As someone who has only been working on projects for a year, I’m full of questions, eager to make this my career, and am curious to meet other PMO professionals. Saying that, I almost didn’t go to my first PMO Flashmob event, which my calendar reminded me was happening later the same day. I was a little nervous, and imagined I’d be out of my depth. I was proved wrong though!
I arrived early and started speaking to another young professional, getting to know their background, and finding out how often they’d been coming to the Flashmob. Once the room started to fill out, Lindsay introduced us to the group activity – designed to develop perspectives, objectively look at our current roles, and to see if any patterns could be identified from them. This helped to move us around the room and gave us an easy opener to talk to new people.
Luckily for me one of the people that came along was working in the same sector as a job which I’ve recently been shortlisted for. This was an invaluable opportunity to better understand the culture of this particular environment, and to ask for an insider’s opinion and perspectives. After about 2 hours we had covered everything that I’d wanted to find out and had swapped contact details so that I could be sent more information.
I quickly realised that the only agenda at this event was to grow your network. I didn’t imagine that I’d have much wisdom to share, but I found myself comparing the benefits of working in public and private sectors, and contract vs. permanent roles, with people who hadn’t yet had those experiences and were interested to find out more. In return, other people were answering questions that I’d had for months – giving me tips on how to find the best MBAs and the hot spots for project work outside of the M25. I had no idea who to ask until now.
Essentially, this was the most valuable 5 hours that I had spent in 10 months of living in London.
I thought you had to join an association (such as APM or PMI) to get these kinds of insights, and to network with other PMO people. But £5, and two G&Ts later, and I left with new connections, valuable opinions, already looking forward to the next meet-up.
A key thing that I learnt is that you never know who you might meet and how you might be able to connect with them, or how you’ll be able to help each other.
If you have a genuine interest in PMO, want to cultivate a network, connect to some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, or even want to dip your toe in the water, put the next Flashmob date in your diary. I’ll see you there!