I’ve recently been spending a lot of time thinking about what our clients really need to know to be successful in running a PMO. This is a little more difficult than it might appear because the first thing we need to convince people of is that what they think they should be doing according to all of their PMI oriented best practices and what they actually need to be doing are very different things.
For the moment I’ll spare you all a long rant on why this is true and just cut to the meat of my proposition. The first is that consistency of process (if it ever had a value) is no longer enough to make the grade in the new normal. Delivering the product of the project (i.e. what the customer really needed in the time frame it was needed by and at a price they can afford) is what is required. Based on hundreds of calls with clients I feel it’s safe to say that most PMOs are coming up short in this area.
Before anyone starts getting defensive – I understand that it isn’t your fault. That you don’t have resources to staff your projects, that the business doesn’t engage the way they should, that you don’t have good quality PMs, and the list goes on; but here’s the bad news – Management doesn’t care. Fixing it—whatever it is—is what you get paid to do.
How you react to the above sentence is the first challenge. My view is that since most of you came up the ranks as working PMs you cut your teeth on the mantra “the difficult we do immediately – the impossible just takes a little longer.” After all, managing a real project is not work for wimps. The hours are long, the pressure is significant and the risk of catastrophic failure is ever present. So the one thing I generally feel confident about is that an experienced and talented project manager, whatever else his or her shortcoming maybe is always up for taking on a difficult piece of work.
So here’s my challenge– if you are head of a PMO today there is a distinct probability that you may not be in that job in 3 years either because the job won’t exist or because you’ve been asked to find a new position elsewhere in the company (we are putting the odds at 50%). What I’d like to do in this series of blogs is explore how you can take that probability down significantly. There will definitely be work involved and you will have to be brave enough to do things other PMO managers probably aren’t doing, but the mark of a leader is a willingness to break free of the herd and lead into potentially uncharted territory. The only thing you have to do now is decide if you are up for the challenge. If you are then come join the LinkedIn Group and become part of the PMO Leaders Challenge.