Fantasy PMO - Creating The Optimum Project Management Office (PMO)
Sometimes a rag-tag bunch of misfits that have been thrown together join forces and deliver a program of work. When it happens, it can be magical but it’s a rare thing.
You don’t always get to pick and choose. You might have a leadership team assembled but without players on the field it’s not going to be much of a game is it? Here we look at some of the traits you, as a PMO manager should be seeking out to ensure you build a delivery team positioned for success.
Organisationally, the sponsorship is top down in approach however in practice, your sponsor is the foundation on which the project should be built. While “fit” doesn’t come into play, the best sponsor more importantly should be invested in seeing successful delivery of the project. They must be able to promote the project at the appropriate level but also be accessible. The most successful projects are run where the program/project manager has daily access to the executive sponsor. By the time a PMO is stood up, the sponsor will already be in place so it’s important that you instill these qualities in your sponsor as early as possible.
There is a reason why the coordinator is second on the list above the project manager. Ideally a master scheduler (and far more organised than you’ll ever have to be), the gun coordinator will be the left hand to your right. The coordinator’s role is to support the sponsor and is the point of contact across a multitude of areas. Combining in-depth knowledge or scope, timelines and financials also being supportive of your stakeholders. Whether it’s owning (and driving) collation of all reports and project documentation, onboarding new team members or simply making sure that the room is ready for your next steerco you cannot live without a good coordinator.
Proven ‘People Person’ Project Manager
Too many times statements like “He/She can be pretty difficult to work with but has a reputation for delivering”, get thrown around in project land. That might get you over the line for one of two major milestones but on a significant program of work where you’re running a marathon verses a 100m sprint is it going to be sustainable? You want a person who can lead from in front, not from on high.
Cherished Change Manager
Hopes and dreams will only get you so far, so when it comes down to the pointy end of the project your change representative has kept the interests of the business in mind throughout the journey to ensure transitions to new ways of working are as smooth as possible. For your change rep there should be no such thing as ‘too difficult’ when it comes to conversation. Ultimately, the change rep is selling the change to the frontline business so they need to be on board from the start and should also share the project teams' vision and mindset.
The modern business analyst’s role is broader than ever. But what do you need? Tech focused? Business focused? Hybrid? There is no clear answer, so priority needs to be put on defining the role before finding the right people. If it’s a team of BAs, you need to think carefully about who should lead them. Balancing strong leadership qualities with seasoned BA expertise and a sprinkling of growth mindset will serve you well here.
Your test lead should be a logical thinker but be methodical in their approach, with a curious nature and attention to detail to ensure success.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing subject matter experts seconded to my projects. But an all too regular character flaw is the lack of growth mindset. Projects need project people and while sitting in a role for one, two to TEN years makes you an expert in your field it can also make you averse to change.
The good thing here is that growth mindset isn’t a developed skill it’s an attitude, a mentality or even a mantra for some. When assembling your PMO, prioritise facilitating acceptance that a constant state of change isn’t necessarily bad, it’s project land and often that is where we live. Unite your seconded resources by putting emphasis on the process versus the result. Start to look at failures in a different light, be it learnings or areas for improvement. Pair your SMEs with people who already display that mindset because they are usually optimistic always positive and their love for what they do is infectious.
You’ll notice that the fantasy PMO team is a list of traits and behaviours rather than a set of skills; that means you can demonstrate this type of thinking and apply them to any EXISTING team.
Steven Morrissey – Practice Lead
If your organisation needs assistance with establishing a high-performing PMO, QMV can help.
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