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The Back 10 The Future PPSOSIG conference revisited popular topics and invited back our most popular presenters from the last ten years. We also looked ahead to the next 10 years and how we are trying to help the PMO profession develop from a strong foundation.

Popular past speakers and experts included Sue Vowler (P3O author), Craig Kilford (Portfolio Management), Melanie Franklin (Maven Training), Donnie MacNicol (Team Animation). We also looked to the future, and invited new guests Michael Finer (Project Office Simulation), Peter Taylor (Lazy PM) and Accenture consultants Adam Cowmeadow and Michael Cooch.

Throughout the two day conference there was a celebration of 10 years of PPSOSIG with some special birthday surprises and treats along the way. Delegates had the opportunity throughout the two day event to network and take part in interactive sessions.

We welcome back to the PPSOSIG conference, past speakers;

And in true party style we kick off with a little pass the parcel and some lucky delegates win the prize of their dreams thats right PMO related book titles from Gower and TSO thanks for the prize sponsorship!

Sue Vowlertalked about her own experiences and where she was 10 years ago. She found herself managing a project support office without knowing very much at all but knew she wanted to move it on from an admin support function to something value add.

The P3O journey started in October 2006 when it was initially conceived originally there was no real idea if there was a market for it but it was finally commissioned a year later and finally published in 2008 (Back in 2006 when the PPSOSIG was 6 years old we definitely knew there was a market!) . As at July 2010 over 5000 copies have been sold. The initial foundation exam launched in October 2008 with the practitioner following in January 2010. As at July 2010 1500 have sat the Foundation level and just 300 the Practitioner.

More recently the guidance has been translated into Chinese and has been very well received internationally. There are also supporting materials and different forms of the guidance.

Todays challenge in project management cut costs, become more efficient, get better at delivering change etc. Sue believes these can all be addressed through the P3O nows the time for the project office to make a big difference its your time

Sue has been happy with the feedback from the users they especially like the practical nature of the guidance, however they want more on temporary project offices; sequence of events of setting up a PMO, more examples and case studies especially the pros and cons and finally more on tools and techniques.

Well give it 18 months, some thoughts from the very first PPSOSIG meeting Sue Vowler recounting the very first PPSOSIG conference!

The next version of P3O Sue asked the audience for help in the next in iteration of the guidance the future.

Using the Six Thinking Hats Edward de Bono as the approach, this interactive session was time for the PMO delegates to get involved and shape the future of P3O. On each table there are some feedback sheets for each Hat session (see download above).

Craig Kilford,the author for the new guidance from the OGC, Portfolio Management, spoke about the past, present and future of portfolio management.

In case youve never seen Craig present, its different there are no detailed slides so heres the commentary from the presentation;

Cool-o-meter just how cool is portfolio management? 2006, PRINCE2, MSP and Craig was doing a lot on project offices and portfolio management and then promptly ran away to Spain to start writing the portfolio management guidance. Then we had a recession which he believes made the subject of portfolio more prominent in organisations. Craig then start working with Stephen Jenner (see the OGC presentation from Stephen on governance in portfolio management) . The portfolio management PDF is available on the OGC website and has the biggest download count of all (free book PDF, draft format). Now theres an executive guideline and full guidance are in the process of being published (January 2011).

So the draft format has taken on board the feedback from the project management community and some stuff stays the same, some stuff has been changed and Craigalso shared some flashbacks and advice from his own successes and cockups.

So what stays the same the definition? Portfolio The totality of an organisations investment (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve its strategic objectives. Portfolio Management a co-ordinated collection of strategic processes and decisions that together enable the most effective balance of organisational change an business as usual.

The Model stays the same the theoretical model includes the portfolio definition and portfolio delivery in the middle PLUS energy!

Five key inputs senior management commitment, governance alignment, strategy alignment, portfolio office, energised change culture. Senior management commitment has to be involved and must be backed up with communication i.e., communication to the organisation that theyre buying into portfolio management. Governance alignment is all about having governance in the first place but also making sure its correctly aligned with senior management involvement. Portfolio Office, at the time of first writing there wasnt the P3O guidance, so in Craigs original piece he stressed that there MUST be a portfolio office and of course it has now linked to the P3O guidance. Energised change culture is all about how to create the right kind of environment where people are passionate about programme and project delivery.

The portfolio definition and portfolio delivery part of the model breaks down into two further cycles. The portfolio continues on and on (unlike programmes and projects which eventually deliver) so the two cycles are continuous. The portfolio definition is very simple deliveratey so because in Craigs experience thats what the senior management audience want no more acronyms and complex wording its understand, categorise, prioritise, balance and plan. Understanding whats going on in the organisation; categorising the projects; prioritising what the senior management think is important to them (its important here that you think about the process here how to get senior managers thinking about whats important may not be as easy as you think so give it some thought and think about the process); balancing the portfolio making sure the prioritisation is right and finally we can start thinking about the portfolio plan. At the same time as the portfolio definition is going on the portfolio delivery is also running. Organisational energy is what carries portfolio management the stuff that is about people how can we direct the passion, the cognitive capability of people, getting them energised to work, linked to the strategy.

The governance structure for portfolio management has not really changed; it includes the top board, senior management board and the delivery people. Portfolio management should be owed by someone at the top and chairs the portfolio meetings on a regular basis. The P3O model fits into the governance structure too portfolio office down to project office (the delivery).

Links with other best practice portfolio management is about doing the right things and programmes and projects about doing things right. This still remains the same.

So what has changed the stuff that we will see in the new guidance in January 2011. There will be more on benefits management how do we show that programmes and projects contribute really. So there will be focus on forecasting, keeping things updated (gates), how are they realised (for owners), and more on tracking and reporting.

There will be more on organisational energy, the extent to which an organisation has mobilised its emotional, cognitive and behavioural potential to pursue its goals. There are four types; Corrosive energy, resigned inertia, productive energy, comfortable energy. Production energy being the optimum but of course an organisation needs to understand where they are first of all and of course then how to get to the optimum.
There is also more focus on the real life examples of dashboards, business change lifecycles and more case studies. Key feedback from the initial draft was also a healthcheck for senior management.

So what about these cock-ups?

We eat too many projects and programmes never met an organisation that complains that they dont have enough projects and programmes always that they have too many

But we are evolving
Make sure you involve Management Board from the start the skills of the portfolio manager is imperative
Its not just about your slice of the pizza anymore its a collective view, no more keeping your part of the budget back etc
I dont think we should do this project
Show people the future whats really important is coming up with a blueprint a picture literally of what the future is going to be
Commitment AND communication senior management on board and more communication the communication that creates the buzz
There is a fine line between success and failure with reporting
Dont be a tree killer keep the paper to a minimum
Yes, process is important but keep the methodology book away from senior management board theyre involved in the creation can decide whats on the dashboard
One size does not fit all
Technology will not solve all your problems
Yay transparency it becomes obvious whos not playing ball in portfolio management
Putting your head in the sand is no longer an option
Involve people in the design client led design get the stakeholders in. As the PO you own the process but it belongs to everyone
Test it with a couple of Prog and Project Managers youll both learn loads
Make at least one programme famous the one that gets showcase and everyone else wants to be like it
Make guidance interesting (audio or video can be very cool) Long love Twitter, You Tube etc get with the modern technology. Craig talked about a project being kicked off by an animation, great way to share the launch
You are not too important to help other people complete reports
Life is not as simple as apples and pears
Its very easy to overcomplicate top level stuff when appropriate
Magic formulas dont exist
Being creative is cool dashboards
Being bored is shit
One mouth two ears
Only a few people like restraints (even they wont admit it)
But we do need some rules yellow cards when appropriate
Some people wont like you human nature
Focus on taking pain away and they will love you focus on stakeholder management how can you add value to them
Make things look sexy!
Have a bit of fun in the office
Happiness is important

Michael Finer, Dylanmae

In a PMO, you will have to be a confidant, friend and sometimes the mentor or coach to project managers. How can you possibly understand the pressure that they face, day-in, day-out unless youve done that job? This session is a simulation from Dylanmae that will put you at the heart of the project so you can help your project managers with confidence and empathy.

To find out more about the simulations take a look at the Dylanmae website.

The team from Dylanmae get started on the project simulation Dylanmae are focused on programme and project management (and portfolio!) and specialise in simulations a way of putting people in the shoes of certain positions in the organisations. Preparing for the in-flight pressure of working on a project a great experience for those working in the PMO who havent actively managed projects before. This special edition just for the PMOSIG cuts down the simulation from 8 hours to just 90 minutes so were keeping an eye on the clock!

Melanie Franklin, MD of Maven Training - Increasing capability through PMOs

Melanie kicks off by carrying out a quick straw poll of the audience:

How many people in the room are project office? 8,
Programme office? 19 and
Portfolio Office? 3

What does your company see as programmes? Part of the portfolio, large project, large expensive projects, dossier (list of projects). What are portfolios? A group of programmes.

This was the audience response to the definitions; so capability

What is capability and how does it relate to P3Os, PMOs etc and also what we need to change in what we do
capability and performance

Capability is becoming THE word in project management so capability is an ability for an organisation to get something done. Our ability to do something so the people, process and skills form part of the definition of capability. All three have to be in place so an organisation may have skilled people but there might be no methods, no processes, no decision making criteria etc etc.

Performance = work rate / speed, but performance is really about the people who go the extra mile they finish the task to a high level of quality, they volunteer to do something they get a group or team going.

Theyre also very focused and together when they work its not just about the hours you put in.
So where do we go next with PMO considering capability and performance so we have to make sure what we deliver (the services) actually get used in the organisation. Consider the triangle of constraints sure things get delivered on time, in budget and within quality but do they get used (of course this is also a benefits management approach)

Portfolio Management has become increasingly talked about in senior management a cultural change from the top down? Senior management are moving towards treating their project management culture as a whole more emphasis on what are we getting for our money theyre thinking about the whole group of projects within their organisation. Interestingly those in the PM community have been talking about portfolio for a while but now there is a tipping point for senior management has portfolio management come into its own? It seems a light has gone on for some senior management teams in organisations.

So why the fuss? Outside the financial implications of doing portfolio management; it also makes it clear to the senior management team that were making changes across the business so change management is coming to the fore. Also transparency! Were also getting matured moving from just delivery to making sure the implementation is spot on. And thats down to the offices. The scope of PMOs has in effect doubled were taking on the responsibility for areas like coaching project managers , making project managers more effective.

How much change can we deliver? Put capability and performance together and it gives us our capacity do we have the capacity as a PMO for all these changes that will be required for working in a portfolio management way.

So back to the audience what does capability mean for a PMO? What does performance mean for a PMO? Before discussing the audience were led to think about organisational capability and individual capability.
The new world the new manifesto the audience are asked to think about what they are going to include in their new world PMO in other words what would the business be happy to pay for in this new world where PMOs could come under threat.

Some new world order from the audience;

The Central Nervous System the back bone of the organisation. We are like bees we go from project to project, programme to programme spreading best practice. The business sat nav, the referees
Ensure benefits are related to support strategic business objectives, needs and change through effective presentation and assurance of projects.
To enable the organisation to realise its strategic objectives we deliver stuff
The conscience & common sense of the change community
Enabling/identifying the best use of people, skills, time cost, tools & processes whilst taking the organisation on a journey of continuous improvement
SPINE = Strategic, Portfolio, Implementation, Nurture, Energise

Special guest David Marsh

Coming to the end of the day we introduced a special guest. Someone who is really special to the PPSOSIG he actually started the SIG 10 years ago: David Marsh. David created the ISEB PPSO training and examinations and is the author of the PPSO Handbooks. A keen motor enthusiastic, he is nothing without his Animal! David retired a few years ago and now lives part of the year in New Zealand but has come back for the PPSOSIG 10th year birthday celebrations.David was interviewed by John Zachar, PPSOSIG Committee member

People in the PMO should be asking themselves if something was to come and pick up the PMO and remove it what would happen? Would the PMs cheer, would nothing happen? The PMO should be the central cog where its removal will be felt. It all comes back to the same thing adding value. The second thing is project failure; another area where the PMO could really make a great impact what role could you play in improving the rates of failure in your organisation.

Asked the question if he had a magic wand what would be change couple of interesting points he would change the definition of projects to to deliver a change or benefit and move away from the product, service or system way of thinking. He would also make sure execs and sponsors actually spend some time working within a PMO in fact he wouldnt let them out for a year!

It was great to see David back with the PPSOSIG team for the day; we wish him well in his retirement.

Peter Taylor, The Lazy Project Manager & Global Head of PMO, Siemens - Leading successful PMOs

Peter provided an entertaining and informative presentation; in two parts. The firt part of his presentation was the journey he has made as leader of Siemens EMEA PMO. Starting from scratch in 2007, a two person PMO set out to improve PM in Siemens in Europe.

Siemens has a particular problem as it is the number 3 organisation in the world with the most locations. And projects are being managed in most. This provides a varied, widely divergent PM workforce that also suffers from all the implications and cultural differences of the countries involved. The Italians do thingsvery differentlyto the Germans or the Latvians.

The concept of a EMEA PMO was pitched to the business in 2007. The pitch was based on 5 Ps, which worked well in English, but less so in other languages. The 5 Ps are people, process, promotion, performance and product. More detail can be obtained from Peters slide set.

The first P, people includes recruitment, training, assessment, certification, job profiles and team buidling for example. Promotion (of the PMO) is a very important part of setting up PMO, and now the product is creation of a Project Management Information System (PMIS).

Peter started working to understand the PM culture he was dealing with by identifying and benchmarking the projects being undertaken in EMEA. The vast majority of Siemens projects (well over 1,000 at any one time) are external in that they sell software to clients. These projects deliver well over 390M Euro, so from a company perspective, very important to the company.

In the early days, 2007 and 8, our two person PMO, lived with spreadsheets. We working to baseline our activities understand what do we have what levels of maturity do we have- where?

Healthchecks (renamed from audits as the connotation was too negative) were used to de-risk projects. Common themes across all the projects were identified and addressed at organisational level. A retrospective look at the projects back end of projects revealed that they wwere good at project review but poor at lessons learned.

A methodology was built and PMs were trained how to use and they worked to get it used. Unsurprisingly it has evolved over time. During the early days, in order to get engagement, we would do nearly anything just to get known.

The EMEA PMO grew to 4 people, and at the same time made the satellite PMOs in each country and made them the PMs self sufficient with the methodology, health checks and the retrospectives, but retained the option to get involved when things went wrong. There was continued work on gaining certification for the PMs as a part of the career building. They also began to focus on programme management as well.
Dashboards started to appear and generally SharePoint was used. When projects went bad, a go green process was invoked; Weve seen a problem what are you doing about it? prompting the work to get the project working by going green again.

Red projects drove the implementation and enforcement of change control. PMs were scared of saying NO to a customer because they might lose the business. This created the realisation that if the PMO was involved at project inception, there were a great deal fewer problems in the future.

The second part of Peters presentation was about the book that he has been commissioned to write with a working title of Leading Successful PMOs.

Peter started the process by conducting a survey that is still 0n-going. Peter asked that those that have not already participated search for and do the survey. The survey is about understanding how PMs engage with the PMO Peter is pleased with the broad spectrum of respondents so far, and took us through some result statistics.

Results so far are interesting. PMO staff are suggesting the PMOs are quite successful, while the PM perspective is not quite so good. Further work is being done to improve this perspective within Siemens.
A very good entertaining and informative presentation.

Adam Cowmeadow and Michael Cooch of Accenture then spoke about The value of PMOs

Donnie MacNicol , Director of Team Animation - Organisational Project Management

An interactive session from Donnie, kicking off by asking the audience the following questions;

Question 1 Do you see project management as a true profession? 52
Question 2 How many see PMO as a true profession? 40
Question 3 How many people would see PMO as a true profession in 5 years time? 40
Question 4 How many people aim to be in a position to shape the PMO in the future (5 years out)? 25

Donnie talked about projects troublesome projects that are not necessarily wanted by the organisation projects that are a failure. So where does the Project Office come in?

What could a project office really do for an organisation? What do we actually provide for the organisation? And understanding what the cultural challenges that lie behind project failure issues.

So what could a PMO provide? The audience have to think about it from a senior business point of view; dont use the language of projects but what the business managers may use. Also think about the PMO 5 years out. For example making a difference to the bottom line

All the presentations can be downloaded below.


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