Abid Mustafa has worked with project management offices for eight years. His book In the Age
of Turbulence: How to Make Executive PMOs Successful is available in paperback and on Kindle.
Building a relationship with a leading university
can benefit the EPMO by keeping the office on top
of the latest trends in project management. University research programs in particular are well-equipped to provide such guidance on a regular
basis, while the EPMO offers a real-life environment for students to study.
Say your company is consistently failing to
deliver projects, even though it has well-defined
portfolio and project management capabilities.
You can bring in postgraduate students to prob-lem-solve. With access to the EPMO’s data, the
students could evaluate the issue and offer possible solutions.
Everybody wins in this scenario: The company
can resolve a big problem at a low cost, the students
complete research work, and the university could
leverage its relationship with the company to possibly attract brighter talent and industry funding.
There is nothing better than pairing up like-minded companies to share best practices related
to project management. This type of partnership
offers a sounding board or mentorship kind of relationship. For example, the EPMO might provide
overall management of a complex transformation
program, while the industry partner could deliver
the specific business solution.
PMI’s Global Executive Council is a great example of a forum to meet other companies interested
in deeper forms of engagement, such as exchange
visits, to explore mutually beneficial topics.
Once the partners are on board, spread the
word. The EPMO can publicize its newfound
partnerships through press releases, internal communication and informal exchanges with fellow
employees. This will give the EPMO greater visibility among peers. PM
It can be a struggle for enterprise project man-
agement offices (EPMOs) to stand out. For one
thing, the EPMO is very similar to other PMOs in
the organization: The staff has the same project
management credentials as the staff in the finance
PMO or the technology PMO. Some EPMOs aim
to differentiate and improve the office by pushing
staff to acquire more certifications, but that’s not
the only way to make a mark. Forging partner-
ships with external organizations is a great way for
EPMOs to bolster their project manage-
There are three types of indispensable
partners for EPMOs: knowledge partners,
academic partners and industry partners.
Each type can benefit the EPMO.
A knowledge partner such as PMI, Association for Project Management or Global
Alliance for Project Performance Standards can prove invaluable to EPMOs.
But this relationship must go beyond the
formal mechanisms of engagement, such as professional certifications or education. The relationship
must explore deeper levels of engagement so that
the EPMO, the company and the knowledge partner all benefit. The knowledge partner can assist in
developing techniques that are the best fit for the
For instance, as technology continues to evolve,
project management techniques quickly become
outdated and new practices are required. If your
EPMO comprises remote teams and employees
who travel frequently, a knowledge partner like a
tech company could offer advice on tools to help
keep the team connected.
Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours:
Pairing up with an outside organization
can differentiate enterprise PMOs.
BY ABID MUS TAFA