PMO Scars, Challenges and Career Highlights

PMO Flashmob at Project ChallengeIt was Project Challenge again this week – the Project Management Expo in London and once again we met new PMO professionals who had yet to experience the delights of PMO Flashmob!

Each time we do the show we always think it’s a good idea to capture some of the thoughts of the visitors – for one, it helps us capture potential future topics for PMO Flashmob events – and it also helps us do a quick temperature check on common challenge areas for people working in PMO (after all the show is called Project Challenge!). It’s not scientific but do always ask the question about what challenges people are facing and over the last few years of doing this, we certainly see some trends.

Current PMO Challenges

We asked the question, what’s your biggest PMO challenge?

Here’s this week’s responses:

  • Convincing our manager that the PMO can do a lot more than administration.
  • Setting up a repository to capture and share lessons learnt (and then using it!)
  • How to foster communication?
  • Attempting to negotiate rates as a PMO contractor.
  • Standardising project management in an Agile environment.
  • How does the PMO maintain controls whilst centralising three teams and going through an Agile transformation?
  • Will AI and bots run the PMO of the future?
  • Embedding standards.
  • Communication between people, data and systems.
  • How can we provide a service up and down the chain? Products/reports a tangible service.
  • Using Agile in transformation programmes.
  • Sponsorship.
  • Striking the right balance between a standardised way of working and adapting to the project managers way of working.
  • Working well with the finance department.
  • Creating an understanding that reporting is not a punishment for project managers.
  • Running a voluntary PMO with volunteers.
  • Investing in training and development of staff from non project backgrounds.

Have a listen to our short video session:

 

 

Why not join in too?

What about you? Got any challenges you’d like to share with us, that we could use to decide on future PMO Flashmob session themes?

Let us know your answers to some or all of our Project Challenge questions

 

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We also asked a question about failure.

PMO Scars

The question was, what’s your PMO scar – something you tried that went wrong.

  • We were happy enough with a role with too little influence
  • Being switched from one business unit to another using the same approaches
  • Wrong PMO for the business
  • Running before the organisation could walk
  • Tried to implement a PPM tool into an environment of low maturity
  • The business thinks process is more important than people when doing projects

On the second day we went with a further two questions, these were – how did you get into PMO? and what’s your PMO career highlight?

The first one was pretty easy for people to answer – answers ranging from ‘by chance’ to ‘from being a Project Manager’ – from a graduate rotation to having ‘the gift of the gab’ to talk themselves into the opportunity.

The second question was a lot harder for people to answer. Its almost like we don’t spend enough time thinking of the positives in our careers so when people ask you to share a highlight the answer is not immediately there.

Some of the highlights included being able to work on projects and programmes that affect public life in some way – like the Olympics and the NHS. For others it’s the accomplishment of setting up a PMO. You can see that the page is almost empty, perhaps we need to focus on this more in future??

Let us know how you would have answered!

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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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