I'd like to briefly review a few areas that might be worth looking at if you would like to enhance the value your PMO provides to your internal or external customers or to your organization overall. We all know we need to constantly evolve, grow, adapt and look for areas to add new value for all our stakeholders. The below suggestions are meant to provide a few ideas for you to consider.
Client specific Program Management Offices - in commercial relationships, overseeing one large client contract and Program - often have lifespan of multiple years and undergo significant change in scope and related processes as client scope, services, cost pressure, technology advances or other factors over time enable or require their PMOs to change too.
Regional Client Program Management Offices - overseeing multiple different Client Programs/Contracts with a vertical or regional focus - often have lifespan of multiple years. Over longer periods, the supplier organization typically must adjust to business changes and likely enhances the range of delivery methods, tool-sets, perhaps performs business process re-engineering and outsourcing, and they add new commercial services requiring different project delivery skills and approaches. There is a lot to facilitate and keep straight in such an environment.
Corporate/Enterprise PMOs - supporting the governance of Project, Program and even Portfolio Management processes for an entire corporate organization or division. EPMOs are typically focused on developing, implementing and governing enterprise level methods, standards and processes for project and program management and likely are also overseeing a handful of the largest, most critical initiatives of the organization.
Other types of PMOs - include PMOs overseeing large initiatives internal to an organization - perhaps those assigned to large optimization initiatives, those overseeing M&A transactions or large product development and infrastructure deployment efforts. They might have similarities or represent a mix of the above and based on specific needs benefit from several of the recommended elements.
Enhance your PMO: Regardless which type of PMO you are working with today or in the future, I hope you'll find areas of potential inspiration and improvements in this blog, and I encourage you to look for additional ideas in the PMO Quick Tip Guides published by PMI. These small summaries were compiled by a handful of PMO enthusiasts to help you with ideas of this type. They are available here:
Thanks a lot, until next time,
Morten Sorensen, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, ITIL
Vice President PMO, Peraton
Morten Sorensen has been in global IT and Telecommunications his entire career and has lived in Denmark, Germany and now US. He is Vice President of the Project Management Office at Peraton. Morten is certified in Portfolio Management (PfMP), Program Management (PgMP) and Project Management (PMP) and a frequent speaker on topics of: Strategic Initiative Management, Benefits Realization Management, Portfolio Management and roles of PMOs (Project Management Offices).
What I Learned From Dick Costolo’s Opening Keynote at the PMO Symposium® 2018
By Quynh Woodward
The performance expectation for a keynote speaker is always high. Keynote speakers set the underlying tone and convey important messages for events. In November 2018, Dick Costolo delivered a spectacular opening at the PMO Symposium held in Washington, D.C., USA.
Dick Costolo was most recently the chief executive officer of Twitter, serving from October 2010 to June 2015, where he took the company from US$0 to US$1.5 billion in annual revenue. According to Mr. Costolo, there are many paths to success, but to enhance your chances, focus on the speed of execution and leadership.
Here is a breakdown of his tips for strengthening the “speed of execution” muscle of your PMO:
On a regular basis at your team meetings, ask the following question: “What is it taking us too long to learn and how can we learn that faster?” This question enables teams to reflect on solutions. The “Why is it taking us too long to learn?” question often surfaces commonly held dogmas or practices that are not always useful or true.
As an organization grows, increasingly the default answer to every question is “no.” The bias to yes means that there are many paths to get to “yes” within the organization to avoid hindering creativity. As long as the activities are legal, encourage employees to innovate and try new things. Avoid the most nefarious version of “no,” which is “you have to go ask these other 12 people for permission.” Your team will spend their time asking for permission rather than taking critical action.
The job of leaders is not to prevent mistakes, but to correct mistakes quickly. Protecting the or the desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal—it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
Rules are set up to simplify life for managers, but they can hinder business results. Instead, replace the critical rules with principles and guidelines, and enable your team to work using their good judgment.
Costolo’s Tried-and-True Leadership Principles
The principles below are based on what Mr. Costolo learned from Bill Campbell, who was the executive coach to Larry Page, Eric Schmidt and Jeff Bezos, as well as Dick Costolo.
Bill Campbell believed that management excellence is about helping people to flourish in their environment, not telling people what to do. Your title makes you a manager. Your team decides if you are a leader.
Principle 1 – Communicate context for decisions rather than authority.
One of the hardest things for leaders is the communication architecture, especially when you are scaling teams. The way to build trust with your team is to listen, be forthright and communicate context for decisions rather than authority. Explain the why and not just the what.
Principle 2 – Push decisions down the stack.
Ask yourself: “What’s the highest-leverage thing I could be doing right now?” When in doubt, force yourself to delegate. Set a weekly goal of the percentage of meetings you will stop attending and start delegating. Make sure action items are delegated to your team appropriately. Give people ownership by providing authority and accountability. As a leader, it is not your job to make every decision. It’s to ensure that decisions get made and to resolve issues when your team cannot reach consensus. If you make all the decisions, then you may become the conduit for organizational politics.
Principle 3 - Eliminate politics.
Avoid being the sole decision maker. A common challenge for new leaders is that they feel obligated to make all decisions. What you may get are pre-meetings before the actual meeting. These pre-meetings are set up to lobby and influence your decision. To eliminate these pre-meetings and politics, you need to encourage debate openly in the meeting room. It’s okay for people to be contentious about a decision. It shows their passion. While social cohesion feels good, getting to the right answer/solution is better. The goal of a manager is not to get to social cohesion, but to get to the right solution. Don’t punish people for debating with you. However, once the debate is done and the decision made, follow Jeff’s Bezos’ advice: “Disagree and commit.” When people cannot agree, don’t get discouraged because contrarians on the team can have great ideas. Send people who do not agree with one another to work together and develop a proposed joint solution.
Principle 4 – Understand the culture.
Ask your teams: “Tell me something that’s not working well.” Get different perspectives. Take notes and don’t agree or disagree with the person on the spot. Reflect to get an overview of the political culture, and learn about what people believe. Take your insights back to your leadership team and act purposely to eliminate political culture.
Mr. Costolo closed out the keynote session with a few of Jeff Bezos’ words of advice:
In one short hour, Mr. Costolo used analogies and simple stories to convey these viewpoints.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Dick Costolo's keynote.