Jim Furfari

Presentation: “I have empirical evidence that my project is more important than yours,” and other Prioritization Myths

Abstract: There are as many approaches to ‘ensure success’ for project prioritization as there are methods and tools to make your project a success. But as with project management, prioritization requires more than a process or software program to deliver desired results.

The Project Management Office is the logical unit to provide the framework, methodology, and sometimes the leadership to implement the prioritization process. While it certainly a value-add proposition for a PMO, selecting an appropriate model and putting it into operation can be problematic. Prioritization rules are subject to interpretation and organizational politics, and can suffer from the lack of credible metrics. To successfully prioritize its portfolios, the PMO must identify which factors truly support the business model, organizational strategy, nature of projects, and resource constraints in implementing a practical approach.

Colorado Springs Utilities, a community owned utility providing electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater services faced a unique prioritization challenge. While each service is a separate business line with their own construction priorities, many projects impact two or more services. Additionally, IT projects support all four services and compete with construction projects in the prioritization process. The PMO was charged with implementing an enterprise wide system that prioritized the 100+ ongoing projects across the construction and IT spectrum.

This presentation addresses the challenges of building and executing a prioritization process. Using lessons learned from experiences in both public and private sectors, the presenter will provide guidelines for establishing ranking criteria and implementing an effective prioritization system.

PMI Talent Triangle: Strategic and Business Management

Biography: Jim Furfari is a retired Air Force Fighter Pilot who has worked as a project manager and both the public and private sectors. As a project manager for MCI, he directed the implementation of some of their largest releases. He joined Colorado Springs Utilities where for 12 years he developed and managed their Enterprise Project Management Office. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning, and is a frequent instructor for the organization. Jim holds a BSEE from the United States Air Force Academy. His flying career included time in the F-106 and F-16 fighters, and he was stationed in Canada, Spain, and various sites across the United States.