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CSD welcomes new Project Management Office director

Published August 2nd, 2017

CSD’s newly installed Director of the Project Management Office (PMO), John O’Sullivan, arrives in Trinity with an impressive CV, having spent years delivering solutions to Fortune 500 clients in the construction, IT, utilities, pharma, chemical, food, beverage and FMCG sectors.

John, who took up his new role in June following David Livingstone’s return to the UK, preceded his arrival in Trinity having worked in Jacobs Engineering, followed by a few years with CRH, Texas Instruments and most recently with the global technology company Siemens AG.

During his 28 years with Siemens, John worked across four continents driving corporate and customer-facing programmes and projects in areas such as Global ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Implementation, M&A, Restructuring, Change Management, and PMO Governance. John’s most recent engagements were in large-scale construction projects in San Francisco and setting up and leading the PMO for a major utility provider based in Los Angeles. 

“The concept of the ‘project-oriented organisation’ has really taking hold,” says John. “For example, most large organisations are now undertaking all change initiatives via projects.”

To illustrate the extent of this John refers to Siemens, a multi-billion enterprise where close to 60% of revenue is generated via projects. For them, their global Project Management methodology and PMO Governance Model only became a formal discipline circa the year 2000, and has since been rolled out globally with significant success. It is mandatory for all projects, internal and external. 

Project management in general has become a distinct discipline in the last 25 or so years, a trend which has been driven by globalisation and the increasing need to establish global qualifications and certification of project managers.

A recent trend towards Chartered Project Manager status is gaining traction, and provides an attractive development path for professional project managers. It is well accepted across industry that good project managers can transcend functional boundaries; it’s not unusual, for example, to find accountants leading large construction projects in the energy industry.

Common Approach
“In Trinity, and other organisations, the Project Management Office helps to raise maturity by driving a common approach to project delivery across the enterprise – it’s about developing and following a set of standards and best practice.”     

The fringe benefits that common standards bring are predictability, transparency and accountability, the latter being especially pertinent where public funding is involved. 

As he settles in to Trinity, and the PMO’s new location in House 27, John is relishing having his feet on the ground after being based so far afield for so long. He arrives here from California, having previously been based in Switzerland. “I’ve never worked in the university sector before – I always thought it would be interesting and challenging.”

John is also getting reacquainted with Dublin, after being away so long. “Dublin is still very familiar but in other ways there has been tremendous change.  It’s a lot more cosmopolitan and the choice of cuisine has exploded exponentially.”