This final version
of this guest paper was submitted on March 11, 2023. It is
copyright to Robin Hornby.
Published here April 2023.
- The Provider. Project managers have naturally looked
within their service provider organization for project support.
Eventually in the 1980s, the project management office (PMO) was
introduced to support all corporate projects. PMOs now vary in
degree of authority, from passive to active, but most will provide
help with techniques, adherence to standards and procedures, and
a framework for project operations within the service provider.
A more active PMO would also be responsible for managerial activities
such as reviews, audits, approval of specified project deliverables,
and performance assessments. PMOs operate as proponents for methods
designed to achieve project objectives, but still only carry authority
within the provider, whether vendor or in-house, the owner is
unaffected. Though there are uneven results, a well-implemented
PMO should make the PM believe their provider is aligned with
project objectives. It certainly should not make progress more
difficult. (Most recently the position of delivery manager has
aimed at a similar role with increased accountabilities and direct
supervision of project managers.)
- The Owner. The notion of a project sponsor was formalized
around the same time as the PMO and was the first concrete attempt
to identify management responsibility for projects outside of
the project manager and the provider's organization. The generally
accepted function of sponsorship is to assume "ownership"
of the project, provide the financing, and to take responsibility
for key project decisions. Enlargement of the project orbit to
include sponsorship was a major advance because project success
requires the participation of the owner. Although the sponsor
role is now common, a further step is needed to formalize the
sponsor's responsibilities, like the project manager, so that
management is harmonized, and project execution is more consistent.
By the same token, the project provider must become more responsiveness
to business priorities and accept responsibility to provide project
reporting tuned to the needs of the business.
- The Organization. The last real advance in the project's
sphere of influence was to acknowledge the presence of project
stakeholders anywhere within the organization (or third parties).
Their role is defined as having an interest in the outcome of
a project. This expansion of project engagement is significant
because it involves the organization as a whole, though this alone
is insufficient to achieve full alignment because it fails to
acknowledge the responsibilities of stakeholders as well as their
rights and interests.
True stakeholder collaboration will expand their engagement
beyond being "interested parties" and will redefine everyone connected
with the project as responsible collaborators.