Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hired Guns and the Aspirin Solution

A great PMO can not be built from a template. Each PMO is a project. There are many different techniques that can be used. As the PMO manager, you are the cook, architect, conductor for this unique entity. Pick what is best for you. Introduce at the pace that is best for your company.

Many PMO stories begin with some high level executive deciding that a PMO is needed (there are TONs of triggers for this). The exec then selects some poor volunteer from the company and calls in a hired gun - a PROFESSIONAL (read consultant) who knows project management!

The Professional rides into town (cue spaghetti Western music). He has years of experience, comprehensive experience and a goal to make the guy who writes the checks happy. The goal is NOT to create a PMO directly, but to make the pain that the executive is feeling go away. Or at least make it look like it is - this is the "aspirin" solution.

So our hero comes in, interviews executives, holds meetings and Viola out comes a 200 slide PowerPoint that solves everything. Along with this PowerPoint comes a set of manuals that Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't lift on his best day. The PowerPoint and the manuals are thinly customized versions of the same deck and documentation given to every other customer who needed a PMO.

I know that sounds cynical - but I’ve heard this story too many times. Many times you, the PMO manager, are then left carrying the ball (or hauling the methodology as the case may be). With one small adjustment, you can change this from an unpleasant situation where you are cleaning up the mess to a great starting or changing your PMO. The change is fairly simple.

Take control of the implementation. It’s that simple, really. Now, that also means that you need to be very involved in the study and work closely with the consultant. Make sure that there is an implementation plan. Interview the stakeholders and understand their problems. Prioritize these problems. Put the problems into the implementation schedule and plan to knock them out.

Take the voluminous documentation and keep the only copy. Through each step in implementation search the documentation and mine it for the few diamond(s) that will be useful. Find a process and rip it down to its essentials – then strip it more and find that one gem. Polish and cut that gem so it is perfect for you and your company and then implement.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2 New projects

I've been overwhelmed lately with life things - new job, new house, moving, packing, packing, packing, moving - resting from about killing myself since I am clearly not 20-years old any longer - or even 30 0r - oh well you get the idea.

So, my two new great projects are: Building a PMO - yes again - I love this - this one is for a public sector multi-million / multi-year program and subsequently the software organization that results from this!!

The other one is with the PMOSIG. We are working on a PMO Accord that will document lessons learned and best practices from PMO SIG members. This will be fantastic as it will be a collection of the knowledge from those who have walked the walk. No theory, just tried and true experience. Also there will be multiple perspectives on the same topics, maybe even some healthy disagreement. My job on this is part editor, part contributor and part coordinator / project manager.

So stay tuned. I'll be updating the blog on the progress of both of these!