Executing your strategy: 2014 Project Management Office – Your PMO philosophy and culture

Last week we discussed driving strategy to projects. You can read about it here. This week we want to take  a few words and talk about the philosophy and culture behind your PMO.


/fəˈläsəfē/ - a theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.

Attitude is a key word in the context of this post. The philosophy behind your PMO clearly has an impact on what it becomes and what it accomplishes. If the philosophy is one of mechanics – let’s get as much as we can through it and out of it – that will dictate one set of outcomes, which will, in turn, influence culture. Another attitude is one of quality and precision. This does not mean you need a perfect outcome. It does force you to concentrate on the desired outcome and the work needed to reach it.


/ˈkəlCHər/ - the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.

Organizations and teams, ultimately, are social groups. There is commonality as well as daring independence within these groups. Philosophy and culture are intrinsically linked. It is clear that the philosophy that leadership adopts will inevitably influence the culture. What type of culture do you seek? There are many articles out there on this topic. Many. From my perspective, a project management culture should have the following:

  • Uphold a begin-with-the end-in-mind focus. The late Dr. Stephen Covey drove this terminology into our lexicon and rightly so.
  • It’s not about the project manager. It’s about the project and the work.
  • It’s not even about the result. It’s about the work; good things follow good work focused on providing good for all.
  • Stop-and-think: Take a moment during the project and ask, “Is this is the highest and best use for us, our customers, and our community?”

Strategy to projects and philosophy to culture. Next time: Your PMO tools and talent.

2014 business plan execution waits for no one…or no date

Take action now. A small step. A minor gesture. Your 2014 plans, though large and ambitious, are made up of many small components. Don’t wait. Here are some quick tips:

  1. Set a date in 2013 by which you will have all the items listed herein in place.
  2. Enumerate your projects, listing kickoff, interim, and final dates; also, make sure that status meetings or briefings are scheduled separate from senior management and departmental meetings.
  3. Assign resources – project sponsor, manager, and team members.
  4. Develop a project management portal to house documents, conversations, and timelines.
  5. Prioritize the projects and/or confirm priorities set during the initial planning phase.
  6. Communicate to the rest of the institution that the plan is underway.

The final tip is important. It includes not only employees but Board and supervisory or executive committee members. Don’t hesitate. Act now.