What’s the one
skill every project
Leadership, the ability
to guide people to
What’s the best
you ever received?
Know yourself and
take control of your
you’re trying to create
you have to have
But you can’t
if you fight with your
clients or colleagues.
What’s your favorite
I love cycling, and on
weekends I bike in the
mountains. It gives
me energy to face the
challenges of the week.
In Brazil, we’ve been facing tough times economically
and politically, so we want to ensure that our projects
deliver the right benefits using the right resources.
seeing the whole picture. For example, the manufacturing unit asked to buy a new machine, but without
an analysis of what the best machine would be and
what benefits it would bring to the entire company.
Business-unit leaders were using their intuition to
choose projects, not making a rational business case.
As a result, there were projects that weren’t delivering the right benefits to the group.
How did the PMO respond?
We changed course. Before our focus was on
delivering projects, but in 2014 we decided that
we would look at the benefits realization of every
single project. The PMO had to deliver benefits,
not just more projects.
So we implemented portfolio and change management practices, and a business-case analysis for every
single project. After that, we decided to implement
another PMO, a corporate PMO, that would be
responsible for corporate projects only—the projects
seen by the shareholders as contributing the most
to strategy—and to ensure those projects’ benefits
are realized. We also started to develop a culture of
Describe a couple of examples of corporate
and non-corporate projects.
We’re overseeing 15 corporate projects. One is the
implementation of a sales and operations planning
(S&OP) methodology. Its main objective is to make
the company more productive and make better decisions about what to produce, when to produce it
and the amount of investment needed to produce it.
Another corporate project is structuring all the business units so that they’re in legal compliance. When
you’re not in compliance with the Brazilian government, you have to pay huge fees—a percentage of
gross profit every single month.
We have about 60 to 70 smaller, non-corporate
projects throughout the organization that are overseen by other PMOs, such as the IT PMO and the
product-development PMO. They’re responsible for
the business units, and I report to the executive suite.
Does each PMO have its own set of project
We decided not to have the project managers report
to each PMO but to the business leaders, the directors and managers of each business unit. Stronger
relationships get built when they work together that
closely. Of the 16 project managers, six work on
corporate projects. And we say “project leaders,” not
“project managers.” Since 2010, we have been facing change after change, so we need people to act as
change agents and as leaders.
How do you measure the success of the
PMO’s focus on benefits realization?
We identify the business indicators that the C-suite,
the board and the owners use to determine the
health of the business, and then we connect them
with benefits realization. We have different kinds of
business indicators: financial, quality, performance
For example, with our S&OP project, the intention is to grow our earnings before interest and tax
(EBIT), so EBIT is a financial indicator. Another
business indicator is the level of our stock of products. We intend for the S&OP project to ensure we
have the right amount of stock. So we link these
indicators to benefits, and every month we measure
how they’re performing.
How are you promoting a project manage-
Formal training is 10 percent of our effort to foster
this learning culture. The other 90 percent of the
effort is about the day-to-day: learning by experience, and reflecting on lessons learned and best
practices. Our organization is 65 years old, so it’s a
challenge to change mindsets.
Every day I show different project leaders the benefits of developing a learning culture in their teams.
The first step is making the business units aware of
the importance of the learning process—that learning contributes to performance, which contributes
to results. PM