PMOs Are There to Make Life Better

By Peter Taylor

Marissa Mayer the new CEO of Yahoo, tasked with rescuing this once mighty company, has done many things in her first few months in charge including the creation of ‘PBJ’.

A play on the ‘peanut butter and jelly’ much loved in the US she’s cut away ribbons of red tape and instituted an internal online service called ‘PBJ’ which actually stands for ‘Process, Bureaucracy, and Jams’. This service allows employees to complain about organizational blockages and excessive overheads that slow action and decision making.

I have spoken many times on the fact that a successful PMO should be a ‘balanced’ PMO and this includes getting the balance right between people and process. Both are critical to project success and both come under the remit of the PMO.

But it is the responsibility of the PMO to ‘make life better’ for the people – the project managers, so that they can effectively and efficiently do their jobs – and for the business, so that the projects are seen to be under control and delivering benefits.

Often one of the first tasks I get involved in when helping a company develop a PMO and associated project management practice is to review the method or framework that they use to guide their project managers. And in many cases it is often a need to add in quality reviews and some control points or stages to improve the control. But it is always a concern that anything added should add proportional value – quality assurance should deliver quality (and not be a burdensome universally hated overhead that delivers no real benefit to anyone).

One way to do this is to think carefully when you design such a process.

The other is to make sure that you have a ‘PBJ’ in place for the PMO team to let you know when you have got it wrong.

Despite his title of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, Peter Taylor is in fact a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in project management, program management and the professional development of project managers: latterly as Head of Projects at a global supplier of performance system solutions, and currently as Director of a PMO at Siemens PLM Software, a global supplier of product lifecycle management solutions. He is an accomplished communicator and leader; always adopting a proactive and business-focused approach. He is also the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ book (Infinite Ideas 2009) – for more information – – you can also subscribe to a series of free podcasts on iTunes (The Lazy Project Manager).

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