David Harvey, PMP,
of network planning
What was Southwest’s project management
landscape like before the PMO?
Before we invested in more mature project management practices, we had struggled mightily with
any project that cut across multiple departments
or had a multiyear timeline, like a point-of-sale
system or a revenue accounting system—the list
went on and on. Most of those projects were
signi;cantly over budget and exceeded their timelines. We just weren’t where we needed to be in
terms of change management capabilities.
Why did Southwest respond to these
problems by creating a PMO?
I think the executives got to a point of saying, “We
need to bring in some expertise: How do we man-
During his last 16 years working at Southwest
Airlines, the world’s largest low-cost airline, David
Harvey has seen change initiatives drive major
business results—including a 124 percent jump in
stock price during 2014. He attributes the orga-
nization’s success in part to mature project man-
agement practices. He should know: He helped
In 2008, Mr. Harvey helped establish a project
management o;ce (PMO) to oversee ;ve major
change initiatives, including the integration with
another airline and the installation of a new international reservation system with global capabilities.
Since then the organization has kept growing; it now
operates 3,800 ;ights to over 90 cities every day.
Improving the Flight Path