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A better placeIf your EPMO is going to dramatically impact your organization, it has to do much more than manage projects.

Managing projects means things like going to meetings, ensuring dates on the work plan are being hit, ensuring the issue log is updated, etc., etc., etc.  All necessary things, but not really earth-shattering – required things, but not changing the world.

We all know that successfully managed projects are key in successfully delivering for our customers.  But what happens before your EPMO typically gets involved?  How can your EPMO be much more valuable to the organization than it is as simply a manager of projects?

The answer…

Your EPMO needs to help your customers find the right solution – help them answer the questions that they don’t know the answers to – help them solve problems when they have no idea what to do next.

In short, you need to be consultants and advisers to your customers.

Additional things your EPMO should be doing to significantly impact the enterprise include:

  • Conduct process improvement / process re-engineering projects
  • Facilitate brain storming sessions and solution identification sessions
  • Lead your customers to find answers to their difficult questions
  • Take on projects that don’t look at all like something a project manager would typically do

If you only manage projects, you are helpful to the organization, but you are more like a utility that keeps the lights on – nice to have, but when is the last time you went around bragging on your utility company?

You haven’t.

Ever.

The utility company is doing a good job at keeping the lights on, but nothing to jump up and down about.

If you only manage projects, you are helpful to the organization, but you are more like a utility that keeps the lights on – nice to have, but when is the last time you went around bragging on your utility company?

On the other hand, if you help your customers improve their world, help them answer questions they don’t know how to answer, and help them find solutions when they have no idea what to do, you are no longer the utility company.  You are now their trusted adviser that they cannot live without – someone that they will brag about – someone that they will tell their colleagues about.

You will be irreplaceable.

How to do it

In order to become an EPMO that can change the world, you need to hire some different people.  You need people that know how to lead and facilitate large groups to find answers.  You need people that know how to evaluate a process and help define a better one.  You need people that know how to lead customers to find answers, when the answers aren’t apparent.  Those are the types of skills you need.

But you also need more than that.

You also need people that want to change the world.  People that want to make things better.  People that like to lead projects – projects that tackle things that a project manager normally wouldn’t do.

So it takes the right background, the right skills, and the right attitude and approach to work.

Where do you find these types of people?  Frequently they have management consulting backgrounds.  They will have been around for a number of years, and have completed lots of different types of projects – and not just as a project manager, but leading and facilitating projects that help their customers develop answers.

And, as you might expect, they likely are going to cost you more than what you are paying your project managers now.

So the questions to ask yourself are – do you want to keep the lights on, or do you want to change the world?  Do you want your EPMO to be seen as another expense item or do you want your EPMO to be irreplaceable?

My answers?

Change the world.

Be irreplaceable.

That’s what I choose.  What are your answers?

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