Paloma Martin

Presentation: Relevant challenges and lessons in the implementation of a Project Management Office in a legislative power

Abstract: The presentation will be based on the innovative experience of implementing a Project Office in the Argentine National Congress, the first in the world. The PMO functioned as a model of leadership and results-oriented management that allowed to carry out the execution of the government strategy between 2016-2019. In this sense, it worked similarly to US PerformanceStat Units.

The Argentine experience shows certain particularities that contributed to achieving the proposed results. On the one hand, the PMO coordinated internal communication, which made it possible to accompany the projects under adequate and effective change management. On the other hand, members of the PMO were those who led the strategic projects, which made it possible to allocate resources full-time, increasing the chances of success.

An innovative aspect of the PMO was that it incorporated diversity management as an important condition when designing initiatives and projects. From the analysis of stakeholders to the formation of project teams, the PMO tried to ensure that the initiatives were not gender-neutral, taking an active role in closing gaps.

The PMO obtained several accomplishments. It improved the efficiency of the organization, generating the greatest savings in history; it focused on people, who were not only trained and professionalized but also empowered with the new transversal way of working by projects, in an institution that had been characterized by being very vertical; and it improved transparency and accountability, by designing and implementing project management processes based on the Project Management Book of Knowledge.

However, although an attempt was made to institutionalize as much as possible the new way of working and management, the cultural change was partial. The presentation shows that the implementation of a PMO in government must be tailored to each country’s context and that it only works under certain preconditions.

Key Takeaways of the presentation:

  • Structure, functions, and processes of the PMO
  • Talent acquisition, retention, and development
  • PMO main accomplishments and lessons learned

PMI Talent Triangle: Business Acumen

Biography: Paloma Martin is a specialist in Innovation Management. She has been involved for more than fifteen years with diverse NGOs helping children, young people and women, providing them with tools for their development and leadership. With experience, she discovered that building leadership through innovation management to multiply impact is what truly drives her. She found that project management was the most effective way of doing it. For the last seven years she has collaborated with different government agencies, mostly in her area of expertise, implementing and teaching project management tools. She began to work at different government offices in the city of Buenos Aires and later jumped to the National Chamber of Deputies, where she created the first Project Management Office in a legislative branch in the world. Because of these achievements, the Project Management Institute selected her has to lead the Public Project Community and she provided an institutional space for education, exchange practice, and networking. Through the implementation of project management in the National Chamber, women who did not have formal positions within the organization could become project managers and thus demonstrate their leadership. As part of this leadership, she has devoted herself to empowering future women leaders and candidates by training them in budget elaboration and analysis with a gender perspective.

She is actually a first-year Graduate Student at UMD MPM and a TA for Public Leadership Program for undergraduate students.