Last night’s PMO flashmob was a stonker! We had PMO conversations that really showed just how diverse PMO really is. Get PMO flashmobbers into a room and ask the simple question, “What kind of PMO do you work in?”, and you’re guaranteed to get a different answer from everyone. Here’s just a flavour of the PMO flashmob from past night with some of the discussions that were happening:
Technology and the PMO
The PMO is in a great position to be the driving force behind 21st century reporting in a project organisation. The advances in social media shows that real-time reporting on projects surely can’t be that far away. Some of our flashmobbers had other issues to content with – especially working in sensitive sectors where the mere thought of real-time reporting – and access to company data – are enough to put the blockers on these types of initiatives. We chatted about how bring your own device (BYOD) might impact on the role of a PMO and of course how could we make our reporting – if not real-time at least something which matches our technology use outside of work. We’re already getting to the point where our technology use outside of the office is way in advance of what we experience at work. It’s an interesting thought and one PMOs will continue to ponder.
Global PMO – and Outsourcing
Two different challenges for a couple of the flashmobbers. If you had to make the move in your career from one type of PMO to another, what additional skills would you need? We chatted about those times in your career where an opportunity to set up or take a higher visbility PMO role – or even moving from a programme led PMO to a portfolio PMO might happen. It’s taken as read that you’ll have the project management knowledge and experience, probably have a deep understanding about the business – but what else changes? We talked about the more behavioural changes – or additional “soft skills” needed that will support your move up the ladder. Lots of different inputs from people – but if you’re looking for the answers here prehaps you should come along to the next PMO flashmob 🙂
We also talked about PMO outsourcing – for some it might never be something you’ll experience but the conversation turned to managing PMOs virtually and how you can manage performance levels. It doesn’t matter how near or far PMO members are – 50 feet, 50 miles or 3000 miles – there are tools, techniques and approaches that can be used or adapted. We even had a chat about dreaded teleconferences – it was interesting to hear how some PMO people have little tips and tricks to keep everyone on their toes
“A great event, with great people who are all happy to share experiences and learning’s. I’d recommend them to anyone”
Green, Amber, Red er Pink?
This was a great story from a flashmobber – that’s the great thing about an informal event over something like a conference – people let their hair down and start telling stories and we know how great stories can be for sharing experiences and lessons learnt. This story was about a programme leader who absolutely refused to have his programme marked down as red on the portfolio monthly status reporting. Even though the programme was in the red and even though the programme leader knew it and eventually admitted it was, he absolutely refused to have it shown as red. The programme leader asked that it be marked as pink! After the laughter subsided last night there was actually a crucial lesson here for the PMO and for the programme leader. That was – it doesn’t really matter what the colour was – it could have been sky blue with spots – it got the right response because the programme leader certainly set to work to change that status and bring the stream back on track. Ultimately that’s all the PMO ever wants – report the truth, let everyone know what the status quo is and let the professionals get on with their job.
Other things we talked about? Annual financial planning and the challenges of bringing consistency to a process that almost always feel chaotic. Questions were raised on how visible was the cost to the business of this process and was it possible to calculate any form of ROI – the irony being that finance typically insist on these kind of metrics from everyone else. Software – how Excel refuses to disappear even if companies with a highly mature PPM/ERP solution. A bit of a rant session about a particularly well known PPM tool and a conversation about psychopaths in corporate organisations 🙂