Project management office (PMO) directors. They can be helpful or they can be a necessary evil. Someone has to steer the ship. But does it have to be THAT person? Have you heard yourself and/or your colleagues talk that way about your PMO director? If so, then this article may be for you. I’ve been involved in creating, participating, and leading several PMOs over the years and I have some definite opinions about what works as well as what doesn’t. I’m may not be 100 percent correct, but this is a starting point…let’s hear your opinions on this topic after you read the article a couple of times...
I know you don't get a lot of second chances in life and even less often in the world of project management. And if it's your own project that failed…forget it - your organisation isn't likely to give you a second chance at bringing it back to life. They'll likely call on another project manager to ensure that the customer doesn't have a doom and gloom perspective by staring into the same face that was unsuccessful previously. And what about the customer? Will a customer whose project was halted due to failure give an organisation a second chance to make this right? Will they turn the reins back over to the same organisation just because of a new promise and a new team assembled to hopefully breath new life into a project that had already let them down once?
In a perfect world we could have anything we want. And that goes with our professional perfect world as well. And in terms of project management, that would mean we could pick what we manage, when we manage, who we manage, what customers we manage projects for, how we manage, what processes we follow and to whom we report project information. Total freedom. As an independent consultant, you get some of those freedoms, but you are still accountable and if you think otherwise, then you’ll soon find yourself with lots of time on your hands and no clients to perform any work for.
So, you’re a project manager and you are diligently managing your project or projects and you’ve got the usual full plate and you’re working hard to keep everything on track and all projects on the right path to success. You’ve got a full plate of work in front of you and you realize that you can put ‘proper’ detail into each project, but not extreme detail…you may not be able to be as professional and detailed as you would like to be or ‘best practices’ would dictate you manage projects. But you will still be professional and you still want to achieve success.
Feedback is something many of us avoid like the plague. Come on…be honest. If you give feedback at a restaurant, it’s usually when something goes wrong, not right…correct? I know we like to think we give kudos to our kids, our wives, our colleagues…and maybe many of you are good at that. I try to be. But I know we all get in ruts where we tend to be giving out far more negative feedback than praise. And how about when the tables are turned…when that feedback is directed at us? Of course positive feedback is always better that negative feedback…I’ll take praise over criticism any day. But feedback is feedback, right? It can be joyful, it can be painful, but it’s always insightful and it almost always is a learning experience.
Giving feedback directly
There are many different ways we give and receive feedback as project managers. The first way – and most common way - we give it is to our direct project team members. This is a critical activity. Why? Because you want to do it carefully so as not to offend those you’ll be working with on a project for the next 12 months while you work through the tasks in the schedule found in the online project management software. And you want to do it constructively because as project managers I feel it is always our duty to help our project team members grow, acquire new skills, refine old ones and help them become great project team members while they are under our direction. So praise and correction go hand in hand and, when handled properly can be a great motivating tool for the project team members we have on our current projects. And that’s good because we’re likely to see them again on future projects.
In Part 1, I covered the first two out of the five things that I feel a Project Management Office (PMO) Director must bring to the table in order to effectively lead the project management office in the organization and make it a viable entity….
• PM expertise
• Resource management experience
In this Part 2, we’ll examine the final three capabilities that I feel the PMO Director must bring with them into the position in order to have the best chance of making the project management office and ongoing success within the organization.
Hmm…leadership experience. Anyone involved in project management really needs to bring this to the table….although I realize that new project managers won’t yet have this experience. But we’re not talking about new project managers here – we’re talking about the person designated to lead the office of project management full of experienced and developing project managers tasked with leading some of the most important initiatives their organization will take on each year. It’s not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. The PMO Director must be a take-charge individual, ready to step in and help make key project decisions that can make or break the online project management software schedule, knock down project roadblocks, and help engage customers when they become aware that project managers or key projects are in trouble or experiencing issues.
Have any of you ever run into a situation where your leadership (PMO Director, manager, director, someone above you...) has given you direction on a project that you think is misaligned with the project or customer's best interests? I can be a bit of a loose cannon sometimes, but it has happened to me on several occasions and I've usually followed leaderships directions...usually with regrets. But, it's hard to butt heads with them - especially if it's earlier in your career or early in your tenure with a company.
Can any of you share thoughts or experiences on this? Has it happened to you - what did you do? Please share your thoughts in the Project Smart forum....
Based on my experiences from being involved in successful and unsuccessful project management offices and my own stints leading project management offices, I’d like to discuss what I consider to be five key things that every good PMO needs to bring to the table in order to be effective and help the project management office succeed. These characteristics or qualities are not listed in any particular order and definitely go beyond their ability to understand and manage a web-based project management software schedule. This is definitely not an all-inclusive list – but these are very basic and necessary ingredients for PMO success, in my opinion. After reading these two parts, I would be very interested in getting our readers’ feeback/thoughts on what they consider to be key PMO Director traits for helping to ensure PMO success.
In this Part 1, I’ll discuss the first two key things the leader of the project management office needs to bring with them as they lead the organization’s project management office…
I can’t believe that I’m really saying this, but it’s true that risks breeds excitement. Some would say risk also causes heart attacks and high blood pressure. But monotonous project engagements can be risky as well even if no real risks come up… simply because everyone has been lulled to sleep and things can start to fall through the cracks.
Edginess is good – at least from time to time. Risk is challenging. Risk is energizing. Fighting risk keeps a team cohesive. It definitely can work to keep everyone on the project team engaged. And it can keep you from losing a key project resource that you might otherwise have to give up if you’re project is moving along smoothly. By now I realize you probably think I’m crazy, but keep reading on…
You want powerful? Done. You want project scheduling? Done. How about detailed time tracking? Done. What about giving your project team a full-featured collaboration tool to help increase productivity and success? Done. And what about price…free? Done.
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Are you looking for project management software for your small business, large business, consulting practice or project management office? There are now literally hundreds of options available for web-based and desktop project management software solutions that are very affordable and full-featured for organizations of all sizes. The problem is, there has been no one place to go to find these offerings – no one location where buyers could shop the best and newest offerings in one location without arduous searches and comparison shopping made more difficult as they were forced to jump all over the internet.
Now, we have one location. PM Tools Review (www.pmtoolsreview.com) is the all new, go-to, one stop shopping place for finding the best project management software options available. You will find product overview, customer testimonials, demos, video tutorials, and webinars all in one easy to navigate location. It won’t be up to you to find all the vendors…they will come to you – from this one site.
Site founder, Brad Egeland (www.bradegeland.com) of Brad Egeland Consulting is a 27 year veteran of the IT industry, an successful project manager and consultant with more than 20 years experience leading projects and teams on engagements of all sizes, and a sought after professional project management and author of more than 1,500 articles on PM, IT, and business strategy. According to Mr. Egeland, the idea for the site was born in his own frustration of finding various PM software items to review, try out, recommend and purchase.
“It was literally taking me hours to locate project management software options and then I was forced to drill down through each site to look at demos, request contacts, check out archived webinars and view any YouTube videos or other types of tutorials each vendor might be offering,” said Mr. Egeland. “And trying to compare one option with another was a nightmare because I was backing out of one site to look at another and it was difficult to track who I had investigated and who I hadn’t. I wanted it all in one location. That’s when the concept for PM Tools Review came to mind. If I needed it, I figured many others could benefit from it as well.”
If you are a PMO Director, IT leader, CEO or other type of decision-maker in your organization and are looking for project management software to evaluate for your expanding PM needs, then check out www.pmtoolsreview.com. Likewise, if you are a PM software vendor and want to make sure that your offering is included in this highly visible site, then use the contact form at PM Tools Review to make sure your site is included…or email Brad Egeland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Brad Egeland