‘Tis the Season to Pay it Forward

pay-it-forward.bmpLast month I once again had the pleasure of hosting the Annual PMO Workshop for ProjectWorld in Orlando, Florida.  The event, now in its 4th year, is designed to support PMO leaders through the exchange of best practices and expert advice.  Interestingly, the majority of attendees this year were quite novice – over 55% of workshop participants had less than one year experience establishing or managing a PMO.  Yet, we focused on the same short list of PMO-related challenges.  Regardless of tenure or experience, all PMO leaders are hungry for information; they want to exchange best practices and share lessons learned. Every PMO leader longs to become a member of an extended project management community-to support and be supported among their peers and colleagues.  After the conference and during my return flight to Boston, I contemplated the power of collaboration among PMO leaders everywhere…

Sure, the U.S. is in a official recession; times are tough and businesses are challenged to stay afloat.  This is a perfect time for PMO Leaders to extoll the virtues of project management.  Let’s face it, the previous set of status quo options haven’t worked well for us.  All organizations want success, but none can acheive it without encountering obstacles along the way.  For some organizations, the gap between promises made and delivery of those promises is too large, forcing them to fall victim to business disaster.  The key is to master the skills that prevent disaster and salvage fledging companies during trying times–and project management skills are an essential part of this skill set.

PMO Leaders – this is your moment to gain the attention of doubting executives everywhere.  Much of today’s economic crisis is due to poor business management and lack of communication.  Companies are re-evaluating their strategic plans and reprioritizing their work efforts to stay afloat and remain in business.  Projects are the critical building blocks in achieving an organization’s strategic plan.  A strategic project management office is about building the tools, methods, and techniques for project and business success.  A PMO seamlessly choreographs all the moving parts, ensuring the job gets done.

So,  what’s the best way to capture the attention of your disbelievers?  Talk to them in terms that mean something in today’s challenging business environment.  Explain to them that project management is more than meeting timelines and budget; project management improves decision-making, instills accountability and enhances communication.  Project management puts processes and tools in place that allows companies to get work done efficiently.  It allows businesses to communicate priority projects, apply consistent project management practices, and monitor project progress.  The PMO is the conduit for making this happen–up, down and across the organization.

Back up your claims on the value of project management by identifying best practices and real-life examples of PMO success stories.  We all know the value of lessons learned when closing a project.  Let’s take that model and create an exchange of information for PMO leaders everywhere.  Leverage the the timing of a bad economy and the holiday season to reach out to others and exchange best practices and lessons learned.  When you mail your holiday cards to coworkers and colleagues this year, offer a PMO best practice with your holiday wishes.  Then Pay it Forward-After all, what good are lessons learned if you don’t have a mechanism in place to shout “Danger!” when you have learned something the wrong/hard way? Alternately, what good are gold nuggets of best pratices if the wealth is not shared with others?

So, PMO leaders, show your spirit, share the wealth and band together.

Lisa DiTullio

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