Problems without a CPO
The implementation of a computer-based project management capability imposes
a need for special skills. It is often assumed (erroneously) that all managers
and senior practitioners possess these skills. In the typical IS organization,
we tend to designate people such as Senior Systems Analysts as Project Leaders,
assuming that they will capably undertake the role of work manager, resource
manager and project manager. Yet this overlooks several impeding conditions.
- Project management skills are weak or nonexistent.
- The Project Leader views self as a technical leader and concentrates on management
of the technical content of the work. Furthermore, the measurements (and rewards)
may be more aligned with technical success and management of resources (which
are more easily and visibly measured than "project" success).
- The Project Leader is embedded in a functional unit, while the work crosses
functional boundaries. It is difficult to eliminate or overcome biases, or for
the Project Leader to persuade other functions to put aside high priority work
for their projects.
Similar theory exists in engineering, manufacturing and other type organizations.
Just change the job titles.
It has been my experience that a computer-based project management capability
cannot be developed and implemented by committee (unless that committee is operating
under the leadership and direction of a recognized project management function).
The implementation of a computer-based project management capability involves
five phases: Methods (practices), Tool Selection, Training, Implementation and
Audit. All of this must be accomplished under the direction and coordination
of the Project Office.