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Programme management - the key to successful desktop transformation?

46% of desktop professionals see programme management as king. In our first two polls, we focused on the biggest accelerators and blockers to successful desktop migration in the enterprise environment. The members of the Windows 7 Project Management LinkedIn group decided application discovery and rationalisation was the best accelerator, and application readiness the biggest blocker.

Desktop Transformation projects and Program Management

In our third poll, we wanted to concentrate on an area that is concerning many organisations today – resourcing. With the Windows XP end of life deadline fast approaching, and budgetary constraints meaning that many have pushed back the desktop migration expense to the last possible moment, there is a large focus on the rapidly draining pool of skilled resource.

We asked ‘What is the most critical resource skill to ensure successful desktop transformation?’ The results are in:

  1. Programme Management 46%
  2. Project Management 23%
  3. Applications Management 15%
  4. Engineering 7%
  5. Deployment Management 7%

Clearly, quality skills in each of the areas above are a necessity, but it is programme management that wins as the most important resource skill in desktop transformation. In a recent guest blog on the Juriba web site, Gartner’s Doug Clarke spelled out the importance of getting the Windows 7 Project Management Office (PMO) right. “[In unsuccessful migrations] The PMO is not well defined. Any organisation or program manager that claims to have deployed the new OS in anger should be able to immediately provide a template, global if required, and cost breakdown.”

How many of your current desktop transformation programme managers could do this with any accuracy? This is why it is so important to get the right people – good skills can drive efficient, repeatable and cost effective desktop transformation.

Another contributor was Andrew Gilbert from CSTechnology, a company that has worked with some major global organisations on desktop transformation. He states “Of course a number of ways to answer this depending upon organisational size and complexity of applications landscape and who holds the entire budget”. This is true, and the answers to the poll will also be shaped somewhat by ‘where’ you are with your project.

As Fergul Sharkey once sang, “a good heart these days is hard to find”. The same is true for good enterprise Windows 7 migration programme managers. The skilled resource involved with the migrations to Windows XP has long since moved on, and there is a large gap in senior level migration resource. It feels many organisations are reinventing the wheel with their migrations. The lessons of the past have long been forgotten, only to be repeated again in 2012 and 2013 as we move along the path to Windows 7.

A good friend of mine who works at one of the leading UK recruitment consultants told me that “good Windows 7 project management and programme management skills are like gold dust right now. It has been 10 years since the last big migration and those that did it previously still suffer the battle scars. They command top rates but are constantly battling with the internal IT organisation about how to approach the project. There are a lot of project managers out there. There are relatively few good project managers!”

If you are looking for a programme manager, the message is to spend significant time getting the right one for your organisation. Your desktop transformation project will benefit enormously.

So, you’ve heard how a whole host of desktop professionals have voted – what do you say is the most critical resource skill to ensure successful desktop transformation? Share your thoughts below or join in with the debate in our group.