The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 202: How does the PMO mix with PPM, Governance, Lessons Learned and Business Driven Setup? (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The PDU Podcast:
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Terry Doerscher, Mel Bost, Steve Romero, Mark PerryThis is the 2nd episode with interviews that I recorded on the road in recent weeks. As a special treat you are going to hear not just one, but four interviews today that were recorded at the PMO Syposium in Dallas, TX. Each interview is obviously going to be about PMOs, but with a twist...

I attended the PMO Symposium to help out Mark Perry. Mark is a good friend of mine, the host of The PMO Podcast and his company BOT International was an exhibitor at the PMO Symposium. He asked me to fly in and help at the BOT booth. There I quickly realized that the other consultants from BOT International who were working at the booth were all exceptional experts in their fields. So I decided to ask each of them 3 questions that connect their field of experience with the topic of PMO.

In this episode you will hear:

  • Terry Doerscher with whom we focus on Project Portfolio Management
  • Steve Romero whose expertise is IT Governance and how it relates to PMO
  • Mel Bost who will tell you what a PMO needs to do in order to improve lessons learned in your organization
  • And last but not least Mark Perry with whom I discuss what business driven PMO setup and strategy means.

 

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #202. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Nice to have you with us.

This is the second episode with interviews that I recorded on the road in recent weeks. As a special treat, you are going to hear not just one, but four interviews today that we recorded at the PMO Symposium in Dallas, Texas. Each interview is obviously going to be about PMOs, Project Management Offices, but with a twist.

This episode of The Project Management Podcast™ is sponsored by The PM Exam Simulator™ because nothing prepares you more for the PMP Exam than being able to sit down and take a realistically-simulated PMP Exam. Go to www.FreeExamSimulator.com and get your free 3-day access, and see for yourself what the PMP Exam is like.

I attended the PMO Symposium this year to help out Mark Perry. Mark is a good friend of mine. He is also the host of The PMO Podcast and his company BOT International was an exhibitor at the PMO Symposium. He asked me to fly in and help at the BOT booth. There, I quickly realized that the other consultants from BOT International who were working at the booth with me were all exceptional experts in their fields. So I decided to ask each of them 3 questions that connect their field of experience with the topic of PMOs.

So you will now hear:

  • Terry Doerscher with whom we focus on Project Portfolio Management and the PMO;
  • Steve Romero whose expertise is IT Governance and how it relates to PMOs;
  • Mel Bost who will tell you what a PMO needs to do in order to improve lessons learned in your organization;
  • And last but not least, Mark Perry himself, with whom I discuss what business-driven PMO setup and strategy really means.

And now, please vote: Does the “P” in PMO stand for Program or Project? Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with the consulting team from BOT International.

Cornelius Fichtner: And we are coming to you live from the PMO Symposium 2011 here in beautiful and humid, Orlando, Florida. And with me is a regular on the program, Terry Doerscher and as he said, he is now under new management. Hello, Terry!

Terry Doerscher: Hi, Cornelius! It’s great, great to be with you and actually be able to sit side by side each other as well.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. So you are the Principal of the PPM practice at BOT International and we wanted to take a few moments and go through 3 questions that I have for you in regards to PPM, Project Portfolio Management.

First question here for you, quite a simple one. Not really, no. Is PPM a critical success factor for project success?

Terry Doerscher: Well, I think if you have more than one project, absolutely. And the reason I say that is you step back and you think about what does PPM stand for? I want to focus on the portfolio side of that and what is portfolio management all about? It’s all about making good decisions and I would submit to you that a lot of project failures occur not as a result of failure in the execution of the project itself but in the fact that perhaps that project was a poor investment opportunity to begin with. It should have never been started. It should have not been selected or perhaps if it was selected as an investment, the right capacities weren’t allocated to make it be successful.

On the back side of that then there becomes the issue of assuming you produce a good deliverable, was it properly operationalized in terms of a new product or service or some other type of asset either external to the organization or as an internal improvement.

So when we think about making good decisions and how important that is to project management then absolutely, it’s critical because ultimately that project is nothing more than a method of executing the tactical change. You got to know why you want to change to begin with. Is it the right change to make and did I successfully assimilate that change into my new normal of operations?

Cornelius Fichtner: You have a workshop where you work with people to take a snapshot of their company in regards to PPM, so what do you do, how do you take that snapshot assessing companies’ current PPM capabilities?

Terry Doerscher: Yeah! I actually offer two different types of assessment as part of our advisory services for customers that are looking at embarking on a PPM initiative. The first is indeed a qualitative snapshot. I like to call it plain eye spy in terms of coming in spending the day. Yeah! Where in the world is [Carmen] PPM, right?

Just doing the general overview in terms of taking a look at where you are in terms of overall organizational maturity, what types of tools you’re using, the skill levels of not only the project managers but the project staff and sponsors, et cetera, right?

And then kind of looking at what are your key challenges that you’re facing and what you hope to get out of going forward and kind of use that to then give you a relative benchmark of where you are in the overall continuum of all of those different variables. To give you an idea, once again, a qualitative benchmark of saying: “You know, you’re in this quadrant,” or “or that quadrant of maturity and as a result of that with what you’re trying to do, some high level recommendations on some next step you should take.”

Cornelius Fichtner: What kind of a scale do you use to measure, is it just Terry Doerscher’s gut feeling or do you follow of a methodology?

Terry Doerscher: There are a lot of assessment methodologies that are out there. Very few of them that you can execute in one day.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right.

Terry Doerscher: Really, what I want to focus on is being able to put things in laymen terms, talk eye to eye and ambiguous discussion, easily understood conversation with whoever is sponsoring the assessment and be able to say quite candidly: “Look, this is where I see you’re at.” And what do I base that on? I had the opportunity to work with over hundred organizations over the years all different shapes, sizes, verticals, et cetera, et cetera. I’ve gotten a pretty good feel in terms of that level of intuition after looking at a few key indicators of being able to put that in perspective of what I’ve been able to see in the past and make that relative comparison.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.

Terry Doerscher: So that’s that piece of it. If you want to get a little more involved, we also have a 2-day service that goes in and does a quantitative measurement of operational alignment and we do that on 3 levels: Strategic alignment in terms of how well aligned are you as an organization of being able to say: “Here are my goals and objectives.” Now, is that really the day to day working priorities people are doing, right? So that’s being able to say: This is the direction of the ship is heading in. Can we stay right there, right?

Then there’s the functional piece of it. If that’s where you’re trying to get the organization to go, do you have the necessary competencies to be able to get there in terms of your tools, your skills, the right people on board; that type of thing that really is an indicator of your degree of being able to steer effectively.

The third component which so often overlooked is really, cultural alignment. And that comes down to being able to understand of what are the values and all of the social morays that are happening within the organization and expectations, how are those aligned relative to the individual behaviors that are going on?

We actually do that assessment using, one, internal survey that we send out depending on what part of the organization we’re working with, the appropriate mix of levels and individuals in the organization and it’s kind of an art form to ask the right questions at each of those key intersection points. And then we also do some interviews with the sampling of key levels across the organization from senior executives to line managers, project managers and staff and use all that to then create a spider graph that says ‘this is where you’re at in terms of alignment on those 3 planes.’ Obviously, all of those are critical, you know, in order to reach top level sufficiency. In fact, that is the subject of my track presentation tomorrow morning here at the symposium.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. That leads me right in to my third and final question for you because now that we have an assessment of our organization whether you do it or someone else does it or whether we do it internally, we now know where we stand but now we have to move into the future. So how do I as a company set up a strategic PPM roadmap? What are few of the steps that you would take me through in order to set this up so that I’m going down the right path?

 

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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