PMO Impact Summit

I know I haven’t posted for a while, but I am proud to declare that I am one of the more than 75 speakers at the next PMO Summit coming up in September 14-26, 2020

This will enable you to have access to all of the thought leaders in the PMO and Project Management profession (for FREE)
with action-taking resources to help you apply what you’ve learned! Sign up now so you don’t miss all the fun that happens BEFORE the event is live in September then download the mobile app and let’s get the conversation going! For more details check out:

#pmoimpactsummit #pmo #pmot #projectmanagement #pm #impact #pmostrategies #pmostrategiespodcast

PMO Contractor Workshop

PMO Contractor Workshop

I had the pleasure of attending the first PMO contractor workshop last week run by a new start up PMO learning. It was an opportunity to review the place of the CV for contractors looking for their next assignment. There was an interesting mix of people at the event, and yes, I took some of the learning to heart and linked-in with them afterwards.

Unlike a traditional training session where you sit there and try to work out how boring the presentation is on a scale of 1 to zzzz and look for spelling mistakes; Lindsay instead made it an interactive session and had spent some time personalising the session so that when references were made it involved looking at CVs or experience of one of the people in the session. This made it particularly relevant, and personal.

If you want to find out what the session was billed as containing, then you can check out the original article which prompted me to attend in the first place. The session itself was well paced, although there was a lot more that could have been covered in these sessions, depending on the attendees I am sure it will be adjusted for each session they deliver in future.

There were 3 main themes – why contracting? what makes a good CV? networking

Why contracting?

I know why I made the jump from being a permanent person through to being a contractor, and no it wasn’t the money. Lindsay went through a series of other questions you need to ask yourself before you bite the bullet and make the switch. If it is just about the money you may find yourself disappointed, and unfulfilled.

Lindsay covered what other things you should be thinking about as a contractor. Were you a jobbing contractor or a consultant, and did you know the difference between these 2 roles

For me one of the interesting quotes from this session was if we are all running a limited company, then why weren’t we managing things as a small business and advertising. Which brought us nicely onto

What makes a good CV?

This section allowed us to review our own CVs, therefore a working laptop with a copy of your CV was needed, and the ability to copy to USB disks (so don’t bring any locked down work laptop for this section). We also looked at how you could structure the PMO CV, with a couple of good examples were shared. How did we know they were good? Well the PMO Flashmob attendees voted on them, along with why they thought they were good.

We discussed length, and whether to use the same CV for everything (erm No).

That then linked along to whether you put your CV onto Linked In


The answer was no. Linked In should be used as your primary networking vehicle (at least online), but Twitter (#PMOT) is another way we can find out what people are doing across the PMO world. Of course, if you liked meeting real people then you can always try the PMO Flashmob sessions (Last Thursday in the month in London, other UK places check out the website)

We discussed what we should be using Linked In for, and the answer was creating articles (like this one (Yes, I did create this deliberately as a result of this session)). You could always post them on Linked in, but perhaps the best way is to write them on your blog (like this one) and then post them on Linked in and Twitter. If you don’t feel like doing that then Lindsay suggested things we could do

In Summary

It doesn’t matter what you know, or who you know, there is always room for improvement and it is good to keep learning.

I thought this was a great session. As it was a trial I am hoping (for your sakes) that there will be more in future. As you can see I haven’t given too much away as otherwise that will spoil the surprise for future attendees.

Thanks Lindsay for a great session, and thanks to my fellow attendees for some great questions and insights.

PMO conference 22/10

It has been a while since the APM PMO SIG put on a conference and I was keen to see what the new committee could deliver. When I arrived the first difference was obvious, they had some stands in the entrance hall, which I must admit I didn’t see in previous conferences. However they had a reasonable range, and as a nice touch they had a person taking professional headshot photos. This was definitely oversubscribed, and was the hit of the whole stands available, even if they queue was the longest of them all. 

As for the conference, it took as its theme the social PMO and was split into 2 parts. The morning was made up of the normal conference fare of presentations, but the afternoon split into individual sessions where you could go into more detail on a particular subject. 

The first part of the morning was hit with a few technical problems, as they prepared podcasts had not sound, this was resolved after lunch. This meant that it didn’t start with the wow that they were aiming for. 

I thought it interesting that the majority of speakers in the morning weren’t PMO practioners, this is quite telling as it means that being social is something that isn’t mainstream yet. In fact speaking to a few of the people at the afternoon sessions they confirmed that fact as the use of social tools e.g. Yammer were either Unknown, frowned upon, or only just introduced. Maybe if we come back in a couple of years then this would be more common. 

The other interesting thing for the day was the confusion between being social and social tools. It became easy to confuse socialising and talking to people with the use of a tool such as Twitter, trello, yammer etc. So although PMOs may not be using tools we are socialising the project as we do get involved with stakeholders at all levels. We are also using tools already such as progress reporting and meetings (although perhaps meetings could be described as a technique)

The day finished off with a presentation from Dr Eddie Obeng, who was just the right person to finish off a day, being informative, entertaining and interactive; at one point reducing the entire audience to laughter. Who said PMOs were boring?

Overall my thoughts were that it was a good conference. The mechanics and organisation could have been better e.g. People to sign you in, working technology, smoother transitions between presenters. I don’t remember it being that chaotic in the past few years. 

I thought the subject was a difficult one as it was leading edge, which what I expect the PMO SIG to deliver, to get me thinking how I can do different things or things differently. 

I am looking forward to see what happens at the next one. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 18 months to deliver. 

You’re Great

We're Grrreat
We’re Grrreat

I am prompted to write this following a few discussions I have seen and contributed to over the past month. It was initially the discussion on Linked In about the value of the PDF CV (apparently from a recruiter’s point of view it’s terrible). Then at the PMO flashmob I was handed a different style business card, which just had PMO on one side, and the person’s details on the other. I then saw the write-up from that flashmob. All of this tumbled around a bit and it got me thinking where are we?

How recruiters see CVs

Chatting to Lindsay Scott from Arras People it was clear that she (as a recruiter) sees things differently from the rest of the people who I spoke to about a CV. In order for the recruiter to see your CV (which is obviously great), then a keyword search is done, so if you don’t have the correct combination of keywords then you aren’t going to appear in the short(er) list that is going to be presented to the recruiter.

Only once you have passed the keyword test, which by the way is done against a database and not your CV will someone then actually look at your CV.

How candidates want CVs to appear

You (like me) have probably spent hours poring over your CV, making sure that aligns to the keywords that are in the job advert. Making sure not only the spelling, but the grammar is perfect. Therefore when you send your CV it is so sparkling everyone is dazzled and therefore it must be the one that is read, and everything else is ignored. You get an immediate pass into the interview round, because it is so obviously you are made for the role.

Reading a CV

I have spent some time reading CVs when I have wanted to recruit. The first thing to say is that I read a CV for a contract role differently from a CV for a permanent role. Why? Well put simply the contract person is one I want to come in and be able to start the job first day. Whereas the permanent person I want to see an element of where they are going to be, what will be their future in the organization? So yes, even at CV reading stage I am looking at career development.

There are other things I look at regarding career history, looking for length of contracts, renewals, drive and ambition as well as technical skills. If I am then interested in them I may do some research on Linked In to find out a bit more about them. I typically get a second opinion as well. This is normally done by getting the other person to read the CVs and then we compare notes, so as not to influence the other person. To ensure a level playing field I try and sort them in surname order as well.

A new generation of CVs?

As we all seem to want different things from a CV, perhaps this is the wrong format. We are using something that is paper based (what ever happened to that electronic office?). Perhaps we should start to go the HTML route (for those non technical think of it as a web page). This would then allow the recruiters to be happy as we could all stuff our web pages with those wonderful META tags which have all of the buzz words. We can get the fancy formatting that the person writing the CV wants. We can even get a nice picture included as well. It then means that the format is contained. If the recruiter then wants to put their contact details as a header & footer, then all they need to do is to put a frame around the CV content and put their information at the top & bottom. For those people who like paper, as it allows it to be scrawled on and the o’s and a’s coloured in during a dull meeting moment, you can print the pages as well.


Hang on a minute though …… this sounds like I have just described linked in? If we have that, then remind me, why do we all have a CV and a business card?

P3O and Beyond

As a follow up from my last post on the future of the P3O I attended the PMO flashmob to hear what Eileen Roden had to say. You can find the full write-up here, but I thought I would give my perspective on the matter.

After a brief career history from Eileen on how she had become the author of the P3O manual, we separated into groups to look at what PMOs had stopped doing, were being asked to do more of and where staring to be asked to do. The full write-up is on the flashmob site.

What I took from the meeting was that some things had changed for the PMOs, and we were moving away from being secretaries and admin people, as shown in the balance of the individuals in the room, there was a fair split between males and females. When I first started in PMOs about 20 years ago there were many more females than males in the profession and those males that were there saw it as a pathway to doing something else.

The role was starting to form as there were many things in the PMOs can do category, with more being added all the time. However there was no real agreement in what a PMO can do in the future.

I was therefore disappointed in the flashmob as it didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, which was where are PMOs going, what is the vision that we need to aspire to, who are the thought leaders in the field of PMOs. It was quite clear from the people I spoke to during the event, and afterwards in the more social surroundings of the local pub, that most PMOs are struggling to get on with the day job and can’t think about what is happening this afternoon let alone where will PMOs go in 20 months let alone 20 years.

I am not sure based on the output of the flashmob whether there is anything that can be used and taken forward as what a PMO should do, as it did seem to link into the maturity of the organisation, the competence of the individuals within the PMO and project management community. What was obvious though is that a lot activities nowadays are being managed as a project within organisations, so the need for Project Managers and PMOs to support them and the organisation is required.

PMOs are here to stay, we just need the individuals within them to become better in understanding the organisations they work within and therefore how the PMO can transform the organisation.