At a recent lunch with a CEO, he mentioned to me he was requiring all of his execs take a one-day Agile training, being a PMO Director, I loved this requirement. I was always excited when I got a chance to train execs on Project Management Methodology - those were always my favorite classes to teach when the opportunity presented itself. I realized that at the successful companies where I had worked, the C levels had a basic understanding of project management. I believe this contributed to overall company goals in the following manner.
- Scope creep often has and can derail a project. With many clients scope creep has occurred at the exec level. “Our CEO just decided we needed to add this…” According to recent polls – only approx. 2.5 percent of companies complete 100 percent of their projects successfully. Odds are not in your favor, so having executives who understand the process of scope creep and how it affects projects, contributes to the overall success of projects.
- The executives understand the risk factor when moving quickly to accomplish large goals or projects. Technology changes at a fast pace. I can spin up a few VMs and add Storage in a matter of 15 minutes or less in a cloud environment. Expectations of service delivery have changed over the last 10 years. I understand when the CEO wants to give the team a crazy deadline to deliver the latest and greatest. Yes, teams can move fast with DevOps and Agile but in moving fast the CEO needs to understand there is risk. Having a CLevel exec at the top who understands the techniques of fast tracking and crashing is essential in communication and understanding the risks/costs involved in each technique. When I show up to an executive meeting with a risk register to discuss, it helps if they have been through the process previously.
- Over 70 percent of a group of IT and business professionals reported that their business was not aligned with project goals. Having executives who understand how to align project/business goals is essential for overall company success. Project Management can’t solve all the business problems that occur, but solid project management practices can help keep business on track. The alignment of overall business goals and project management makes for a unified staff. When everyone is on the same page daily, your chances of successfully hitting your goals multiplies.
Project Management often has tentacles into the whole organization and knows best how to implement change within an organization. They often bring different and difficult teams together and strong project management champions communication throughout the organization – similar to many C level positions. These are just few points to emphasize the need for education within an organization around project management and alignment at the C-level.