It’s always important to develop your professional network working in a project management office (PMO). When budget cuts and potential redundancies loom in a challenging economy, you can use our six relationship building tips to help protect your PMO role.
Strong relationships can make completing your work easier and more efficient – people are more likely to work well with someone they like or respect. The same relationships can help safeguard you from losing your job when money gets tight.
To help you understand how to establish and nurture these relationships, we’re going to look at six ways you can develop a network of professional connections.
Tip 1: Work with stakeholders
In your PMO, there will be a range of stakeholders who you need to work closely with. These will include:
- Project managers
- Your C-suite sponsor
- Project sponsors
- End users
- Freelancers and contractors
- Other business areas
Treat each person you interact with an individual and understand what their needs and expectations are. Even if you don’t need to work with them too often, be sure to communicate with them to maintain your relationship.
You will be seen as trustworthy and credible, meaning that if your job comes up for review, they are likely to advocate for you.
Tip 2: Have solid communications
Whether in your interpersonal relationships or in wider communications, make sure you are clear and concise. The way you communicate with people helps to form their impression of you, so keep it positive and constructive.
Further, when you email, call, or join meetings with people and are easy to understand, people will be keen to work with you again. A reputation as being easy to work with goes a long way.
Your job in your PMO will be more secure when you are seen by people as a colleague they enjoy working with – rather the one they dread getting an email from!
Tip 3: Show an interest
You want to always maintain a level of professionalism in your PMO, but you can pair this with taking an interest in the people you work with and around.
This doesn’t necessarily mean knowing what sports a colleagues kids do or what they watched on TV last night. You can discuss work-related topics, listen actively, ask pertinent questions, and get to know them better.
Trust and rapport are built this way. The people making decisions about redundancies are going to look on a trustworthy person in a positive light.
Tip 4: Have solutions
Your PMO is there to support projects and help resolve issues. By being helpful and the person with answers and resolutions, you will become a reliable and dependable person in the business.
When you spot issues in a project, be sure you go about raising and fixing it the right way. Work with the right people and try not to go over the head of the person responsible, e.g. don’t go straight to your PMO leader when you could work with the project manager to get a successful outcome.
Being known as the person who can get problems resolved through your internal network is a good reason to be kept around.
Tip 5: Find ways to collaborate
Working on tasks with people is a great way for you to get to know them and build a professional relationship. You’ll already have the chance to work with some people on different projects, and there are always ways to build on that.
You can take the initiative to get involved with other projects – as long as it won’t affect your core skills. Attending meetings and getting your face known will make people aware of your skills.
Consider running workshops for your PMO for issues that need discussion. This is a great collaboration tool, and you will get to know the strengths of people across the business, too.
Tip 6: Check-in and follow up
All of these other tips need to be supported by good follow-up. Being the person who starts to build relationships and then disappears off the radar is probably worse than not working on these at all.
Once a collaboration is over, send an email asking for and giving feedback, when you’ve helped fix a problem, check in with the people who benefited to make sure it worked ok. This is pretty quick and easy but is valuable for relationships.
Protecting your PMO role with strong relationships
There is no silver bullet to protect your work from PMO budget cuts, but strong relationships across the business should help. These six tips can help you become known as helpful and resourceful, meaning you’re potentially more secure in your role.