Working in a PMO can be a very challenging role. On one side you have the stakeholders making demands for information and explanations, on the other you have the project teams responsible for providing the data inputs. The stakeholders usually expect their requests to be serviced immediately. The project teams can be very difficult, not providing the information and making it difficult for the PMO to engage with them.
For example, a stakeholder demands an explanation why a milestone has been missed. The PMO tries to engage with the project team but they consistently refuse to provide an explanation. The PMO will find them self in the unpleasant position of being seen as ‘not delivering’ by one and ‘being a pain and getting in the way’ by the other.
It is no wonder that as the weeks and months go by that the morale of team members can become very low. Nobody wants to spend all their time in this position!
PMO Team Morale
Like with any team, morale is very important. When morale is low, it is difficult to meet deadlines, quality drops and staff absence increases. It also can result in many people not wanting to continue and to look for another role. This is very dangerous for the PMO as it means valuable resources could leave, deliverables are missed and people not enjoying their work.
Fortunately there are a number of actions the PMO manager can take to motivate the PMO:
Take time to get to know your PMO team members. Take an interest in them as individuals not just what they can deliver for the PMO. Let them know that they have your support and to come to you if they have questions or concerns. Getting to know the personalities of your team will mean you are more likely when they start behaving differently i.e. somebody who is normally outgoing soundly becomes withdrawn.
2. Regular Catch-up
Linked to Support, make sure that you spend time with your team, both in team meetings and on an individual basis. There are many times that a team member will not raise a concern in an open forum but will open up on a 1:1 basis. It is best to do this in a informal way such as over a coffee.
3. Team Events
Invest time and money in holding team events. Does not have to be extravagant, a night down the pub or a pizza / beers. This will allow the team to let off steam and to unload all the stresses. It is also good for creating bonds between the team members. It is a good idea for some of these events to take place when the PMO manager does not attend as the team will probably want to have a ‘moan’ about you from time to time.
Very powerful and so often overlooked. When team members do a good job let them know. Likewise when your boss or stakeholders compliment a certain deliverable, make sure that the stakeholders knows who is responsible and then let the PMO member know. There is nothing more encouraging than to get an e-mail telling you have done a good job or to be told in front of your peers.
Making time for your team to ensure they are OK, to know they are valued and that they have your full support will result in a happy, high performing team. It will also mean that they will be prepared to make the extra effort to achieve important deliverables.
A team will stand together through good times and bad making the journey far more enjoyable. So make sure you make time to motivate your PMO.