The Lazy Project Manager

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Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance. More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

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Can I borrow you for a sec because I’m stacked? It will be a win-win situation. I have been blue sky thinking and want to keep you in the loop on my thinking outside of the box, as well as picking your brains, I’m just playing devils’ advocate on this teamwork/dreamwork idea. Will it work? Well how long is a piece of string?

Have I lost you? I suspect I have as the above paragraph includes all ten of the most annoying things people say in the office according to a survey of 2,000 people by recruitment website reed.co.uk

Rubbish aren’t they – time for a paradigm shift, we can’t boil the ocean with limited bandwidth but there is low hanging fruit out there so let’s tee it up, circle back, take it offline and do more with less. We need to break the silos to move the needle because it is what it is. What we must do at the end of the day is run it up the flagpole, bite the bullet, peel back the layers of the onion and take it, if push comes to shove, to the bleeding edge. Making sure we are not out of pocket, which is par for the course, let’s get one throat to choke whilst opening the kimono, and synergise as we all drink the Kool Aid. Awesome!

Clearer? I think not, you have no idea what I am on about do you and no surprise. That paragraph included twenty five of the most overused phrases from Business Insider UK. The thing is that they were all once a neat and creative way of expressing a thought or an idea but overuse has made them into at first clichés and then just bloody annoying things that some of our work colleagues roll out regularly on calls and at meetings, presumably because they can’t think of anything intelligent to say instead. Clichés appear to make you connected to what is going on without actually having to have any real understanding or anything of value to contribute. It is like a code that just gets you out of a tricky moment.

Question: ‘What do think of this new approach?’

Answer: ‘You have my buy-in on this particular swim lane, I like the core competency and feel empowered as a result’

Yes, I am back at it again, this time looking at the Forbes most annoying business jargon list.

There are lots of moving parts when you put your best practice ducks in a row and leverage the scalable solution from the burning platform. It is imperative that we drill down and smell the coffee in this one-stop shop because today is the day, all 24/7 of it, and tomorrow, like our children, is our future.

Oh my, it is addictive isn’t it?

So please, be a rock star … and stop! 

Posted on: December 04, 2018 07:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

The PMO Business Case

Any business case should focus on and define the key problems that the solution should address. In this case it is the investment in a PMO. For any change to take place and be supported there has to be either a ‘pain’ that needs resolving or a benefit that wants to be achieved – or perhaps a combination of both. For the PMO the ‘pain’ will be a list of project issues, low quality of deliverables, late delivery, budget overruns and so on.  The benefit might include avoiding lost opportunities or for accelerating strategic deployment.

You get the picture I’m sure.

Indeed there may be no need for such an argument at all if the business itself understands the value of a PMO and opts to invest in one to support project activity.

It sounds simple and it can be, but organizations vary in their approach to such matters and you will know your own organization the best. What is essential is that you have the sponsorship at executive level in order that this business case is well received.

Therefore you might consider developing your PMO business case in the following way:

Assessment: During this assessment stage record all of the problems that the organization is experiencing. Make sure that you reach out to all of the stakeholders – executive, project owners, sponsors, project managers, partners, customers and business unit leaders. You can do this through interviews and surveys; anyway that you feel is appropriate and generates the information you need from the people that matter. A useful tip is to use quotes from those that you have interviewed, this brings a touch of reality to the business case and added buy-in from those you spoke out.

Also try and quantify the impact of the issues that you are reporting. It helps gain support when people are presented with simple to understand ‘consequences’ (whether in monetary terms or other) for the issues that you uncover in the assessment.

Don’t be unjustifiably negative here; if something is already working well then say so – it is quite possible that an initiative for, say, project management training that is already underway can be taken under the wing of a new PMO and developed become more effective.

Benefits: Using the assessment list, develop a benefits statement which will define the value that you believe will be delivered to your organization by the successful implementation of the PMO that you are proposing.  Tip: Make sure that you include some sort of growth plan as a PMO cannot be expected to address all of the problems and provide all solutions from day one. Start with the most significant needs first and then identify where the PMOs attention will move to in phase two and three and so on. Double check these with the key stakeholders to validate your priorities.

This is one way to structure it is this:

Project aspect -

  • Better project performance: delivering on time

  • Better project performance: delivering within budget

  • Better project performance: delivering to scope

  • Improved customer satisfaction: project output meets agreed customer expectations

Business aspect -

  • Improved efficiency: through standardization of operations and methods

  • Higher utilization: through better resource allocation and capacity planning.

  • Accurate time to ROI : through faster and better quality project status reporting (progress, risks, issues, changes etc)

  • Improved project initiation: through a more realistic prioritization of project work

  • Better decision making: through the combining of business ‘silos’ into one business representation

  • Raised professionalism: through the development of a project management community

You should also consider the type and model of PMO that you are proposing to lead and articulate the options that are possible and preferable.  Stakeholders should understand the opportunities that a PMO can offer as well as the various means of a PMO working within and for a business.

Take a moment at this point, to consider the likely evolution plan for the PMO – perhaps you intend to start at departmental level and scale up for the enterprise in the future, once the PMO has gained experience and a track record of success (and the business is ready to invest at that level).

Remember you need to win over hearts and minds through your business case and you need to build the ‘need’ to a level that is critical.

One way to achieve this is to:

  • Link the business case to the ‘problems’ that the PMO can address

  • Add in the ‘benefits’ of investing in the PMO

  • And don’t forget to remind the audience of the ‘implications’ of not moving ahead with a PMO

All of this must, in the minds of the decision makers, be greater than the combined ‘cost’ and ‘risk’ of accepting this change proposition together with the perceived ‘pain’ of such change being carried out plus any ‘hidden’ concerns that your stakeholders may have.

Build that case and you have good chance of winning your argument – and you will be given the green light for your PMO.

Posted on: March 18, 2016 09:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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