You only have to see the percentage of failed projects in any organization to know that their PMO is not working successfully. In my career, I have built and ran several PMOs, and I have coached lots of project managers into delivering successfully, so here’s my take on the root cause of your PMO problems and what will make your PMO (and your projects) more successful:
“Say what! So if I don’t focus on execution I’ll be more successful!!”
Well, Yeah! Focus too much on execution and you will miss strategizing, planning, and more importantly alignment with value delivery. A focus on execution leads to an efficient PMO (doing right project management), but it is not effective one (doing the right projects).
If all you have is a hammer, then you will see every problem as a nail. Projects come not only in different sizes but also in different flavors. You might be doing project assessment where you customize deliverables to fit its size.
However using one methodology, be it a waterfall, agile, or any other puts the project at risk of failure. Enrich your toolbox and use the appropriate tool. There are so much more in the world than hammers.
A good project manager delivers what the sponsor wants. A great one delivers what the sponsor and stakeholder’s needs. If your project went to execution with a document from the stakeholders detailing what they want then STOP EXECUTION NOW!
Go back and ask Why they want it. Determine the specific pain your project will resolve or the specific gain that it will achieve. Identify the different ways your project will do that. This will put a lot of clarity on two of the biggest causes of project failures:
# Not delivering its intended ultimate value, despite delivering its agreed scope;
# Not clarifying the undocumented assumptions. because you assumed they were documented or irrelevant or does not exist, and that is an assumption I’m making!
Growing up to be the successful professional you are, you have been subjected to thousands of messages, if not more, on being a responsible person. “You should get a job, You should earn money and support yourself, you should not depend on anyone else for survival”.
We took our definition of responsibility too far, making sure we don’t rely on anyone else for anything. It’s because successful project managers don’t need help, right? They can solve all the problems in their projects by themselves. They don’t need assistance from their manager or project sponsor.
“How’s your project, Bob?”. “It’s ok”. “Great, let me know when are we launching it”. Then what happens with the problems that we can’t solve? Maybe if we wait some time they will go away or turn into thin air. I’m not saying you should go to your manager or sponsor for every problem you face, of course not.
Don’t become a hanging monkey! I’m saying do your homework; analyze the problem; find the root cause; put down potential resolutions; think about criteria to assess the best, then go to her/him with a proposed one.
And last but not least:
The biggest trick in history is that when we were told that knowledge is power. Knowledge IS NOT power, it is a power generator. Without movement, without action that fuels that generator, there is no power. “How to put power into the knowledge you got from this article?”.
It’s simple: Think about the ideas above, pick the one that resonates with you and feels more important, then rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Ask yourself “What do I want to do to go one step higher?”. Write it down. If it’s vague then make it more specific, something doable.
You might ask “How will the people around me notice that I’m doing it?”. And put a timeline for yourself getting to that next step. SIMPLE but not easy. Here’s for your journey into becoming an extraordinary project manager. Please comment, share and tell me your feedback. Let’s collaborate in a creative way.