May 2012 newsletter
In this issue we take a look at portfolio management and the CMO and insights from PMO professionals & what they’re learning on the job. There is a round up from the PMO SIG and also the latest news from around the industry.
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Portfolio Management Insights
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop with Terry Doerscher on Building a High Performance Portfolio Management Initiative. Many of you might be aware of Terry from the PMO 2.0 survey and reports. He’s a great ambassador for PMOs so it was great for me to finally meet him.
There was loads of aha moments for me throughout the workshop and I’m going to share just two of those in this article.
As a basic framework for portfolio management within an organisation the workshop gave me a great helicopter view that I’d not really considered before. Let’s assume that organisations need to effectively manage change. When a new opportunity arises – perhaps a new product or new market share, this is called the Demand – it is opportunity in its rawest form. When a new demand comes around, the organisation needs to understand the Benefit it will provide should they decide to consider the demand. In order to do something with the demand, that has a benefit, the organisation has to have the Capacity to make the change. The organisation also needs to be sure that the Costs are managed because capacity will undoubtedly incur costs.
So where does project management come into this? Well project management processes are the part of the framework that take us from current state to future state. Whilst they are part of the framework it’s interesting to see just where PM fits in the whole framework.
Consider the Portfolio Process Map below (also available online) which is taken from the book, Taming Change by Terry. We can see the four corners of Demand, Benefit, Capacity and Cost. How we get from the Demand to understanding the Benefits through operational planning, investment analysis, work management etc. Running through the middle is the work management processes – or project management processes that will be familiar to all.
My first aha moment came when I considered where does the PMO fit in all of this. I’ve highlighted in red where I think the obvious areas are, and orange where it is possible the PMO already gets involved in organisations today. That leaves rather a lot of the framework without any PMO input, support, influence, help, whatever you think a PMO could and should be doing.
Now my thought is that actually PMOs don’t need to have their fingers in every part of the pie but I do believe that PMOs do need to understand the whole picture. I’m mixing metaphors but I hope others see that the PMO can be strengthened if they have the resource and intellectual capacity to understand business. Portfolio management moves us further away from project and programme delivery and into the realms of corporate and business management. To run and management a portfolio office, the team does need to understand performance management, how to compare investments, perform capacity gap analysis, measure benefits and balance the books. So my question is, how does the portfolio office spread its wings throughout the framework, providing services to underpin what a business needs to do to effectively manage change, not just within the project department but across the entire organisation?
Which leads me to another aha moment (it’s starting to feel very 80’s Norwegian pop group in here!)
The PMO becomes the CMO
I know we all have conversations and endless debates about what does PMO actually stand for and perhaps the CMO might make it easier in our profession in the future. CMO is simply “Change Management Office”. Think about it, the PMO’s job is to assist in enabling change in an organisation. Change starts to happen well before the PMO traditionally gets involved (see how far down the process we are in the portfolio map!) usually supporting the delivery mechanism of change. If the PMO is to spread its wings and support change before and after project execution, should we still be hanging our hats on the P part of PMO?
Portfolio Process Map
If the PMO really wants to add value to the organisation and ultimately to the people who matter – senior management – we really need to be thinking longer term about where portfolio management is heading; what supporting functions and services it is going to need and ultimately who is going to provide that. The CMO would be well placed to do just that.
What PMO Professionals Are Learning Everyday
At the Spring conference last month we asked our PMO delegates, “What was the last thing you have learnt in your job?”. In exchange for some really gems the question asked was actually part of our prize giveaways for the day – project management books by sponsors, Gower Publishing.
So what are some of our PMO professionals learning on the job?
It’s great to see any large collection of information in a word cloud*. Delivery, change, value, stakeholders and people are all up there but what about the context? Here are some of the answers from your peers
“What was the last thing you have learnt in your job?”
• A reluctant Project Manager assigned to the role by his manager can find 1000 excuses not to deliver.
• Cultural aspects greatly effect change and project delivery.
Tools and Skills
• The importance of shared information and the value of a framework to help drive business improvement.
• The value of aligning PMO to the organisational strategy …. And that we ROCK!!
• There are still lots of organisations who need a PMO to do the basics, and even the basics can add significant value to the business
• Our Project Managers like to be told ‘how’ to do the project management fundamentals - i.e. Charters, Stakeholder Maps etc through the use of standardised templates; and the PMO adds value by coaching them through the templates. Good communication with stakeholders is key!
• Persistence pays off! Don’t give up if you know you are right.
What have you learnt today? Come and join in the discussion on the LinkedIn group
*Word clouds are great little tools that can be used in a variety of ways – want to see if your latest PMO report has the language and crucial words you need to get the message across? Want to see if the latest PMO survey and feedback from stakeholders shows consistency? Want to know if your own CV or LinkedIn profile sums you up in the words you would expect? Take a look at the PMO Curator below for links to the free word cloud website as shown above.
PMO SIG Round Up
Last month saw the first Spring conference for PMO SIG since becoming part of the APM. It was the first time we’d held an AGM too. We had a great turnout of 120 PMO professionals and the website has now been updated with all the presentations and notes on the sessions.
PMO SIG Swap Shop
At the Spring conference we launched an idea based on the popular 70s Saturday morning kids programme. We basically wanted to help PMO professionals make connections with each other and also provide OFFERS or WANTS.
If you’re currently a member of the PMO SIG LinkedIn group, you can join the subgroup Swap Shop
Get involved and share your experiences with your peers.
Date for the Diary
28th June 2012
We’re currently in the process of planning the Autumn conference and the dates will be available next month.
We’re currently planning our next local meetings for London and Manchester; more details will be available next month.
Each month we like to pick out some of the more interesting PMO related news from other sources. All neatly packaged, here are the picks for May, just click here
This month we take a look at:
• The Project Management Office
Contact us if you’d like to share something of interest with the group
Comments and feedback
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Association for Project Management