Fight for the CA– USE

Boxing glovesFight for the CA– USE!
Profitability.  Success.  Customer Loyalty.  These are words often used to describe bottom-line goals for business organizations.  However, when it comes time for organizations to execute on the business plan, too often we hear Delay, Restart, Over-Budget, Under-Resourced and Cancel.
How can an organization bet better at delivering on its goals and objectives?  One way is to establish a strategic, enterprise-wide Project Management Office (PMO) model.
If properly managed, a PMO can successfully support tactical execution of a strategic vision: and a whole lot more.

Whether your organization is in crisis or simply desires to remain competitive, your business plan requires multiple phases over periods of time. Your plan may include tactics for achieving financial success.  Another component may involve cultural change within the organization, while another may address new product development.  All phases require a set of tactics for delivering on the plan.  These tactics translate into projects, which are complex, demanding and messy.  Projects are critical building blocks in achieving an organization’s strategic plan.  A PMO seamlessly choreographs all the moving parts.  A strategic project management office is about building tools, methods, and techniques for project and business success.  If you build your PMO with this goal in mind, and your plan to establish and run a PMO maintains an eye for simplicity, your organization can reap huge rewards.  In fact, over time, a PMO can facilitate and support organizational processes well beyond projects to further enhance overall business success.
Establishing a project management culture allows organizations to speed up decision-making, improve accountability, understand inter-dependent work efforts, and enhance overall communication across the organization.  Project management does not need to be complex or complicated to offer value.  In fact, keeping it simple allows companies to develop project management competencies that, over time, become part of the organizational culture.
Project management puts tools and processes in place that allow companies to get work done efficiently.  It allows businesses to communicate priority projects (the agenda), apply consistent project management practices (the methodology), and monitor project progress (the pulse).  The PMO is the conduit for making this happen: up, down and across the organization.
When you establish a project management office, be willing to fight for the CA– USE.  The CA– USE contains five fundamental components:  Communicate, Advocate, Understand, and Effect.  Here is a summary explanation of each component to get you started:

  • The real power of a corporate vision is realized only when everyone in the organization clearly understands the vision and recognizes how everyone contributes to its success.
  • The PMO plays a key role in connecting the dots and communicating key headlines throughout the organization so there is a global understanding of, and commitment to, the successful delivery of the business plan.
  • Business Plan Communications:  Provide employees with a line of sight from the company’s brand, mission, values, goals and performance to their day-to-day work.
  • Portfolio Reporting:  Informs organizations about the progress of priority project activities.
  • Project Status Reports:  A simple, standard way of consistently communicating project activities and allows project managers the opportunity to alert stakeholders to issues impending project success.
  • Executive Reporting:  The most valuable service the EPMO can offer any organization.


  • Project Management Office (PMO):  Promoter, Campaigner, and upholder of project management practice across the organization
  • Senior Executives:  Proponents, Backers, and Spokespersons
  • Project Managers:  Evangelists-always proselytizing for the success of the project


  • Everyone must comprehend the relationship between project management activities to realizing business achievement.
  • Creating leveled understanding requires thoughtful consideration of key stakeholder needs and recognition of their roles within a project-centric environment.
  • Establish and maintain an educational plan by recognizing the points of pain for each player and creating a program that sets out to address each pain or need.


  • Organizations work efficiently through repeatable, predictable practices; standardized practices allow you to learn from past experiences in a simple, predictive way.
  • Design a common project management approach that ensures alignment with overall business success, prioritizes projects to meet strategic goals, and focuses resources on business priorities.
  • Take a multi-dimensional approach to designing a common project management method:  include project management principles, pre-established processes, a common set of tools and techniques, and directionally support training.


  • Valuable business processes do not need to be complex to be effective.
  • The best way to assess the effect of project management on your organization is by monitoring key performance metrics, especially those influenced by project activities.
  • Staff who participate on project teams that identify best practices will take those practices with them when they return to their respective business units.

Does it work?  Yes.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not.  We’ll explore each component more closely throughout the week.  For now, this should be enough to get each of us eager to Fight for the CA– USE!

Lisa A. DiTullio is the author of “Simple Solutions:  How Enterprise Project Management Supported Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Journey from Near Collapse to #1.  You can find Lisa’s book online at iUniverse, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


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