Project Management Experts Advocate Executive Management Support to Function Efficiently

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By Olaoluwakitan Babatunde

Project Management experts have urged corporate bodies who seek to set up a Project Management Office to have organisational intelligence, deep relationship management competencies and top management support in order to successfully navigate projects within the organisation. They stressed that the effectiveness of the PMO must not be assumed, but Project Managers must be ready to provide data and deliver value for efficiency and effectiveness.

This was the position of the panellists at the 64th Information Value Chain Breakfast Forum of Digital Jewels Limited, a foremost Governance, Risk and Compliance Consulting and Capacity Building firm in Nigeria. The forum, with the theme “Delivering Projects within the Constraints: The Role of the Project Management Office,” had on the panel Yusuf Yila, Head, Information Technology Project Management Office, Central Bank of Nigeria; Tosin Agbetusin, Director, Consulting and System Integration Programs, Ericsson; and Adeoye Abodunrin, Pioneer Director, Enterprise Project Management Office, Insight Communications. It was moderated by Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels Limited.
Agbetusin dismissed the widely held perception that Project Management was a commodity that could be bought off the shelf and stressed the importance of having a competent Project Manager. In his words: “Not having a Project Manager leads to many projects not being completed. Project managers improve both the time of delivery and the quality.” He also pointed out that “the key thing for PMO is relationship management skills – there must be someone to look for issues that may arise to tackle them efficiently. When dealing with specific projects, you will require professionals in such fields.”
Abodunrin discussed the challenges faced in setting up a PMO. Adeoye posited the “you don’t start a PMO because you think you think you have become big. There are financial audit challenges. You should check your financial skills before setting up a PMO.” He went further to say PMO required adequate funding and the full support of senior executive management. He admonished: “There must be a culture change. People must see the need for PMO. There must be a continuous engagement and continuous education of all stakeholders in the organisations concerning the PMO. Resistance to PMO will always be there because people usually don’t want to change their approach.”
However, Abodurin said that PMO should not be a financial burden to an organisation, explaining that only corporate bodies with multiple projects required it.  “There is nothing wrong in shutting down a PMO if it’s not justifiable to an organisation,” he added.
Yila was of the opinion that unclear thinking would kill a PMO before it was even created within an organisation. His words: “Language can kill the PMO, when you handle a project in a place you do not understand the language. Another peg back is wrong installation, every PMO will perform at installed capacity.” He advised that there should be a central coordination for a PMO to perform maximally, urging that a PMO mind-set and culture was required in governance.
Abodunrin emphasised four key points of value management as non-negotiable in setting up a PMO. In having a common definition of value, he said “value must be clearly identified, value must be created and must be seen to be created. Furthermore, value must be calibrated and integrated across the functions of performance and most importantly, value must be remunerated.”
Digital Jewels’ IVC forum is a quarterly platform where thought leaders assemble to exchange information, network and share knowledge. Participants at the recently held forum expressed delight at the quality of the platform and admitted that the knowledge gained would assist them to position their organisations better.