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Project Manager : Project Manager April May 2012
30 Project Manager “look, PeoPle aren’T usinG The processes and tools you’ve developed. You need to do something more innovative,” barked the Cio. “ what about giving them all iPads? i’ve got a mate who has some great new project management software that will run on the intranet and mobile devices. i’m sure i can get a good deal as a beta site.” The PMo Manager tries to hide his look of panic, mumbles a non-committal agreement and quickly backs out of the Cio’s office. first of all, what is innovation? inventing things? doing things in a new and ‘sexy ’ way? One definition is simply the introduction of something new. with such a broad definition it can’t be hard for PMos to be innovative then, can it? innovation is not ... refining and improving processes PMOs are e xpected to maintain common processes and maturity models such as CMMi and P3M3, consider defined, repeatable processes as the pinnacle of maturity. But standards can stifle innovation. in The innovator ’s dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen writes: “Processes are established so that employees perform recurrent tasks in a consistent way, time after time. This means that the very mechanisms (processes) through which organisations create value obstruct change.” Use flexible methods that can absorb new ideas as this will encourage innovation. innovation is ... taking an external view often, PMos spend a lot of time looking inwards – tweaking existing processes, supporting and gover ning por tfolios, programs and projects – and not enough looking outwards, scanning the organisation and broader environment for opportunities that might deliver significant improvements in PMo function and project delivery. For example, project delivery capabilities are often improved organically through trial and error. This can reduce or hide costs but it takes time, can lead to a lot of rework and you miss out on any improvements in delivery by developing the skills sooner. one area that PMos can drive change is improving communications, so focus on innovations in communications and collaboration with stakeholders and project delivery groups as this can deliver value quickly. innovation is .... learning from others Better to learn from the experience of other organisations and industries by adopting their best practice. a small change in someone else’s processes to suit your circumstances can introduce new ways of working at lower cost and avoiding some of the pain. also, remember that PMos are as much about relationships as processes and tools. Take time to wander around the organisation, go out and meet people in other departments. Get together and make connections with your peers in other organisations, or even people from other industries. This can sometimes lead to serendipity – a great word, meaning the unexpected and pleasant discovery of something useful – which usually goes hand in hand with innovation. finally, remember that although PMos have an important role to play in fostering innovation, you need to be wary of being at the leading edge of technology – this is a high-risk strategy. sometimes it is better to be at the trailing wedge, so forget those iPads and beta software. instead, find out who is trialling it and see what they are doing next year. ••• innovation is.... The office THe VIeW frOm THe pmO Gary yorKe Gary Yorke is an AIPM victoria state Councillor, victorian PMO sIG Chair and senior Consultant at MetaPM specialising in developing organisational PMO capability. If you’d like to discuss further, join the AIPM PMO special Interest Group or contact your local PMO sIG Chair for more details. ACt: sylvia.Boyle@ humanservices.gov.au sA: firstname.lastname@example.org vIC: email@example.com How can PMOs be innovative within a process-driven environment?
Project Manager Feb March 2012
Project Manager June July 2012