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Topics: Agile, Construction, Leadership
Contracted as a PMO to bring the Project Management Division up to par.

I am will soon be working for a fortune 500 financial company which is bringing me on as their PMO to manage 4 in house project managers and revamp their entire commercial portfolio of about 1,000,000 Rsq. All the projects we will undergo will be rehab/renovation projects.

Currently they have 4 project managers working in house but outsource their Project Management and Cost Control Management to a third party consultancy company. They expect me to eliminate this cost by hiring more in house team members and bringing on some sort of Project Management Software.

I just recently received a CSM but cant see this Division transforming into 100% agile within my 3-6 months contract to hire agreement.

I NEED HELP, Where should I start? How can lead this team of 4 PM's to be productive? What is the best Agile related Project Management Software in the market I can put in for a requisite for that will help us eliminate the cost of having this third party consultant managing our schedules, budgets, risks, milestones, change orders, RFI's, Flowcharts, Burn down/up charts, Stakeholder Reporting etc etc etc etc?

Any support from any Agile, PMO or PM industry leaders would be greatly appreciated!
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Why does it have to go Agile? How mature is Agile within the company now? If it's non-existent, you're not going to be able to transform the place into Agile in 3-6 months, but you can do the project using Agile IF it is warranted. Use Jira and Excel to handle most of the areas you mentioned, but remember the outsourced consultant will probably need to be involved since they will have the best knowledge of how things are being done at the moment.

Thanks for your feedback on the software, i’ll Look into Jiri as excel is already being used for everything.

Regarding agile; The VP wants to move towards agile methodologies as a “best practice “ within the PMO Divison. I know this could take up to 1 year but I need further recommendations/advise on a starting point of where and how to begin this transformation.
1 reply by Lenka Pincot
Apr 18, 2018 9:23 PM
Lenka Pincot
Hi Simon, when your VP wants agile, do you know if he has any methodology in mind more that others? Do you know what is his motivation to go with agile? There are so many great advice here, definitely worth doing. I think on top of that you should spend a bit of time to understand better what is your sin for the required change. It may help you to prepare the plan for the transformation if you know the priorities where the improvement is needed. I think couple of month is too short to achieve complete transformation especially if you need to replace out of the house knowledge and experience with internal resources. But if you know what is the VPs concern you may set the right priorities. Does he want agile because he believes that the projects will be delivered faster with less costs? Is he really ready for agile way of planning and estimating? Is the VP agile in his way of thinking or if he’s more looking for more success on the projects in terms of better management and cost saving? What about LEAN, is this what he’s looking for?

Simon -

I think you'd want to start with assessing where they are, prioritize pain points in some order, and then focus on changing behavior and introducing some basic, good practices first before looking at revamping their entire delivery approach or implementing software solutions.

I'd expect that training and coaching at the executive, functional manager and team level will be required to move to a more repeatable, predictable level.


Thanks Kiron
Duly noted, that is how I was thinking to approach the challenge.

On the software side of the business there is just so many options and being that this would
Be my first PMO role I want to ensure the right software is chosen and to make the PM’s jobs easier with the right functionality.

The software you pick will be driven by a number of factors including:

- organization maturity
- budget
- specific processes which have been instutitionalized
- stakeholder information needs

Till you have nailed down some of the above, don't jump into the tools pool as there's a lot of sales sharks out there promising to solve world hunger!


Sad to say, but that is very true. Thank you again for your guidance and direction. I will follow your path as well as welcome others suggestions.


Simon - I agree with Kiron. Plan the plan - how will you gather where the org currently is, what the pain points are and the skill sets of your current team. Then work with the business owners/sponsors and determine the long term (big picture) goals. You job is then to develop the path/the map to get from where you are to where you need to be and how long/how many steps it will take to get you there. Don't bog yourself down with software, etc. - focus on the big items and if you 'ask the question(s) correctly, they will start to answer themselves'. Good luck.

Thank you Meade, great advise to start with and blend with Kiron’s direction and guidance.

I endorse all the suggestions above, in addition to a few minor points:
1) Remember where you are- this is the Construction Business- IT practices are not practical in the reality of our business. You will have so many other issues to deal with: Project Manager buy in and avoidance of Drama, Coordination and drama related to coordination with other division Senior Managers, and the Creation of a Practical PMO Execution Plan.
2) Selecting a Construction Management software should always include: the ability to share plans with comments, EVM, Dashboard for Senior Management, Doc Controls, Procurement, Change Management,Daily Field Reporting and the ability for the system to be easy to use by the admins on site. Gearing the system to the lowest common denominator is vital.
3) In my opinion, it would take 3 months to understand the challenges involved....

From the trenches-


Thanks Mark, this is great insight coming from a Construction PMO, Senior PM. We’ll definitely be connecting once I settle down in my new role and have a chance to evaluate the Divison. Btw, I saw you were in SA for some time, I spent a good 8-9 years in Dubai myself. Great places to gain knowledge but happy to be home in the good’ol US of A!

Simon. K
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