Chief Project Officer – do you want to be this person?

I usually like to stress how important it is to think big. I am not talking of just dreams and fancies here, but things that can be within your reach.

 If you haven’t read the cover article in this month’s PM Network you should read it now. Here is the link CPOs: Make Room in the Executive Suite.

I often nudge people to think big and people run into this block that what they dream is either; immoral, illegal, fattening, addictive, expensive or impossible.  Sure it is, like some project request that we receive – get it done in 4 months, with $$XX and by the way we can spare only four resources for you. Did I mention that we also need a prototype in a month for our trade show?

And like most project managers you will grapple with this and grind your teeth and swear. But then something magical happens, you get into your project mode and start planning, identifying risks, issues, forming your team and deciding how in the world are we going to get this done. In the end you may not hit 4 months or $XX or the prototype next month, but I am sure you do reasonably well.

Demand some unreasonable things in your career. A CPO position is a great example of what you can aim for. What would you do if you became a CPO one day? Start by reflecting on what the executive suite does, which is lead and direct. Your responsibilities may include implementing the company’s business strategy, interacting with major customers and partners, oversee project implementation and build relationships.

The CPO term has been around for years but has never gained traction in the corporate world. The only place where you are likely to find CPOs is in construction industry. But the time now could be right for this role. When you tell your friends, family and co workers about your big plans, they can’t always see the end as you do. As you are the one who has a plan for it, not they. They can only see the risks, but not the opportunity.

Are you ready to start thinking big? Try it out, I highly recommend it.


About Samir Penkar

People, trends and ideas on the world of work. Get my FREE eBook NExt: a project manager's journey to the next level - when you sign up for updates.
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1 Response to Chief Project Officer – do you want to be this person?

  1. Samir,
    Liked this post. I read somewhere that most folks underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years mainly because they cannot think big. I am a Program Manager who can think big but struggling with the discipline it takes to come up with the plan. If only I can do a WBS on my life projects and then track it…someday…..

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