The PMO Car Wash

Tom's latest eBook has been released on Amazon: "The 7 Myths of IT Integrations". Tom is also a Program Director for a large Midwest corporation and has been an adjunct faculty member at Walsh College. He has managed global web initiatives, data center moves and large multi-million dollar programs.

It seems that at one point or another everyone takes their car through an automated car wash. So I, being a member of “everyone”, took my car through the car wash this past weekend. Automated car washes are like miniature assembly lines; it’s always interesting to me to watch how the car wash manages the flow of vehicles through the wash tunnel. And it was there that I had an epiphany about car washes and how they directly relate to projects and the PMO.

(Trust me on this. I do have a point…)

Demand (Keep the Pipeline Full)
The car wash near where I live is a full-service car wash; you physically get out of your car and they thoroughly clean the interior, run it through the wash and you pick your car up after it has been towel dried at the end of the line.

This car wash, however, had recently made a change. If you didn’t want the whole full-service wash, then they gave you the option for an exterior car wash only. They did this by offering a special “express lane” where you could remain in your car and ride through the wash. Now it’s still the same single-lane car wash line, but it is now being fed by two alternating traffic lanes: one express and one full-service. This was a bonus because it allowed them to add an additional service to the car wash and maximize their pipeline of vehicles to keep their wash lines…

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