A Compendium of PMO Case Studies: Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts
By Dennis L. Bolles, PMP & Darrel G. Hubbard, PE, 2012
This book is a substantial work of over 400 pages. As well as its subtitle "Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts", the sub-sub-title on the cover advises the reader "A validation of Project Business Management (PBM) and the PBM Organizational Model for Driving Business and Value." In fact, for organizations conducting multiple projects of whatever kind on a continuous basis, the book extols the virtue of establishing the management of portfolios of projects by a permanent dedicated function at the executive level. In other words, a department at the same executive level as finance, accounting, human resources, and so on.
This is something that obviously makes sense and that we have been quietly advocating for some time. The difference is that authors Dennis Bolles and Darrel Hubbard have put a meaningful label on their concepts - "Project Business Management" (PBM) - and backed their concepts by more than a decade of observations and research covered in this book. As the authors observe in their Preface:
"The business pressures during the recent period of global expansion and the following recession resulted in a growing number of organizations performing enterprise-wide projects. The additional requirements necessary to handle these projects exacerbated the issues already associated with what has been the normal ways many enterprises were conducting business. To put this into perspective, about twenty-five percent (25%) of all goods and services produced in human history were produced in the last ten years."
The authors make the point that:
"Many programs and projects fail because of poor coordination, limited resources, faulty assumptions, not being the right project at the right time, or mid-management in-fighting. These issues are generally resolved at the executive level, where strategies are set, business objectives are defined, and where direction, priorities, and resources are determined, and the final decisions are made."
Whether the PBM function is referred to as an organization or office (PBMO) the authors state that it includes "the three most common PMOs: Project Management Office, Program Management Office and Portfolio Management Office." However, whereas the Project Management Institute generally defines these PMOs as adding support to their respective project managers, the authors see the PBMO being "created to implement the Project Business Management methodology to direct diverse and resource intensive, portfolios, programs and projects across the enterprise." In other words, the PBMO's job is to establish the necessary governance.
"Governance establishes the roles, responsibilities and authority of each [PBMO] position, institutes the rules of conduct, and management protocols. It sets policy, establishes the charter, and provides the organizational structure for the business management of projects programs and portfolios. Governance involves adapting the [PBMO] concept, which also requires changing the enterprise's culture, and affects every level of the enterprise - from the boardroom to the office or plant floor."
The authors set out to support their recommendations with a large number of actual case study examples that occupy over 70% of the book.
About the authors
Dennis L. Bolles, PMP is President of DLB Associates, LLC and has more than 40 years of experience in multiple industries providing business and project management professional services. He is author of many articles and books on project management and centers of excellence.
Darrel G. Hubbard, P.E. is President of D. G. Hubbard Enterprises, LLC providing executive consulting and assessment services. He has 45 years of experience in executive, consulting, line management, and technical positions. He is author of many articles and co-author of books.
versions of Bolles & Hubbard's work appear on this web site here: www.lyfca.net.cn/papers/enterprise/intro.htm
14. Bolles, Dennis L., & Darrel G. Hubbard, A Compendium of PMO Case Studies: Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts, Preface, p xix
15. Ibid, p3 - The authors define an Enterprise as: "a company, business, firm, partnership, corporation, or government agency. This includes associations, societies, for-profit entities, and not-for-profit entities." Glossary, p356
16. Ibid, p4
17. Ibid, p3
18. Ibid, p4. Note that "implement" here does not mean conduct, which remains the responsibility of the respective project managers.
19. "governance" is the first of seven elements of the PBMO model, as described later.
20. Ibid, p9