On the 17th May, I attended my first PMO Flashmob, the event on this occasion was more specifically known as PMO Serious Play, held in Manchester.
The idea behind this session is to learn and explore the mindsets and behaviours of the PMO supporting Agile based projects and programmes through playing with Lego.
Upon arrival, at the event, I received a warm welcome and introductions all round. There was also a vast selection of drinks available including tea/coffee, orange juice, coke and even wine and beer! All included in the session.
Before getting called through to our training room there was a chance to talk and network with others attending the course. This helped me get comfortable with the people I was with, something that I thought was important before a creative session like this.
The first thing I noticed was how different everybody’s background in PMO was. There was also a wide range of industries represented by charities, law firms, and public sector. It was really interesting finding out how they operated their PMO within their industry.
The first task was simple, build a tower using any bricks you like within 1 minute. No specifications to meet or guidelines just build whatever a Lego tower means to you. When the clock started my competitive side kicked in and I scrambled to find the perfect pieces to build the tallest tower I could (even though height was not a specification).
Once the timer ran out we each explained (around our tables) what we had built and why. The results were interesting as nobody had built the same thing! Some people went for stability, whilst others went for height and some tried to make it as interesting and different as possible. When we discussed what we had built we started comparing and taking the key points from each tower and merging them into our own to help us improve. An exercise we would later be doing with our Agile PMO build.
After a couple of warm-ups, we broke for some food, enough pizza to go around. This gave us a chance to talk some more over a slice and discuss how we had viewed the activities so far.
Then we started the final challenge which was to build a Lego representation of how a PMO would support Agile delivery. We were given 10 minutes to do so and this required some serious thought.
Doing this activity after the warm-ups proved how valuable those opening activities were. Parag really got us to think in a different way about how to represent our ideas using the Lego and challenged what we did. It allowed us to be more abstract than literal, this was a perfect set up for the final activity.
After the 10 minutes were up we each had our creation (see mine to the right) ready to share with the table. Again, we were tasked with asking questions and we all made suggestions on how each model worked well and how they could be improved. Viewing and listening to other people’s thoughts on this topic allowed each of us to get a new perspective on supporting Agile and helped us understand different ways to approach it. 2 colleagues sat on the same table were even able to realise that they had different views on Agile and PMO, something they didn’t realise before, or had made assumptions they were on the sam page.
The thing I took away from this session was how to better articulate my thought processes and be creative in showing my ideas. Parag stated that we only use 5% of our brains creativity and this activity helped unlock some of the remaining 95%. I certainly felt that this was the case and after creatively using Lego to demonstrate my ideas and talking to other attendees about their views, I feel like I have come away with a better understanding of the mindsets and behaviours that are commonplace with Agile projects and programmes.
PMO Flashmob is something I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about PMO or even make firm connections and contacts from the world of PMO.
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