A team dives into project management and strategy.

Organizations that perform a lot of work within projects and programs, and that complete large, enterprise-wide projects, often utilize a Project Management Office structure. In the project management profession, working within a PMO is quickly becoming the industry standard. In simple terms, a PMO is a department that is dedicated to the management of projects for its organization. This includes offering standardized templates and tools, reporting, resource management services, research and analysis, planning, execution and records maintenance services to internal customers, be they product owners or department managers. The PMO centralizes all project portfolio activities and offers different levels of support and control.

There are many reasons organizations build and utilize internal PMOs. A large volume of projects, complexity of projects, the need for better archiving and the risk to the organization posed by poorly-executed projects are just some of the reasons. In the case of Direct Federal Credit Union, it was a combination of factors: A robust annual strategic planning process that segued into a heavy annual project load, frequent resource bottlenecks, an upcoming core conversion and a rapid rate of growth. In addition to these factors, Direct has been in the throes of a major culture shift, which started in 2014 when Joseph Walsh became CEO. An environment that is dominated by constant change is one that poses considerable challenges and needs to be balanced with consistent structure and a positive culture. For this reason, Direct had begun to implement a lean culture in 2017. Originating from the Toyota manufacturing process and based on the Sixth Sigma Lean “belt” certifications, lean cultures focus on seeing the work from the customer’s point of view, and commit to continuous improvement and quality.


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