On October 20th, Lewis Fowler held their final PMO forum for this year, wrapping up a great series of discussion, insight and imparted advice between PMO leaders in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. For this forum, we featured three PMO masterminds with a stellar background in Project and Portfolio Management, providing their perspective and experience to our attendees. We held this same themed forum back in February 2016 here in Colorado and received similar compliments and feedback from those PMO leaders who received valuable knowledge applicable to their organization. Our featured PMO masterminds included Lauren Frank, Director of Financial Shared Services at Freeport-McMoRan, David Dietz, Senior Director of Program Management at Honeywell Aerospace, and John Kretz, Director of PMO – North America at Orion Health.
The Continuous Connection to the Business is Critical
We kicked off our discussion with our masterminds asking them a question about the role of their PMO and how it interfaces with the organization. We received similar responses from our panelists, defining specifically the operational mission of their company and how it generates business and revenue through the products or services it provides. With all three speakers, they explained a key requirement to their PMO, addressing the need to continuously stay aligned to the strategy and objectives of the business. They identified this requirement, especially where their organization is contained within a highly competitive environment, ensuring customer needs are defined and met.
Lauren provided some insight from her experience aligning the PMO to the business strategy from the initial creation of the PMO at Freeport-McMoRan. Her approach was structured and phased, defining this approach supported enabled flexibility, but made the point to ensure her team did not try to do it all at once. With building the PMO and their processes one step at a time, her PMO matured their project execution with a high level of success overtime.
Capturing Lessons Learned Along the Way Is a Key to Improvement
We asked our panelists to share some of the successes and lessons learned they had throughout their tenure as PMO leaders in the career. Our panelists mentioned a key takeaway was to understand the behavior of the PMO and the impact the team has on the organization. A point was made to get out there, as well as know the customers that you support, whether internal or external. Understanding their requirements from this perspective will enable their role in the business, demonstrating increased support from the PMO to stakeholders within the organization. Another point made was from John Kretz, who mentioned the continuous need to identify areas of improvement and the use of project failures as a learning opportunity. Coming from the position as a stakeholder in the past working within IT, John understands the need to enable the perspective of the PMO customer, driving his team to capture the benefits of using agile project management.
Protect the PMO Team to Enable Results
Our panelists provided their perspective and experiences gained throughout their career, helping craft and shape their leadership style within the PMO. Acting as a buffer to the team and protecting them from impediments that could impact their ability to manage their projects is critical. Organizational change, chaos and noise from upper management and business unit leaders could derail the attitudes of the project management team, affecting their ability to deliver projects on-time. Our panelists defined the need to act as the PMO champion to the organization, verbalizing the story behind every project and protecting their team from getting beat up by project stakeholders. Communicating the identity, the strategy and the focus the PMO has on executing projects within the business will have a profound impact on how the PMO is viewed and treated.
This wraps up our final PMO forum for 2016! We will be planning our next year’s PMO forum and will notify everyone once the schedule is solidified!