What’s the one skill
every project manager
The ability to look at a
project from a high level
and avoid getting dragged
down into details.
What’s the best profes-
sional advice you ever
If you can manage a
project so there are no
surprises, then you’re in
What book has special
significance for you?
Eat That Frog! by Brian
Tracy. It’s funny, it’s short,
but it also has some neat
ideas about how to avoid
nos invested in the global PMO to raise its project
managers’ capability and create an immersive project community.
How does the PMO deliver consistency?
To help achieve continued consistency, we
launched our Project Academy this year. It’s made
up of five pillars: foundation, baseline, development, community and career.
Foundation involves project managers’ roles
and responsibilities. With baseline, it is about the
expected competencies—we have five levels of
project managers and two for program managers.
The development aspect involves training, mentors, coaches and both internal and external certifications. We task our project managers to become
Project Management Professional (PMP)® certified,
but we also have certification in Kronos’ own project management and implementation methodology, Kronos Paragon. The community pillar is all
about establishing connections and offering opportunities. For example, we reach out to our project
managers who may enjoy experiencing project
management somewhere else in the world. The
last pillar defines career paths in the project world
or elsewhere within Kronos.
How else does the PMO support its project
We have a competency tool to help our project
managers understand their strengths and weak-nesses. We have a mentoring program where our
senior project managers support the junior project
managers. We have an external coaching program.
As far as the projects for our customers are concerned, we run health checks on our projects to
assess what was good and what could be improved.
How involved with specific projects is the PMO?
The core PMO team is very small—five program
How do you measure the PMO’s impact
managers—so we cannot get actively involved with
the nearly 5,000 projects each year. Our involve-
ment is by exception, and the exceptional activi-
ties are reviewing lessons learned, running health
checks, looking at customer-satisfaction feedback,
learning from project experiences and supporting
junior project managers. Our responsibility is to
empower the project managers to do the right job
for our customers.
Success is far more complicated than the triple
constraint. It comes down to customer experience.
If our project managers use all their tools, technologies, skills and experience so that the customer is
satisfied and recommends Kronos as an organization, then that is the true measure of success.
We have other, more financial-oriented measures, but that’s not really what the PMO is about.
It’s about a definition of success that’s very subjective to the customers: Are they happy, and do they
feel we’ve supported them in the right way? Have
they seen value in their investment? One way we
determine that is through a two-point customer
satisfaction feedback: one mid-project and another
at the end of the project. Customer satisfaction is
so important to Kronos that our executive team,
led by our CEO, reviews these feedback reports.
New PMOs can have difficulty securing buy-in
from stakeholders. How have you addressed
One thing a PMO can do completely wrong is to
become the project police. If it’s only about process,
the PMO will be unpopular and fail. A second thing
is to be the wrong sort of project firefighter: If you’re
constantly putting out fires, you’re doing it wrong.
Firefighters spend very little time putting fires out;
they spend most of their time trying to prevent fires.
We focus on what we’re trying to achieve rather than
just trying to solve problems as they pop up. To that
end, we have an annual PM Summit and additional
virtual summits with all project managers. On a
biweekly basis we have a web-based session to share
experiences and celebrate successes.
Every PMO has to be unique to its organization.
Yes, there are templates and guidelines, but it’s a
living thing. You’ve got to be constantly listening
to all your stakeholders: customers, executives and
project managers. The PMO has to flex accordingly. You can’t be rigid. PM