What Do Executives Want From a PMO? One Word: Sizzle

ExecutivesA famous West Coast steakhouse serves remarkable food. Each steak is carefully placed on a 600 degree plate along with a small pat of butter. As the servers carry plates to the tables, the patrons hear the telltale sizzle and look up to see a juicy steak go by. They sell a ton of steak. They sell the sizzle.

So, what did the steakhouse discover that their competition didn’t? Simple — how to not be boring. You can’t be a leader by selling steak like everyone else. You have to be different.

PMOs are no different. Show an executive some sizzle and they’ll pay attention.

Work plans, issue logs, and status reports bore executives. They have no sizzle and they certainly don’t sell any steak.

What do executives want? They want to know that their projects are on-time and on-budget. They want to know how much projects are really going to cost. They want to know that scope, issues, and risk are aggressively managed. They want advance warning before things go sideways. They want it done cheap and they want it done right.

Here’s The Sizzle

Demonstrate a PMO’s ability to deliver metrics that matter. Provide heat maps that pinpoint future resource constraints by skill set. Create Earned Value metrics that show the program’s schedule and financial performance six months in the future.

Most PMOs are over-engineered and burdened with bureaucracy. Forms, tools, processes, and methodologies are important, but are only a means to an end. PMOs are notorious for getting bogged down with paperwork while issues accumulate that cause projects to slip.

How can you inject sizzle into your PMO? Next week, we’ll explore how to match people, processes, and technology to make it happen. This is the pat of butter on the PMO’s plate.

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