Highlights from the Colorado PMO Forum

Posted by Kevin Lewis on 2/26/16 11:44 AM
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2016 Winter Colorado PMO Forum Panelists


We had a great turnout last week at the Colorado PMO Forum.  More than 35 leaders of Colorado’s top companies attended to network and discuss current PMO related topics.   Cynthia Hardenbrook from Lewis Fowler gave us a recap of the PMO Symposium, which she attended in November, and her insights on how organizations had been able to build sustainable PMOs.  She incorporated Agile methods in her presentation and had some fun demonstrating what she had heard.

Amy Fowler Stadler and Kristi Brin, both from Lewis Fowler, hosted a panel that focused on PMO leaders driving value and their professional journey and insights on what it takes to be successful in their role.

Tusar Dash Notes the "Fine Line"

Tusar Dash, from Western Union, made an excellent point about the “fine line” he’s observed with development teams using agile practices as an excuse to discard process.  Often development teams view agile practices as a way to ignore the need for project management, documentation and process.  While agile development is a great way to increase productivity, develop lines of communications between the business and the development teams and focus on the most important business needs. It does not replace the need for sound project management.  For instance, deployment, integration, training and organizational change management still need to be accounted for in the overall process.  The PMO can play a role in enabling the integration of mature project management practices while leveraging the benefits of agile development to ensure that the overall needs of the organization are met.

Dana Martin Makes the PMO Indispensable

Dana Martin, from Great West Life, explained to us how she has been able to make her PMO an essential part of their process and that in her organization the business wouldn’t think of bypassing them.  Her comment – “make them want to use the PMO” demonstrates a strategy that is designed to make the PMO indispensable and a key part of successful projects.

Lynette Nunez Emphasizes the People

Lynette Nunez, from First Data, emphasized how important the people side of the PMO is and how a broad organizational disruption caused some significant problems for her and her team and had a negative impact on their customer perception.  Having a PMO team with a sense of the organizational history and strong skill competencies which can only be developed over a period of time are key assets to the longevity of a PMO and the perception of its value by the organization.  Disrupting this sets back both the PMO and the organization and is not quickly redeveloped. 

Quote of the night in my book went to Tusar when he said “own the data” in referring to his PMO philosophy.  While a lot of us and our organizations look at the PMO as an administrative function mainly dealing with collecting, managing and reporting data the real opportunity comes with the information that is in the data.   If you can take ownership and add insight, analysis and value with the data you will begin to own the conversation in your organization.  PMOs that can do that will last because they will be viewed as essential to understanding how the organization is performing.

Everyone agreed that PMOs play a key role in the strategic performance of any organization.  We look forward to our next event in Dallas in late March and our fall event in Denver.  Until then, we look forward to continuing to bring insights to creating project capable organizations.

To stay up to date with future PMO Forum events and become a part of the ongoing conversation I encourage you to join the Lewis Fowler PMO Forum LinkedIn Group.

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Topics: Events, PMO