Many project management offices (PMOs) are created to improve project delivery practices—and some evolve into portfolio-minded strategic forces. That's the case at Kedrion Biopharma, which sponsors projects around the world. As the organization's PMO director, Marco Tinacci is strengthening the office's relationship with the executive team—and elevating Kedrion's project outlook. His goal isn't just to ensure projects efficiently reach the finish line; it's to help the organization select the right initiatives to meet strategic goals.
TITLE: Project management director
ORGANIZATION: Kedrion Biopharma
LOCATION: Lucca, Italy
Mr. Tinacci joined Kedrion as its project management coordinator in 2016 after a decade at EY; he was promoted to his current role in December 2017. The staff of his PMO, which was created in 2014, supports project managers who collectively oversee the organization's global portfolio of 10 to 20 strategic projects.
What are the PMO's primary roles?
My team and I supervise Kedrion's strategic projects and report on their status to the executive team. In addition, we offer support to Kedrion's project teams, and we aim to improve the project management culture. We help Kedrion become a project-management-based organization.
How are you evolving the PMO?
During its first four years, Kedrion's PMO was deeply involved in the monitoring, budgeting and financial tracking of projects, mapping project resources and developing the organization's project management culture. Now the goal is to make the PMO more strategic and more business-oriented. We don't want to abandon the reporting and monitoring tasks, which are the PMO's main business, or promoting the project management culture. But we're moving from a project perspective to a more comprehensive portfolio perspective that maps and prioritizes all of the organization's projects.
How are you doing that?
Kedrion recently created a cross-functional executive committee sponsored by the heads of the main business functions—R&D, operations, and sales and marketing. Our top executives decided it should include a representative from the PMO. This committee helps make decisions around key product development projects, helps prioritize projects, and collects and evaluates information to decide whether to pursue projects and where to allocate resources. The PMO's presence on the committee is a good indicator that the PMO is becoming more strategically important to the organization.
What do your strategic projects look like?
They include cross-functional capital investments such as a plant refitting, technology transfer projects, product and process development projects, and projects to expand into new geographical areas. Our strategic projects are approved by the board of directors as part of Kedrion's strategic plan.
How do you help the executive team evaluate the strategic projects?
We help the C-suite with the decision-making process by building the projects' business cases and assessing their risks. This supports the finance and controlling team, which is ultimately responsible for the projects' budgets. We also produce a monthly report that tracks the strategic projects' status and provides metrics around our corporate and departmental goals for the projects.
What project delivery approach does Kedrion use?
Most of Kedrion's project managers use a waterfall, predictive approach to execute projects. That's because our projects are quite constrained by quality and regulatory requirements. For example, this year we completed a strategic project to co-develop a new immunoglobulin product to treat human rabies. It went through a clinical trial completed in December 2015, and in August 2017 we received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval. The PMO monitored the project and reported on it to our executives to make sure we hit the 2017 target date set by the strategic business plan.
If not project management, what would you do?
I'd use my project management and financial expertise to run a nonprofit or public institution.
What's a quote you try to live by?
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
What do you wish you'd known at the start of your career?
A productive environment needs good relationships—not just hard skills and technical knowledge.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your role?
We're seeing our business grow year by year, and we're becoming a more multinational, multicultural organization. Our environment is becoming more competitive and more complex. All this means we need a more structured and strategic approach to planning and executing projects to meet the goals set by our strategic plan. Part of the challenge is to do this while not losing sight of the importance of people and hurting the quality of our relationships.
Is the increasing complexity motivating Kedrion's transition into a more portfolio-minded perspective?
For sure. We need to see projects as linked to each other, and we need to prioritize them in terms of their compliance requirements, economic returns and so on. Otherwise we'll waste resources by following projects that aren't strictly related to the organization's strategic business goals. Ramping up the portfolio perspective on project management is clearly the best way forward to create value for the company. PM