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PMO Symposium: Great PMs, Then and Now

Posted by Johanna Mickel

As Director of Business Development for PM College, the learning and development arm of PM Solutions, Johanna Mickel possesses over 25 years’ experience as a business development professional working with major organizations by providing professional services for the planning and implementation of large, complex solutions especially in the professional development arena. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Johanna manages PM Solutions’ global learning and development.

Attendees at the PMO Symposium validated the importance of developing personal skills in business and leadership.

The buzz in the room after Debbie Bigelow Crawford's presentation at the PMO Symposium on Tuesday afternoon was appreciative: unlike the majority of presentations at this business-focused event, Debbie's spoke personally to these PMO leaders, challenging and encouraging them to improve their business acumen and leadership skills.

"This tells me what I need to do now," one attendee remarked, while another said that, in terms of developing her staff, the focus on business skills was something that was useful information that she would "execute on in my organization."

Expanding on the topic of a recent PM College white paper, The Business-Savvy Project Manager, Debbie contrasted the skillsets that were required of project managers in the past with those that are necessary now and in the future, saying that "the drivers and inhibitors of performance" on the PMO leadership level are quite different from those of single-project management (or, to be more precise, project scheduling and controlling). In looking at the statistics provided by PMI on the titles of attendees, the majority of them are program managers and PMO directors, with a small but growing number of VPs and CPOs. These are folks who communicate directly ... and must communicate effectively ... with executives, and who carry budgetary responsibility and accountability on a level not often seen in the past. A look at the titles and achievements of the leaders of the winner and finalists in the PMO of the Year Award competition (see descriptions of these award-winning PMOs here) validates the assumptions in the white paper and presentation.

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