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The Last of the 2008 New Year

As we get going in 2008, it’s a natural point to reflect on our achievements and challenges in the past year as well as to contemplate what lies ahead. Specifically, at this point, I’d like to touch on strategic planning and the role of the PMO in supporting the organization. I thought it appropriate to encourage the PMO to set aside some ME time. The PMO is much like a builder for the rest of the organization; we put most of our energy and effort into serving others.

But, every good builder knows that at the end of the day, tools must also be kept clean and sharp, if they are to continue to do their jobs well. So, for a change, lets put some time and energy into ourselves.

Something a colleague pointed out in a recent presentation bears repeating; the efforts of the PMO constitute a journey, not a destination. As we continue on our adventure, we have a responsibility to look at the landscape before us and consciously choose a purposeful path.

For PMO managers, there always seems to be a never-ending list of improvements we could make. This can easily become overwhelming and fracture focus so that we end up wandering aimlessly through a forest of half done initiatives. So, let’s explore a few things that we can practically achieve in the coming months, and resolve to select a handful that can really make a difference. Review your own portfolio of potential investments, and practice some of that balance and scope discipline that we ask of others.

Considerations such as your staff, tools and level of service should be analyzed, discussed with sponsors and stakeholders, and tuned up as appropriate. Allow me to toss out some ideas for 2008 resolutions for PMO managers to consider:

  • I will ensure everyone on my staff gets an opportunity to enrich their career and skills, either through continuing education, training, user groups or by attending industry PMO events
  • I will personally get out as well, and attend at least two peer events a year to broaden my own perspectives and re-energize my determination
  • I will (send someone to) get ITIL Foundation certified, and foster discussion with operations managers around how the PMO can help improve service management
  • I will ask the CFO to send over someone to educate my team about financial management and accounting
  • I will do a formal audit of the business applications we use to manage work and resources and push for improvements, if they are required
  • I will go to lunch twice a month with someone in the groups I support so I stay in touch with what they are doing and what they need
  • I will review the reports we are producing and verify with recipients that they are still relevant, useful and needed
  • I will review the PMO meetings and mandates we place on our organization and verify that they are still relevant, useful and needed
  • I will initiate a regular PMO Customer Satisfaction Survey
  • I will sit down with my sponsors and stakeholders to review results of that survey and take action
  • I will benchmark our processes and level of maturity to industry standards, leveraging objective external assistance from peers and/or consultants
  • I will fund the purchase of one business management book a month, actually read it, and then create a reference library to share with others
  • I will quit doing that combination throat-clearing wheeze thing I do just before I speak in meetings that everyone finds so irritating

I’m sure you can add many more. Once you get a good list together, pick five of them, print them out and post them on your corkboard so you keep them in the forefront of your mind.

Share your personal PMO resolutions by commenting on mine!

Terry Doerscher has more than 24 years experience in practical process development, project management, PMO, business strategy, and work and resource management in construction, nuclear and IT fields. Mr. Doerscher is the Chief Solution Architect for Planview, an Austin-based software company dedicated to creating project portfolio management solutions. Mr. Doerscher also writes a blog, Enterprise Navigator, where he frequently discusses issues pertaining to portfolio management and IT,

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