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PMO World Caf London

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Posted by APM on 10th Dec 2013

With the sounds of Frank Sinatra making his way through a Christmas compilation; the scented candles masking the smell of fresh coffee and food ready to sate the hungriest of hordes, youd be forgiven for thinking the latest PMOSIGs evening meeting was just a gimmick.

If youre not familiar with the concept of a World Caf, the whole idea is about bringing people together that have a mutual interest in a certain topic; making the environment a little less formal than a business meeting; keeping the groups small (up to 5 people per table) and setting a time limit on how long a particular topic can be discussed.

The opportunity to move between tables, meet new people, actively contribute your thinking and link the essence of your discoveries to ever widening circles of thought is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Caf. As participants carry key ideas or themes to new tables , they exchange perspectives, greatly enriching the possibility for surprising new insights.

The PMO Caf opened its doors at 6pm with first serving the starter commencing at 6.30pm. Diners had a choice of starter; main course and dessert. Picking three from the list below plus two daily special questions, picked from diners when they arrived:

Where every PMO Succeeds
Imagine a world where every PMO implemented succeeds - what would it take?

Credibility Needed
How do we increase the credibility of our PMO within our organisations?

Reporting Strengths
How do we get better at reporting the future?

Robot Wars
How far can technology replace the people in a PMO?

Gold Dust
We know good people are like gold dust - how do we find good ones?

Auld Lang Syne
As we enter a new year, what problem would you like the answer to?

Dish of the Day
What question should we have asked this evening?

The evening specials were:
How best to communicate with your stakeholders?
New PMO: What should be in place within the first 60 days



After three sessions at 20 minutes each the top three points of interest from the table were shared amongst all the diners. We did this in real-time, making it easier to share the information afterwards.

Heres the outcome of the sessions:


 It might have seemed like a novel choice for the PMOSIG to host something like this and were sure some diners showed up just to see what it was all about. We have some excellent feedback from some of the diners:

I attended the London version of this yesterday evening along with approximately 50 people actively involved in PMO/PM at different degrees of experience. A challenging but fun evening that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Tables of four or five (rotating) were a great basis for mixing and discussions and putting the PMO world right, whether based on a menu of pre-defined set questions or "dishes of the day" defined by the attendees themselves. Is "Agile PMO" a contradiction in terms? We thought not. Did we have practical suggestions as to how PMO can improve supplementary budgeting (end of year spend it or lose it)? Yes we did. Imagine a world where every implemented PMO succeeds - what would it take?

I can really recommend this. I went to the one in London last night and it was a great event, everyone I spoke to got something out of it, and left a couple of people wanting more. It is great to see something different being done that allows the SIG members to discuss a range of subjects, and it is amazing to see everyone's different perspective on the same question.

If you like the idea and would love to hear and contribute to these types of discussions we are hosting a PMO World Caf in Manchester on the 23rd January. Come along, the doors are open For more information see details about the Manchester PMO Caf 

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