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Gartner’s PPM and IT Governance Summit – A Sign of the Times

by Michael Hanford  |  September 29, 2009  |  1 Comment

Two weeks ago, Gartner launched its new PPM and IT Governance Summit event, in Orlando Florida.

How did this event fare, in a bad economic climate?  It was extraordinarily well attended, with some 450 folks interested in the PPM and IT Governance spaces.  From a demographics point of view, some 40% (give or take) of those who attended actually had a PPM or IT Governance term (portfolio, PMO, governance) in their job title.

Preliminary reviews of the event indicated that those who attended ranked it in the highest possible ranking category for such things as relevance, value, and usability of its contents, etc.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I was the chair for the event.  So, this could sound like giving myself kudos.  It’s not!

Rather, this information provides a backdrop for addressing the question of what do all of these things say about the times in which the event was held?  For me, it says that 2009, and likely 2010, is a time in which executives in many organizations, both public and private; are actually ready to listen to the various messages from inside these two important domains.

These include: the need for timely and effective decisions, really getting on-target in objectively selecting what initiatives to do; and –just as importantly – which ones not to do.  Also included are changing some activities to value-producing from value consuming for IT, and, the urgent need for accurate insight into the progress and spending of initiatives.  Finally, there is a perception, that our past abilities and capabilities to govern IT and IT initiatives have not been terribly effective; and that this has added a drag component, over time, to the potential for organizational success.

When money was plentiful in many organizations, a long time ago – say 3 years in the past – only a few canny executives paid attention to these messages.  For many, everything was going along just swimmingly; and, if some money (or resources) got wasted, and/or poured down a rat-hole; heck, that was the cost of doing business.  It reminds me of the excuse a very large financial services company used about 10 years ago, for why they had no IT processes, lousy project management, and virtually no data about their initiatives:  “That’s all bureaucracy; we’re an action-oriented organization!”

I recently addressed a group of PMO managers on this subject.  And, I urged them to be very visible, and pro-active.  “Now”, I said, “is the time”.  I was asked why that is.  “Well”, I said, “I hate to say it, but lots of these formerly contented executives are healthily frightened”.  In terms of a foundation for improving your organizations, I went on, “you might want something other than fear, but ….take what you can get …. when it comes to driving change for the better with PPM and IT Governance”.

The message provided by this years’ successful PPM & IT Governance Summit is the same, for those of you who did not attend.  The readiness to accept change, which is driven by solid PPM and IT Governance policies, practices, and – above all – truly effective action has never been better.  So, don’t just sit there…do something about it!


Michael Hanford
Research Director
3 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Michael Hanford is a research director and analyst with Gartner's Program and Portfolio Management service. Mr. Hanford's research spans both the private and public sector, including implementation and capabilities evolution for portfolio management, large-scale program management… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Gartner’s PPM and IT Governance Summit – A Sign of the Times

  1. Mike Mahaney says:


    Had my first chance to attend this year and was thrilled with the content and the level of practical information conveyed. The energy and conviction of the speakers was great and the potentially stale topic material of PPM and ITGovernance was set in the right context given the lousy business conditions this year. I especially liked the challenge set forth to all PPM’ers that they had significant power under their fingertips as custodians of key business information. This information alone was validation that our dashboarding and analytics focus is relevant and is very much needed. Thanks and we’ll see you next year.

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