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The Crucial Role of a Chief Project Officer (CPO) in Companies Today

Posted on July 27, 2016 10:00 am;

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By Rebecca Langdon


The role of Chief Project Manager (CPO) is not commonly known in all industries but it is for

many companies a critical role. The CPO is a senior manager who is responsible for proving

governance over the organizations internal projects.


Specifically the CPO has the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure every project supports the right business goals
  • Link all projects into the business strategy
  • Drive efficiencies and linkages between projects
  • Manage resources requirements across the project portfolio
  • Make sure each project has an effective leader/project manager
  • Implement or oversee implementation of appropriation project management methodology
  • Oversee and control all changes to project scope
  • Project portfolio management

Why is a CPO preferable to a PMO

Many organizations have implemented a project management office with the hope of them

fulfilling the role of the CPO. The reason this fails is because the PMO typically does not have the

senior manager/board level influence.


The future of the CPO

The indications are that the role of the CPO will become increasingly prevalent. The reasons for

this are as follows


  • A CPO will have a senior position within the organisation and will therefore be in an

ideal position to raise the profile of the project portfolio. They will also be able to

demonstrate the importance of projects to business development and maturity.

  • The CPO will ensure that the projects are resourced effectively. In organisations where

there is no CPO representing the needs of the projects, they can suffer from being under

resourced compared to other functions who shout louder for finite resources. The CPO

can help to argue for the need to resource strategic, as well as operational objectives.

  • From a broader HR perspective, the CPO role provides a clear indication to employees

such as PM’s and PMO that there are career possibilities to make it to senior

manager/board level in their chosen career path.

  • A CPO will likely be a more cost effective option than implementation of a full scale

PMO. Therefore a CPO role could be easier to sell into the board. Thereafter if that role

is beneficial to the organisation, a PMO may be considered.



In summary, the role of the CPO is becoming increasingly prevalent. It offers many

organizational benefits, and also provides a clear career path for those entering the profession.

If you are interested in progressing in a project management career, you might consider

undertaking the PMP qualification.

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