Top PMO Tool

What is the “Number 1” PMO tool?

So, if I was to ask you what is the number one, must have, PMO tool?  What would your answer be?

  • Project templates?
  • MS Project / Clarity?
  • Project methodology?
  • Something else?

These are all good answers.  However, they are not THE ANSWER.  The number one, must have, can not do without PMO tool is…………..People!

A PMO or project must have people to function.  Given the importance it is important that you not only identify and recruit good people, you must also invest in them and look after them.

The last 2 posts, PMO Induction Process Overview and What to Include in PMO Induction Pack, provided guidance on how to onboard new resources to make sure that they feel valued.  However, it is important to motivate and ensure the well-being of your most precious PMO tool on an ongoing basis.

Below are important activities that will help take care of your teams members.

Clear Reporting Line

Human beings have a desire to know where they belong.  How they fit in?  So it is important that you new recruit understands where they are in the organisation structure.  Who do they report to.  This provides them with the comfort that they have a person to speak to when they have challenges, have questions etc.

From a practical point of view they know who will be performing important management activities such as annual reviews, pay rises, bonus setting, etc.

Objectives

Again human beings need to have purpose.  While we all may ponder the meaning of life (that is 42 by the way*), from a practical day to day point of view, we want to know what is expected from us.

Ensure that you share and set the objectives of each team member.  Schedule time to agree the objectives and how they will be measured.  Progress against the objectives can then be used formally as part of the review process.

Regular Catch Up’s

Projects and PMO’s are at their most successful when people work together to achieve a common goal.  This means that interaction is important.

Scheduling dedicated time for regular catch-up’s is important for manager and team member.  It is a time when progress can be discussed.  Concerns and requests for help can be raised.

A good manager will understand that this is the time for their team member.  This means do not use the time just to check the points on your agenda.  It is also critical for the manager to understand that this time is important to the the team member so make sure you honour meetings and only rearrange if there is a really urgent reason.  If you do make sure the meeting is rearranged very quickly.

When you are in the meeting, the manager must be pay full attention and not be distracted by emails or texts on their telephone.  Nothing sends a message of not being valued better than when a manager spends all their time playing with their smartphone responding “aha” every once in a while.

Address Issues Quickly

From time to time, there will be team member’s who do not perform to the required level or not act aligned to the companies values.

When you observe this, do not wait until the mid or annual year to raise the issue as this will cause an expectation gap between how manager and team member believe they have performed.  Additionally if the issue occurred in January and the mid year review is not until June, the exact events will be difficult to remember.  Always better to deal with incidents at the time.

You should also be on the lookout for where there are tensions between team members.  Some tension can be healthy.  When this escalates or where there is a clear clash of personalities, deal with it quickly as this will not promote a healthy working environment for all of the team.

Maximise and Develop Skills

There was a recent study in the UK that observed that “millions of people are stuck in the wrong jobs“.  This can be very discouraging for people when they know they can do more but are not being given the opportunity.

People who work in change generally want to stretch themselves and grow their skills.  Therefore, a good manager should be looking to maximise the skills of their team members.  Do not be tricked by the lie that someone has to serve a set amount of time before they can take on additional responsibilities.

If you provide opportunities for team members to take on more and to allow them more exposure, you will have a very motivated team member.  In fact it is highly likely that they will do everything they can to succeed and will have a high level of loyalty to you.

Word of caution.  DO NOT stretch a team member so they fail.  This will not help them and not reflect well on you.  Take time to know your team and stretch them in a sensible way.

Respect

In ideal world this would be a “given”.

If you do not promote and operate an environment that ensures all team members regardless of level are treated with respect, then you are not doing a good job.

Everyone comes to work wanting to do the best job they can.  They want to do this in an environment that treats everyone fairly.

Even if you cannot control all of the working environment, you can influence how you and your direct team behaves.  As the manager it is up to you to act in a way that your team can model.  You will be surprised how this will quickly become part of the team’s culture and it will improve performance.

Environment

This is linked to “Respect”.  By setting out how you expect the team to work together, the important principles of behaviour, open discussion, shared objectives, etc will promote an environment people will enjoy.

Fun

Purely focusing on work with no down time does not promote a good work environment.  Yes there are times of intense focus.  However, there are times when it is possible to relax and recharge.  Discuss last nights match.  Something from the TV or in the papers.  How your child did something funny.  This all helps build good working relationships and allows a quick recharge before focusing on the next task.

Every now and then it is good to have a team night out.  This can be as simply as a couple of drinks or a team breakfast.  It provides a way for the team to catch up outside of work and talk about non-work things.

Summary

Your team is the number 1 tool for delivering the objectives.  It takes time to identify good people and when you find them, make sure you do all you can to make them happy so that they fulfill their potential and stay with you for a good length of time.

Doing this breeds more success as your team will speak with other people in and outside the company.  If they tell people that they have a great working environment with enjoyable work, people will want to come and work on your team.