busyworker-shutterstock_71341909Peruse any organizational leadership or staff efficiency research and you will find studies on the value of:

  1. staff working with minimized distractions
  2. staff knowing their work is meaningful
  3. staff being empowered to succeed in their work

For example, a recent case study on a large hospital system on the west coast revealed that improving the work place had a direct correlation to improving operational profitability.  It is common sense to think that when people have a sane and supportive work environment, they produce better work which improves organizational profitability.

So what does this have to do with PMOs and developing or improving business-driven project capabilities?  Everything.

Project-heavy departments like IT and Facilities face constant pressure to do MORE.  For many staff members, the norm is distraction, frustration and stress.  Staff can’t focus on anything long enough, aren’t sure they are doing anything important, and are routinely late due to unrealistic time demands, unclear deadlines, and no clear project leadership.  And the occasional “I need this done now because it IS A REAL PRIORITY” doesn’t help much.  Every other project pushed aside is failure fodder as leaders complain that your department can’t get anything done well and on time.

Bringing sanity to the project world brings sanity to your staff in all three ways mentioned at the beginning of this post.  This hidden value to an organization should not be underestimated.


Using an airport as an illustration, adding project “air traffic control” to your project capabilities reduces mid-air collisions between projects and backups at the gates.  When executive and departmental leadership see the big picture of approved and active projects, they can make needed decisions on what is realistic and most important.  Adding solid information on each project allows managers and directors to make good estimates on resource needs and project schedules.   The combination of good estimates and clear priorities reduce staff distractions as staff actually get needed time to focus on doing their projects.


As projects are added to a team with reasonable estimates and schedule, they also are assured that these projects are truly a priority to leadership.  With our limited time and resources, these projects actually made it into the schedule and are being resourced properly!  No more getting yanked around by the leader who screams the loudest.  And if priorities change, a process is in place to adjust schedules so that no one is thrown under the bus.  It feels good to be able to work on the truest priority.


Projects not only have reasonable estimates and schedule.  They also have allocated resources and a clear scope, and someone who owns it.  The pieces are in place to empower the project team to succeed.  Quick and dirty solutions are a rarity.  No rushing and just slapping things in.  You have time to do things right.  And when other priorities force delays, everyone knows and agrees to the needed changes. With this high degree of visibility and agreement, when projects are completed, everyone knows who succeeded and why.  When projects are completed, the value is understood, and the value is delivered.  What more would a project team ask for?

Let me provide you a macro and a micro example of how excellent business-drive project capabilities make a difference to sanity.

MACRO EXAMPLE – An Organization Transformed

A hospital with a highly skilled staff struggled to complete IT and Clinical IT projects in a timely fashion.  Shepherdwise was brought in to help by developing and building a PMO.  As the newly implemented PMO began to work with executives on priorities, newly gained visibility into what was actually happening and what was actually doable fostered several adjustments.  Executives pulled or postponed some projects.  The most important projects got attention.  IT and CIT remained VERY busy, but the outcomes improved. The projects were better defined.  The teams had time to get their work done and owned the success.  More projects were accomplished in better time frames with better quality.  All wins.  Other departments began to see IT and CIT as more responsive and helpful.  IT and CIT began to see themselves more as partners rather than merely a service area.  BUT one more thing happened – executives began to see that they could improve how they selected and monitored strategic projects, and made significant changes that positively impacted the entire organization.  The atmosphere and capabilities around projects improved so much that the IT/CIT group approximately doubled their project productivity in the first year of the PMO.

MICRO EXAMPLE – Helping a Hero

An important project risked delay due to needing an overloaded engineer’s time to develop the solution for a desktop client roll out.  The engineer struggled to manage all of his operations and project work.  Immediate relief came in the form of a quick review of documented project priorities, a few adjustments to expectations, and a brief sequestration that allowed the engineer to focus.  What normally took the engineer three days to do because of constant distractions took only a few hours when he hid away in an undisclosed office without his cell phone.  This immediately reduced his stress while knowing he worked on the highest priority to the organization.  Win. Win. Win.

Projects form a substantial part of life for any organization’s staff.  Making sure that your organization’s project capabilities drive important business goals and align with reality will ensure greater sanity – a sanity that improves the bottom line.

Want to gain some sanity?  Contact us for a free one hour consultation to explore your needs and opportunities.

Read about the other Hidden Values…

Hidden Value Introduction

Hidden Value 1 – Strategic Advantage by Compounding

Hidden Value 2 – Strategic Opportunity by Reducing Drag