My first ever PMO Flashmob ended up in a pub – which is no bad thing from a networking point of view! The format of the evening revolved around the typical word café menu. The menu included 5 topics of conversation to challenge PMOs and the PMO Manifesto.
A musical chairs style atmosphere enabled all delegates to attend three discussions that were of particular interest. I selected ‘how do we make the PMO an enabler for change?’, ‘how can we get PMO to become a permanent business fixture?’ and ‘how do we bring the PMO Manifesto to life?’.
The enabling change discussion really started off covering items such as having the right people in the right jobs and how PMO can support communicating with the wider audience as well as education. It swiftly moved onto what PMOs could add as a change enabler in the higher echelons of business strategy. It was commonly agreed that for a PMO to work at such a level and not have to concentrate too much on the delivery aspect that all the project and programme people would have to be absolutely trusted to the right job every time. I don’t know about you but I would say that this ‘nirvana’ state for PMOs has not been achieved by many leaders.
The conversation swiftly then moved onto what PMOs add as a change enabler and we decided on the integration of projects and programmes, process management and getting to the ‘sweet spot’ between strategy & delivery.
My second topic was around making the PMO a permanent business fixture which turned out to be a fairly controversial topic as some of the table proposed that PMOs shouldn’t be a permanent fixture but in fact should only exist to support one programme or project and then disband. The other side of the table felt quite strongly that there should be permanent PMO who operate as the key to the centre of excellence for the company holding the standards and methods for successful project and programme management. Finally, after much debate it was agreed that PMO should be a capability within the business – in whatever form the business requires it to be. It should flex with the business and adapt to its needs.
During the ‘bringing the PMO Manifesto to life’ discussion, there was discussion around how the manifesto itself could be used as a selling document; but it was widely agreed that the manifesto is not written as a sales document but is in fact a document for those already converted to PMO. This led onto a debate on how to sell the PMO and the manifesto and we focused on taking away the pain of the PMO stakeholders and educating them to understand that PMO enable people to make decisions. The group spent some time reviewing the manifesto itself and some improvements were discussed at the end of the session. Some of these improvements included the links between the values and the principles as well as the fact that there should not be any ‘highest priorities’ as it gives the impression that everything else is irrelevant. The teams felt that the language for aficionados of PMO and not those that the teams may need to sell it to. The PMO Manifesto team committed to taking away the feedback for future revisions.
For me, it was interesting to see that again, PMO can be many things to many people but I like the debate around it being a capability in a business as his gives enough flexibility to make it whatever it needs to be. For the PMO Manifesto itself, unless we all sign up to the PMO Manifesto, get it into businesses via our missions, visions and values, get measured against it and educate the non-believers, it is simply a code of principles that PMOs can choose to work towards that looks nice on the wall – more work needed for me.
You can check it out and get involved in the debate here.
To view a previous article from this Flashmob event, take a look at PMO Town Hall