Project Management Office Analyst
The nerve wracking part of getting a new job is figuring out how your role fits into the company. Are you joining a well established team or leading the creation of a new function? Are you going to be able to influence change? Or will you get the classic “but that’s how we’ve always done things..” One thing is for certain is that no matter what role you’ll be joining, you’re going to need strong collaborative skills.
A PMO (Project Management Office) is defined as an internal or external group that defines and maintains project management standards across an organisation. As you can imagine – it has a LOT of moving parts, and you need strong collaborative and analytical skills to make it work.
Depending on the company it could be deeply established with embedded processes, or it could be pretty immature. Joining CTS was really exciting because the task as an analyst was to set the foundation for a true PMO function, with the goal of creating a ‘Best in Class Delivery’ reputation and standard for the business.
The challenges seen in building a valuable PMO aren’t too different from building any other business function. However, CTS deals with a ton of change from day to day, as well as a wide range of key stakeholders across the organisation, and externally.
Initially, you want to figure out the gaps and how the function needs to grow in order to meet the business’s strategic objectives. How do we create a suite of processes, do we even need them? You need to collaborate, but with who? Which internal stakeholders are the key to success ? How many ‘cooks’ are too many?
We want to get feedback and contributions directly from the teams using these processes so that we can build, and iterate them correctly, then get them embedded swiftly with less push back.
First things first, you’re not really going to say anything. The best way to get to know a team is to sit and observe. You want to learn what their goals and challenges are, what they care about in their day to day, and how the work they are doing fits into the wider organisation’s mission.
Once you have that, you’re going to match their energy. You still want to be authentic – because people can always smell a fake. By taking the time to fully understand your audience, you can then tailor your approach to them and this will massively help you gain their trust more organically.
For example, say you have a lovely team of sales and account managers and you need to implement new processes. If you think about someone who is great at sales, what immediately comes to mind is that they are likely very confident, they know their product inside out, they want to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
In kicking off a change management process with a sales team, you’re going to want to amplify those traits in yourself and sell the benefits of the changes you want to implement as something that will add value to their day to day life.. E.g this new process will ensure your client’s project is started as soon as possible because x, y, z…. And you’ll get that commission you’re after 😉
Once you’ve built that trust with your colleagues, it’s all about initiating a constant back and forth conversation. You want to know what their biggest challenges are, and how you can support them. Once you have been able to show a team where and how you add value, your relationship will evolve to a point where people are naturally being more proactive and collaborative without thinking about it.
Half the battle with someone whose role is to get people to work together, and collect data about their day to day activities, is getting them to have conversations where they weren’t having them before.
An example of this is that as a consultancy, we want to see the utilisation and billability across all of our teams. We had this data – in a boring spreadsheet – it wasn’t accessible to people who didn’t live in spreadsheets, so we couldn’t see a wide angle view of any trends, or easily see, comment on anomalies or points of interest.
From there I knew a quick win was to create a visual deck and automate the data input. The real win is that people are now having conversations around utilisation and billability in a more digestible format, we can improve and scale it because we are getting constant feedback on its presentation and value. By perceiving this pain point as a place to create value, I’m able to see how what I create benefits the wider organisation.
1. Automate, automate, automate – understand the back story and build of old reports so you can make them better, with faster execution (Work smarter, not harder).
2. Put yourself out there and have conversations – get to know people and their challenges. Offer to help and be forthcoming with what you can, and can’t do. (Never make promises you can’t keep).
3. Instead of going in hard on what is wrong with a process and overhauling everything at once, focus on creating little wins along the way to bring people up and slowly get people invested into bringing positive fundamental changes to the way they work.