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Topics: Change Management, Ethics, Scope Management
Managing realigned role - risks and benefits
James is a PMO lead in a company ABC. He has an industry experience of about two decades and leads a PMO for the company. Other than the PMO responsibilities, James was also involved in supportive organizational activities (not necessarily related to PMO). Recently due to a personal issue, James had to take an yearlong break from his work. James now wants to get back to the work with ABC albeit with a change in his role and hence responsibilities. The change would mean focusing only on PMO activities and exclusion of any activities outside of his core PMO work. James would also need to reduce his working hours by 60%. ABC leadership and James have agreed to adjust his compensation in line with the changes agreed upon. To help balance his personal and professional lives, in this changed role, James wishes to adhere to this modified scope of work. However, given James was a star performer in his PMO role, and with his prior history/familiarity with the organization, he is likely to get pulled into activities now not in his modified scope of work.

How should James and ABC leadership plan and conduct the recommencing of James's comeback in an ethically correct manner with the new responsibilities? ,

Looking forward to your suggestions.
*Names in this discussion are fictional.
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Good scenario, Deepa!

Since there is an agreement between the leadership team and James on the reduced scope of his work, a few things come to mind:

1. Identifying any gaps which need to be filled based on the reduction in work scope and addressing those proactively. Since James will be paid less, there is budget which has been freed up for back filling those legacy responsibilities.

2. Clearly setting expectations with all involved stakeholders about James new scope of work and the commitment the leadership team is making to supporting this change

3. The leadership team and James need to jointly create a return to work plan for him along with some checkpoints in the first 90 days to identify and address any challenges

Kiron
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1 reply by Deepa Bhide
May 09, 2022 10:44 PM
Deepa Bhide
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Thanks Kiran for the comments. I agree and also agree that the catch is where there is an expectation mismatch with senior management - sort of unwritten expectation.
The biggest problem I see is the reduced work hours. Having achieved a certain level of performance as a full-time PMO lead, James will be dealing with senior management expectations. Senior management will be looking for similar, or even better results, without the same time and salary input.

The managers I know who tried to work part-time wind up trying to do a full week's worth of work, regardless of their agreed weekly schedule.
May 09, 2022 7:38 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Good scenario, Deepa!

Since there is an agreement between the leadership team and James on the reduced scope of his work, a few things come to mind:

1. Identifying any gaps which need to be filled based on the reduction in work scope and addressing those proactively. Since James will be paid less, there is budget which has been freed up for back filling those legacy responsibilities.

2. Clearly setting expectations with all involved stakeholders about James new scope of work and the commitment the leadership team is making to supporting this change

3. The leadership team and James need to jointly create a return to work plan for him along with some checkpoints in the first 90 days to identify and address any challenges

Kiron
Thanks Kiran for the comments. I agree and also agree that the catch is where there is an expectation mismatch with senior management - sort of unwritten expectation.
Dear Deepa
The topic that you brought to our reflection and debate was very interesting.

The scope of James' work could be completely different: to become a mentor.
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1 reply by Deepa Bhide
May 11, 2022 10:59 AM
Deepa Bhide
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I agree with you. James could teach how to fish than give fish!
I see several problem areas here, Deepa.

1. James was out of the job for 1 year and apparently someone covered his job on the PMO and elsewhere. This person did a great job and maybe deserves to continue, in all cases they deserve RESPECT. And management has to exercise FAIRNESS to James and others.
Not sure if a 100% PMO lead should be replaced by a 60% person, being RESPONSIBLE management, doing the best for the organisation.

It has to be defined what James' role would be in the new setup and how James new RESPONSIBILITY looks like.

2. the reduced workload for James may put him in a permanent conflict of interest between his commitment and demands coming up to him. He has to build behaviours to handle this CoI RESPECTful, RESPONSIBLE, and in a HONEST way. Like learning how to say no. How to prioritise.

Maybe Luis has a good point in recommending James should focus on coaching and mentoring.

Thomas
Thomas, these are excellent points. I see this scenario coming up often in the recent times where folks are trying to reshuffle their responsibilities. Thanks
May 10, 2022 3:26 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
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Dear Deepa
The topic that you brought to our reflection and debate was very interesting.

The scope of James' work could be completely different: to become a mentor.
I agree with you. James could teach how to fish than give fish!
Respect between James and ABC's leadership is essential and key in whatever will happen in the future.
James's responsibility is the main driver on fulfilling the role with the modified scope.
Thank you Deepa for raising this issue that will be frequent post Covid.

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