September 2013 newsletter
Our new chairman Stuart Dixon talks about the PMO SIG and the changes it has gone through.
If you have any comments on the newsletter or would like to contribute an article to a future edition, please contact us
Stay connected with the PMO SIG:
Looking ahead for the remainder of the year there are some opportunities that we will be looking for some contributions from volunteers for. As you may have noticed the APM BoK went to version 6 and expanded to include the BoK plus, which is the online version. This allows for contributions in terms of blogs, articles, white papers etc. I think this is something that you as the PMO community could help expand the body of knowledge. I know we have experts out there, and people with opinions which want to be voiced, so we will be looking for contributions from all types and levels of PMO to help provide a PMO perspective on the BoK.
In line with the new Body of Knowledge the APM is looking to update the Competence framework. This is another opportunity for the SIG to get involved.
There will not be an autumn event on this year, due to a lack of elected committee members we are restricted by what we are able to do directly from the committee and the autumn event has been the item to suffer there, but this does mean that we will need more contributions from volunteers to help run the SIG over the next year. We will be putting on some local events, both inside and outside of London. We are starting to work on what the event will look like for Spring next year.
If you have any suggestions on what you want the PMO SIG to do then please feel free to write to me directly or submit a question on the APM website or PMO SIG linked in page and member of the committee will respond.
Wishing you all a good autumn,
ISO Standard on Project Management – Help or Hindrance?
ISO 21500 is the first in a planned family of project management standards. It is designed to align with related international standards such as:
You can read more about it and visit the ISO store here which tells you all about it.
Conversations have started on our Linked In group about the ISO 21500. Click the button above to get involved!
In each of the PMO SIG Newsletters, we will be introducing you to one of the team so you can get to know their background and areas of expertise.
What is your current role?
Tell us a bit about your professional background
Any PMO hints & tips?
This book leads with a single central principle - that a PMO's sole reason for existence is the creation of value for the organisation, and that the single most effective way it can do that is by managing the allocation of resources to projects. Of course, tools, methodology and processes are all good things to have, but identifying how to deploy resources for the best return on that investment is where a PMO really comes into its own.
I initially found such a forceful statement a little hard to swallow, but the book shows (using example scenarios drawn from the author’s consulting experience) several ways how the PMO can fail if it chooses to focus its efforts in other directions.
If a PMO fails to establish the necessary authority and credibility with the project manager (PM) community at a sufficiently early stage, it becomes relegated to performing only supportive, administrative work. This is so time-consuming that there is no time to develop more useful services, value delivery is limited and the PMO will be cut as soon as funding decreases.
If a PMO focuses on methodology, the PMs may superficially complete templates and processes just to keep the PMO quiet, but the completed templates and processes may bear little relation to reality. Unless the methodology is focused tightly on improving project delivery, this type of PMO merely increases administrative burden on PMs without enhancing value. Again, the PMO will be cut as soon as funding decreases.
PMOs that function mainly as a home for PMs do little to create value (other than managing the PMs as resources). Despite this it can persist for a long time as business value is not even considered, and the PMO duties are usually carried out by fairly junior (cheap) people.
PMOs that try to implement everything (resource management, methodology, templates, etc.) at once can appear to PMs as dictatorial rather than collaborative. This results in resistance to change and ultimately wasted effort in a failed implementation.
PMOs that focus on software tools before methodology, processes and templates spend a lot of time and effort customising the tool to accommodate the variety of approaches in the organisation. This is a very labour-intensive and expensive activity!
PMOs that implement an unsuitable methodology risk creating unnecessary barriers to implementation that slow down project delivery and upset customers.
So then, having covered several interesting (and familiar!) ways in which the PMO can fail, how is it to succeed? By treating the implementation of a PMO as a change process, it is possible to increase the likelihood of success. Steps include: creating a sense of urgency; creating a coalition of supportive stakeholders and engaging them to avoid surprises; creating a vision with SMART short and long term objectives to instil pride; communicating the vision regularly and consistently to instil trust; empowering people to contribute and help to remove obstacles; generating quick wins to gain support; and embedding the changes in organisational culture.
Doing all this while focussing effort and new initiatives on the areas that will deliver the most benefit to the organisation soonest (and it helps if these also have influential and vocal stakeholders!) brings the best results.
The value created can be measured in terms of increasing the number of projects being delivered in a given time (since completed projects create value). As the availability of resources (people and/or money) is usually the single largest barrier to delivering more projects, increasing project delivery is often best achieved by creating a view of project and resource status to enable the most effective utilisation of resources across the project portfolio.
This is not a heavyweight book - you can read it from cover to virtual cover in about half an hour. Although it doesn't go into detail describing the ideal approach (which in any case would differ in the detail from organisation to organisation), for me just as much of the real value in this book comes from the examples of what not to do and how that leads to failure.
Well worth the purchase price.
Copyright © 2013 Ken Burrell
About the Reviewer: The Managing Director of Brilliant Baselines Ltd, Ken Burrell is a Masters degree-educated and PMP®-certified freelance PMO Manager with four years' PMO experience and five years’ project management experience in Engineering and Financial Services. Ken gives senior managers analysis to make project portfolio decisions, and gives project and programme managers support to deliver solutions. Ken is motivated by challenge and adding value in the Project/Programme/Portfolio arena.
PMO SIG events
Upcoming events and Dates for your diary
The team is currently organising our 2014 Spring Conference, we would welcome your ideas and suggestions so please get in touch.
In addition to the below dates for your diary, a local London event will be scheduled for quarter four 2013 featuring a discussion around PMO and the Role of Assurance – keep an eye out for an email direct from the APM with more information.
Dates for your diary
Spring Conference: to be confirmed
PMO SIG Volunteers
Becoming a volunteer is very rewarding! With access to like minded individuals, PMO SIG (and other) events and opportunities to drive the PMO industry forward, it can help to increase your knowledge and expertise and will do no harm to your personal career path!
You will need to commit some of your spare time when you volunteer to be a committee member, but there are plenty of things to get involved with of all shapes and sizes; from contributing to the newsletter to helping to develop best practice and organising events.
PMO SIG Curator
For each publication, we like to pick out a selection of PMO related news and interesting media from other sources and neatly package them so they are easy for you to locate.
Comments and feedback
The PMO SIG would appreciate any comments or feedback you have on our newsletter – let us know whether it was useful, and what you’d like to see in future editions. Email the newsletter editor.
Association for Project Management