If we want to make changes we first have to be willing to lead the change and to lead the change we need to understand where we want to go. Let’s begin with the question
“What is the value of the PMO to you personally?”
The answer I’m asking you to find is the one that gets you up in the morning; the one that makes you feel that you are making a contribution to everyone whose life you touch either through the project you oversee directly or through the results the projects deliver.
None of us can find that particular flavor of answer for anyone other than ourselves, but finding it and articulating it (at least to yourself) is important. Why? Because when it comes to leadership Emerson had the right of it when he wrote “who you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”
By now most of us have probably proven the wisdom of this to ourselves. Our real beliefs, values and interests are exposed for the world to see every day by where we spend our time, how we prioritize work for our staff and just in our word choices in casual conversation.
I remember a discussion with a client who was very interested in improving her PMO. We talked through the advantages of de-emphasizing methods and process and putting much more emphasis on the PM’s learning to guide the project to a successful conclusion where success is defined as the right product, at the right price to a happy customer. In the call, despite her best efforts she kept using words like checking documentation, ensuring that all the paperwork was completed correct and auditing the paperwork. She really did want to change but what be increasingly clear was that SHE didn’t really see the “new future” so she kept coming back to the day to day practices she did understand.
So again, what is the value of the PMO to you personally? How do you want others to talk about your PMO? What would you consider high praise? Once you’ve defined the list – go back and ask yourself if you really see the senior managers you support using those words? If you find yourself hedging a bit and saying “well they would if they just understood project management” then stop and rethink your value. Remember, No one needs to understand YOUR back office process. Your value is in the help you and your staff, offer to your customers and stakeholders and it is a value that they can instinctively understand and recognize because it ultimately makes their life easier.
For some of you this exercise will be easy. For other’s there may be (like the PMO manager I described above) some surprising cognitive dissonance. Again, there is no one right answer because every situation is unique. The only important this is that you can consciously articulate the value YOU desire to see created with your PMO.
If the concepts in this blog interest you, and you are interested in improving how you manage your PM then join the LinkedIn Group the PMO Leaders Challenge and become part of the New PMO movement.