Interview with John Donohoe

Interview with John Donohoe.

We invite you to read the interview with John Donohoe, Director of the Project Management and Change Management Office at Star Alliance, who will once again conduct a project portfolio management training for us in Warsaw. John has over 30 years of experience in portfolio, program and project management according to PMI® standards and the Agile approach. For 11 years he has been responsible for the work of the Project Management Office in the global organization Star Alliance, which brings together 28 of the largest airlines in the world.


pmexperts: What is project portfolio management? What top tip for project portfolio management would you give our readers?

John Donohoe: Project portfolio management is all about selecting the best projects to implement the company's strategy, those that guarantee the best results. To do this, you must first know where your organization is heading. In fact, most people have no idea what the organization's goals are and what strategy they are supposed to use to achieve them. Therefore, for effective project portfolio management and the effective application of project portfolio management principles, it is critical to understand the vision, goals of the organization and the actions necessary to achieve them. From a superficial perspective, implementing a strategy and managing a project portfolio may seem simple, but in reality they are not.

You are Director of the Project Management and Change Management Office at Star Alliance. What changes have you implemented in your organization after taking over the PMO?

The Project Management Office at Star Alliance belongs to the EPMO - Enterprise Project Management Office category, which means that we provide project management services for the entire organization. Our Project Managers are PMP® certified and are also certified Scrum Masters. We are currently in the process of developing the digital services we provide by creating an API (application programming interface) for member airlines. From the PMO's perspective, our role is to drive and support change through training and continuous improvement of the Scrum methodology for cross-business Product Teams. As for the perspective of project portfolio management, our new CEO changed the organization's strategic priorities two years ago. The strategic change, in turn, required a review of our portfolio balance and portfolio prioritization criteria. We have significantly increased the number of digital products offered and management to increase customer focus, product launch and agility.

What are the biggest project portfolio management challenges you have encountered in your career?

Selecting the projects that will be financed and launched is a very political process. The implementation of project portfolio management in my organization significantly improved the transparency of project selection, thereby reducing political influence. A key step to achieve this was defining the entire project portfolio management process in advance and communicating clearly with management during its implementation. 

You're coming to Warsaw soon to... On March 11 and 12, conduct training on project portfolio management. What special things can its participants expect?

The training will be based on the latest PMI® standard: 4th Edition Portfolio Management Standard. It will be extremely interactive and will include case studies, practical examples and group exercises that will help you understand the principles and processes of project portfolio management. Each participant will have the opportunity to apply the learned issues to the project selection process in their organization. There will also be space to discuss the challenges participants face in their own Project Management Offices and how to overcome them. Additionally, we will discuss agile project portfolio management and the Management of Portfolios (MOPs) methodology developed by the Office of Government Commerce from the UK.

Thank you.

See more information about the Project Portfolio Management training

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