Value Delivery in a Age of Disruption
PMO Symposium, 11-14 November 2018, Washington D.C. USA

Session Description: Disruption is the norm for organizations. Disruptive innovation is now seen as required to stay competitive in a world of emerging technologies, globalization and changing demographics. This is changing the way we work, blurring industry boundaries and forcing even established organizations to rethink their business strategies to find effective ways to deliver value. What are the implications for organizations when disruption will change the way projects are delivered and leaders are required to lead more agile organizations? What are the challenges and opportunities? How do organizations effectively use their project talents to evolve existing practices, provide value while positioning themselves for long term success? This session brings together experienced executives to share their perspectives and insights on managing projects and change when disruption is a constant in their value delivery.


  • Joanie F. Newhart,¬†Associate Administrator for Acquisition Workforce Programs at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), Office of Management and Budget and Executive Office of the President
  • Laura K. Furgione, Chief, Office of Strategic Planning, Innovation and Collaboration, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Beth Partleton served on the PMI Board of Directors from 2008 to 2013, serving as Chair in 2011. For six years she was a member of the PMI Educational Foundation Board of Directors, serving as Chair in 2006. Currently she is a member of the Certification Governance Council, serving as Vice Chair.
  • Linda Ott, Division Chief, Professional Development, Office of Project Management, Department of Energy (DOE)

[These are my notes from the PMO Symposium 2018 . I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • What skills will the workforce of the future need?
    • staying abreast of technology and understanding how we can leverage it.
    • understanding how to use data productively AND protect data privacy
  • How to improve the management of major acquisitions (contracting).
    • make sure that the members of the team with critical expertise get involved in the planning and execution early
    • they have started a new certification program that teaches government contracting officers how to manage digital acquisition contracting successfully. It is experiential, small-group training.
  • How does the Census Bureau deliver value?
    • Their demographic and economic data can help
      • federal and local emergency responders prepare for a climate event
      • government and private sector groups manage development after a climate disaster
  • Successes at the Department of Energy.
    • They run really large projects — sometimes worth several billions of dollars
    • They capture enormous amounts of data from their projects.
      • Their job is to understand and explain through these data the value the public receives from these projects
      • This helps the public understand how their tax dollars are being used
    • They focus on how to explain value to the public — not just explaining it to other scientists.
  • How can project leaders and their teams lead technology-driven projects.
    • DIUx: the defense department and the department of housing services are talking to and working with Silicon Valley to find technologists who can become valuable partners with government. The appeal for these new technology partners is that they can have an impact at an enormous scale when they work through government.
    • They are looking at new ways to streamline the acquistion (government contracting) process.
    • The department of homeland security has a procurement innovation lab. They innovate new ways of working and then share the success stories widely — within government and with industry partners.
  • What are the Data Capabilities and Skills at the Census Bureau.
    • One of the objectives in their strategic plan is to use innovative tools to increase their efficiency and use of their tools, as well as the efficient reuse of their data.
    • Linking as much of their data as possible to derive new insights
    • Ensuring that their regular environmental scans shape their strategic plan (which is a living document)
    • What skills are they recruiting for?
      • They are taking a closer look at the skills required for exploiting the data for multiple uses
      • They are also examining what technological skills their team needs
  • What they look for in their workforce.
    • They are looking for curious minds
      • The ability to focus on your own mission, while staying wide open to what is happening around you
    • Natural problem-solvers
    • The ability to connect their work to the needs of their users / consituents
    • The ability to communicate their work to the public
  • The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act.
    • PMIAA is a game changer because it tries to reach federal agencies where they are with respect to program management.
      • some agencies have fewer resources so they may not be as advanced with respect to project management
    • How to understand your projects, next put them in programs, then put those programs in portfolios and ensure that they connect clearly with strategy.
    • This helps develop a deep bench of experienced and capable project managers
    • The Federal PM Community of Practice is very active and engaged. They are helping spread PMIAA across the government
    • It helps focus on evaluation, quality assessment, and continuous attention to lessons learned.
  • PMO¬† Leadership.
    • Communication: 90% of your effort should focus on communicating with your stakeholders AND your team.
      • You need to listen, listen, listen
      • You need to understand the strengths and challenges of your team members
    • What’s our Value? Learn how to tie your efforts back to the values and strategy of your organization. What’s your elevator speech? What’s the value in what you do?
      • Do you have a crisp way of explaining how you are a value to (and not a burden on) your organization?
    • Collaborate Early and Often: don’t wait until an emergency or problem arises. That’s too late.
    • Customer Focus: talk to your customers early and often. Don’t assume you know what they want. You likely don’t.