Thomas Boyce, PMP
Deputy CIO & Director of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Thomas “Tom” Boyce, PMP, is the Deputy CIO and Director of the Office of Information Systems at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In this position, he has responsibilities to oversee an IT program with a $70+ million/yr budget as well as the Agency’s Project Management Office.
Tom began his career in private industry as a computer system engineer and joined the Federal Government in 1986. Since that time, he has held a series of Information Technology management positions in the Federal Government and has established Project Management Offices in several different Federal Agencies.
Immediately prior to joining the NRC, Tom managed one of the largest grants management systems in the federal government for the Electronic Research Administration Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is used to manage $30 billion a year in grant payments.
Tom was the Chief Information Officer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality from 2002 to 2005. He has written about practical applications of Project Management practices for trade journals and speaks frequently on IT Governance and program management. Tom received his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland, University College in College Park, Maryland and is a Senior Fellow of the Council for Excellence in Government.
Leading Projects from a Centralized PMO is the Opposite of Good Project Management Practice
Most Project Management Offices that I have been involved with tend to assume that the natural way for projects to operate is to have the PMO accountable for the delivery of all facets of a project. Leading from the PMO with an overarching project manager who is going to be held accountable for all project facets is, in my view, the opposite of good project management.
In typical situations, the project manager is skilled in the project management discipline but unlikely to have as much expertise in the project subject as those with roles involving more hands-on implementation. Building effective project management teams and then getting the teams to focus is about shared responsibility and getting team members to stay focused on their areas of expertise.
The message to the teams and team members must be clear- they are responsible for project milestones, not the project manager. Teams need to be empowered to raise risks and trust that the other teams will deliver as expected. Not only should everyone’s roles and responsibilities be clearly defined but it is critical that the roles and responsibilities are known across the project as well.