Project Management & PMO
Projects are essential elements of working together. Projects bring people together from different functions, with different expertise, differing points of views - and sometimes very different goals.
Whether in waterfall or agile projects good project leaders ensure that the communication channels are clear with all stakeholders on the project team and outside the project, so that problems can be anticipated early and solutions can be generated on time. As a project leader it has always helped me to have a structured approach and set certain milestones that everyone understands. It's important to me that everyone on the project knows what is expected of them, by when and to what standard.
Whenever I've worked as Project Management Office (PMO) Leader I had responsibility for the leadership and governance of the strategic project portfolio. All projects were centrally tracked with a set of basic information which provided an overview at all times. In a monthly Steering Committee with senior management the focus was on which projects are "on track" to deliver on scope, timeline and budget and which were in difficulties. Equally important was the discussion around potential synergies and conflicts between the projects and how the resource allocation, planning and budgets could be optimised. It was my job to ensure the information was available to enable meaningful prioritisation and planning decisions to be made and for new ideas for projects to enable growth, increase productivity or ensure compliance to be properly evaluated.
It was important to have sufficient insights into the projects (without stepping on the project managers toes) to understand if and where misunderstandings or hidden agendas or other human phenomena were potentially putting the successful completion of the project at risk. Equally ensuring that gaps in technical or subject knowledge on the project team were addressed avoided problems in the project and the whole portfolio. Using Tollgates we checked in at regular intervals with the project teams to ensure that a certain method was being followed to develop workable solutions.
I always placed particular emphasis on ensuring collaboration between IT and the rest of the business. Niether party is able to create useful solutions without the other. The continuous optimisation of the project methodology and approach in collaboration with the project leaders, business analysts, test managers and IT architects was something I always worked on as a core part of the PMO role.