Avoiding Automated Chaos

Michelle Stronach has over 20 years of experience in the project management field, with experience creating successful PMOs and implementing project, portfolio management and IT governance frameworks. Michelle truly appreciates the value of feedback and welcomes comments on her articles. https://twitter.com/mlstronach

On my first day of my job, my boss told me that the management team had a session scheduled for the following day to plan out the implementation of our recently purchased Project Portfolio Management software...and oh, and by the way, I was leading it.

Talk about hitting the ground running. I was anticipating having a few weeks to get the lay of the land. But instead, I was leading my fellow managers (whom I hadn’t even yet met) in an implementation strategy workshop. I had no idea of the organization’s project management capabilities or what they hoped to achieve with the implementation of a new tool.

I soon discovered that the organization’s project management maturity was low. Upon forming the Project Management Office, my predecessor and boss had done a great job raising awareness on the need for unified project management--but they had not yet instilled repeatable processes. After all, these things take time. But how do you automate chaos?

It was kind of like putting the cart before the horse. Fortunately, I did have experience implementing PPM processes and tools so I had a few ideas on how to get the horse turned around and pointed in the right direction. I bought myself some time by implementing a very basic and generic configuration of the product so that the teams could start becoming familiar with the features of the tool while I …

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