

And don’t forget that Roland will be speaking on April 29th at the 2014 Project Zone Congress in Frankfurt Germany. Find out more at http://projectzonecongress.com/ [2019 Update: the template website is no longer available, so we removed the link]

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. 

 

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode # 267. This is the Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner.

And you are listening to one of our Premium episodes. So thank you for your support of The Project Management Podcast™. Your subscription fee helps us pay for our expenses and occasionally also buys a pizza for myself and my wife.

In just a moment, Roland Dumont du Voitel and I will be delving into the topic of how an Enterprise PMO and EPMO needs to take the perspective of two worlds. That is to say the EPMO needs to look at both projects and project management, as well as the ongoing business. And that the EPMO needs to break down and organize both so that they can each become an integral part of the company.

Too often however, this is not part of what the EPMO does and when it is part of its services, then unfortunately, the task often fails. So please join us in the discussion of what functions an EPMO generally fulfills, why it does indeed need to extend its focus on integrating projects and ongoing business, and how it can be done well.

And don’t forget that Roland will be speaking on April 29th at the 2014 Project Zone Congress in Frankfurt, Germany. So if you hear this before April 2014, you can find out more at www.projectzonecongress.com [2019 Update: the website is no longer available, so we removed the link] .

And now, let's bring all of these together from some savvy integration. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Roland Dumont du Voitel, Managing Partner and CEO of www.amontis.com.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Roland and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™!

Roland Dumont du Voitel: Hello, Cornelius!

Cornelius Fichtner: Today, we want to discuss the topic of integrating projects and ongoing business. And your argument is that this is something that an EPMO should be doing. So let's start at the very beginning. What is an EPMO?

Roland Dumont du Voitel: Well first of all and in general terms, an EPMO is an enterprise-wide project or portfolio management office so portfolio management office with scope for the enterprise, business driven, strategic. So highest level.

Cornelius Fichtner: And what are the fundamental differences between a simple PMO and an EPMO?

Roland Dumont du Voitel: Well we have different definitions and levels. The lowest level is more of project office, just temporary support for a project manager. And then we have the differences of being permanent as a support for some line managers. Then you have the level of being permanent but a separate entity that is really second to the line responsibility or department head. And an EPMO is something like an entity, permanent that is on top management level and in my vision, should be at least as well staffed and as mature as is the board of the company.

Cornelius Fichtner: And what are generally the functions that you see in such an EPMO?

Roland Dumont du Voitel: Well in general terms there are always three basic functions that are, it is one to be a sort of center of excellence delivering trainings, coaching, knowledge, consulting support, et cetera. The second is delivery functions doing capacity planning, doing resource planning and management, doing contract management facilitating a number of things. And the highest then or the primary, is then to be portfolio manager supporting to develop strategies prioritizing projects, programs within the portfolios, looking for the governance and giving governance support, et cetera. So these are certainly the three major functions of an EPMO.

Cornelius Fichtner: When we talk about integrating of projects into the ongoing business, what are the problems that you generally see that companies are faced when they are doing that?

Roland Dumont du Voitel: Well I think it's quite funny. When you look at the company, you have in fact black and white I'm sure, two worlds. The one world is the ongoing business. That's what we learned at the university. That's what is managed perfectly because things you know you could really detail them in your planning, in your structures so you have structures in place. You have job descriptions, trainings and everything in order to perform the ongoing business.

If you look with the same level of detail into project management, you see that the second world of temporary work that is meant to support innovation, change, transformation, well overall to guarantee the future, there are bits and pieces here and there. It is not coherent, not consistent. You have project managers that work with different standards. You have here and there a permanent and continuous PMO. You have on different level, the support. In fact it is not really consistent on how you manage, how you detail all these things. You never would work in an ongoing business with a bookkeeping system that allows every department to have its own definition of its profit and loss statements and of different balance sheet items, et cetera. But you allow in this other world of temporary project down to the governance and everything.

And in so far, if you look at these two worlds, on one side, you need to separate them in order to understand to what extent they need to be structured in their environment. And then the problem is to integrate the two. Now if you integrate the two, the question is: What is the role and responsibility of the line management? What is the role and responsibility of the project management? Who is in charge of the future? And in so far, there is a lot of problems that need to be clarified and sorted out and solved in order to have coherent and consistent worlds of temporary and ongoing business and as well have these integrated so that they work together again for one company and not for different orientation.

Cornelius Fichtner: Why do you think that is? Why do you think we have this rigor on one side in the finance department as you have said, but on the other side for all the projects that we do, we're kind of loose and we let everybody do their own thing?

Roland Dumont du Voitel: I think because we don’t learn it differently at the universities or at school. You learn everything about the ongoing business and you learn individual project management and this is just very superficial. When you start your career, projects are something meant to prove yourself, to learn how to manage things as Prince project in controlled environment. So in a controlled world, you can try to show that you are a good manager and then once you are successful, you will be promoted to a line business and you never want to go back to projects anymore because line managers are the career path. Line managers are really the owner of sources, resources, our owner of the company not the project managers.

And so far, it is a career thing and based on something that we learned not well enough although in our world and in the future, I think more than half of everything we do is not ongoing business. It is a temporary something. Most of them may be called projects. Others are maybe just organizing things, an event or so, that could be a project. But in any case, more than half of what we're doing is certainly a project type, more project type than an ongoing type of business.

Cornelius Fichtner: In an email, you wrote to me that when companies attempt to integrate projects into the ongoing business, then that generally fails. Why do you say that?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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