Guest blog by Nicol Cutts- Head of Projects
It takes 30 days, they say, to embed a new habit and make it second nature.
This is why there are so many 30-day diets, fitness plans and books on goal setting, indeed, in the “Strangest Secret”, a 1956 spoken word record by Earl Nightingale (considered to the original audio business motivation), Nightingale invite the listener to undertake a 30 day test – 1956!!
30 days has cropped up time and again since then, in fact, the author of Atomic Habits, the latest go to book on habit forming, James Clear, offers a “30 Days to Better Habits” email course. 30 days can make a real difference but imagine how much more ingrained something becomes if you stick at it for 100 days!
100 DAY PLAN
One hundred days sounds like a long time! I mean it is but it’s also a manageable chunk of time.
100 days works out at just over three months. In business, we think and plan in terms of quarters, measuring progress quarter to quarter is something that you already do as a habit, it’s easy to visualise what can be achieved in one quarter (plus a few days).
It’s amazing what can be achieved for your health, your fitness, your career, your finances – in fact just about every aspect of your life can be turned around in 100 days. Imagine how you could improve your health and fitness in 100 days, the difference you could make to your career or your bank balance … imagine much better your Project Management Office could become in 100 days.
100 DAYS TO THE PMO YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS
At the heart of every successful project team lies a Project Management Office (PMO), ensuring well defined processes and governance, planning, forecasting, project resourcing, the foundations for success. Your PMO is an invaluable link between your business strategy and project delivery.
PMOs come in many shapes and sizes, from smaller Project Support Offices to full enterprise PMOs and, even in these sub-categories, it’s never a one size fits all kind of deal. Actually, while writing this I flipped open a handful of client case studies for inspiration and the untrained eye would struggle to find many commonalities between these PMOs. Despite this, there are key roles and expectations of the PMO, whether it’s a small team, an office or virtual, that are constant – the PMO sets and maintains standards for project management throughout an organisation and oversees creating and embedding procedures and best practices. In essence, your PMO takes top class project delivery and makes it a habit.
At Stoneseed our Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Office, with P3O qualified staff, is the mainstay of every service we deliver via our Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) model. That’s a lot of accumulated expertise, know-how and capability that spans many industries and sectors.
While the PMO for a major public sector infrastructure project may differ (in terms of business need) to a High Street bank swapping bricks for clicks and repositioning its online banking offer, Stoneseed’s PMO, which is integral to the success of all our services, would be the backbone of a delivery partnership between Stoneseed and our client.
All this experience, from onboarding clients to resourcing projects, the years of consultancy, service provision and transition, has given Stoneseed’s PMO team a unique insight into how to create world leading PMO and, looping neatly back to those 100-day missions we discussed at the start, measurable transformations can be made in just a third of a year – you can even set up an effective PMO from scratch in this time! The proof is in the case studies I looked back at for inspiration, each client’s journey with Stoneseed was guided by a 100 Day Plan.
BRIDGING THE GAP
If you asked me for an elevator pitch for Stoneseed’s PMO 100 Day plan, I would describe it as the process that bridges the gap between where your PMO is now and where it needs to be for it to be fit for purpose, for your current and, also your future business needs. Your 100 Day Plan is filled with the key activities that formulate the initial PMO set up and function for your organisation, allowing us to establish the initial priorities and build a foundation for the longer-term plan. Measurable activities and milestones enable us to review progress of the 100 Day Plan to shape the PMO.
So, the 100 Day Plan is about providing you with some actual activities and deliverables after an initial PMO review. 100 days, like with those diets and fitness plans, appears to be the sweet spot for enduring change and success. Experience shows, 100 days is proven to ensure we make sufficient and quick progress but don’t do more than the business and its resources can cope with.
Also, 100 days feels like a proper investment of time, we could create huge change, tangible measurable change with just a 30-Day Plan. It would be intense, but it could be done, the thing is that, like with a 30-day diet, the temptation to flip back into old comfortable habits on day 31, 32 or 33 would be so great that most probably would – it’s human nature. It is also human nature that the more invested you are in something, the more valuable it feels to you – 100 Days is a sufficient time investment that progress made during this time becomes a valuable commodity that will be precious to all involved.
100 Days also allows for full implementation of Stoneseed’s awesome four-step process.
FOUR STEPS TO PMO HEAVEN
Stoneseed’s 100 Day plan is coupled with our four-step process for establishing a PMO.
Now, sharing exactly what each of the four steps entails in a blog would be a bit like the Colonel divulging his secret blend of herbs and spices but it’s something I’d love to chat with you about and discuss how the process could create lasting change for your organisation and its PMO.
As a quick guide though let’s take a fly over the premise. Highlighting Delivery in bold and Outputs in italics, you’ll get a rudimentary idea of what we’ll achieve in each area as we create a world class PMO.
How to establish the IT Programme of Work and maintain it >>>> Create a list of current active projects, prioritised process to maintain the project list
Resource Management – Phase 1 >>>> Process list of all resources and their current utilization and an understanding of requirements for future projects
Demand/Supply Management >>>> Process Understanding of resource requirements of the projects
Project >>>> Change process and template for projects to prevent overspend and late delivery. Establish a Project board/steering committee
Technical >>>> Change process and template for putting anything into production. Establish a technical approval board and include a member for the business to ensure the business is ready (if relevant).
Programme Office Processes
Reporting >>>> Weekly and monthly project reports
Of course, the magic happens in that four-step process, represented in our flyover here by “>>>>”.
Just to add a little texture to this, let’s zoom in on one of the aspects from my flyover (the colonel’s about to divulge one of the spices!) and see how the four-step process might look. Let’s focus on Demand/Supply Management:
STEP 1 – Ask the PMs if they have enough resources to complete their current projects and, if not, who/what/when do they need a resource. This feedback is collated into a spreadsheet to get an overview.
STEP 2 – Incorporate the resource requirements into the weekly/monthly report
STEP 3 – Incorporate the requirements into the pipeline
STEP 4 – Incorporate into the demand and supply tracker
You can see how manageable this is, how it would scale across the whole PMO creation or improvement process and how it would slot into a 100 Day Plan. The four-step process is designed to be transparent, inclusive, and effective – without being overwhelming.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU
Stoneseed offers a complete range of PMO services from provision of single resources to a team of PMO experts; or a full PMO service package via a Managed Service. We also offer PMO Consultancy and Technical Design Authority, if you have a PMO you wish to refine and improve.
My personal passion for this work is such that I could keep writing and writing but I’d prefer that we got the chance to talk about your specific needs, as we said, PMO is never a one size fits all kind of deal so … let’s talk about YOUR PMO. Contact our team on 01623 723910