BUILDING YOUR PMO’S PROJECT PORTFOLIO

 

Most project management professionals have their own project portfolios—they come in handy during job interviews, performance reviews, etc. But your PMO should also have a portfolio. It’s a great PR tool when your team hosts networking events, and it’s also helpful when introducing your team to a new executive or key stakeholder. We’ve put together a quick guide to get your PMO’s portfolio started.

 

Select a handful of projects to include. You can’t include everything, but look for a variety of projects that showcase your team’s versatility. Include at least one very large project, one high-visibility project, and one project that directly affected the company’s bottom line. Projects with particular significance (improvements to a manufacturing facility, for example) or that demonstrate your team’s expertise in niche areas (perhaps a project completed under regulatory oversight) would also be good additions.

 

Create a project summary for each project. Viewers of your PMO’s portfolio will want to quickly understand the basic objectives and parameters of the various projects your team has executed, so give them the basics at a glance: a short list of key deliverables, information on the project’s duration or timetable, cost data that includes budgeted and actual figures for expense and capital line items, a list of key project team members and their areas of responsibility, and other notable resource allocations or project details. Keep each project summary to just a single page for easy viewing.

 

Pull some photos together. Few things can help viewers understand the scope and impact of your projects like pictures. But you don’t need many—select one or two large photos that best describe the project’s challenges and final outcome, along with a few smaller pictures that highlight particularly interesting aspects of the project. Any more than that, and your viewers will likely lose interest.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting and project management training services.

 

4 Benefits of Project Management Training

Most project management professionals come into the PMO with at least a baseline skill set in the art of project management. But savvy teams know that a well-crafted project management training program brings benefits that go beyond just nailing down core competencies. If your PMO hasn’t seized on the value of good training, consider just a few of potential payouts.

1 – Better participation. When team members have strong project management skills, they can more fully participate in all phases of a project’s lifecycle, from planning to execution to post-project analysis. Project professionals that are pigeonholed into a narrow sector of disciplines often miss out on new opportunities, and are less able to lend their expertise across multiple aspects of each project.

2 – More consistency. A solid training methodology available to all project professionals in an organization allows members across the team to apply consistent project management principles. This leads to better long-term project execution, as well as improved stakeholder and end user satisfaction. It’s also a launch pad for project improvement initiatives that result in repeatable successes.

3 – Increased confidence. Training gives team members the confidence to tackle difficult, complex, and critical-path projects. A strong training program introduces real-world project scenarios that allow PMs to develop good decision-making and other skills in a safe environment. It also gives them a much broader set of experiences to draw from when faced with challenging circumstances.

4 – Improved efficiency. When training focuses on a particular tool used in a PMO, such as a specific software suite, or on aspects of the project lifecycle that required detailed knowledge (planning and facilitation are two that come to mind), team members are able to become power users and experts much more quickly. They can then maximize the functionality and effectiveness of that tool or discipline.

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PMAlliance has a national open enrollment training schedule
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MAKE YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT PHOTOS SING

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it’s time your PMO made its project photos earn their keep. Stakeholders across the board rely on good pictures—to help them understand what your project will correct as well as to see all that you’ve accomplished so far. We’ve put together some guidelines to help you take great project management pictures that support your message.

Pay attention to quality. Grainy, dark, and out-of-focus pictures aren’t what you need. For photos to convey information and have impact, viewers must be able to see things clearly. And while some cell phones take great pictures, a quality point-and-shoot camera is often a worthwhile investment. Also, consider if you’re likely to enlarge pictures for display at open house events or to show greater detail. In those instances, it may be helpful to use a high-resolution camera.

Give some perspective. Photos that are too close-up or too far away may not give viewers the kind of understanding you want them to have. Be mindful to offer information on scale (a ruler often works for small items, a desk chair or even a car for larger objects, structures, etc.) and take the picture from an angle that makes it clear what you’re focusing on. Also, do your best to minimize the appearance of unimportant items or clutter, so the photo is easy to view and comprehend.

Offer additional information. Supplemental graphics and text will often help to explain the finer details of your photos. If someone in your PMO is skilled with PhotoShop or a similar software platform, you can add all kinds of extra information while also cropping, rotating, and shrinking or enlarging specific areas of a photo. Low-tech solutions, such as post-it notes and arrows drawn with a felt-tip marker, can also get the point across.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting and project management training services.

7 TIPS FOR SHARING PROJECT METRICS

Most PMOs strive for transparency, and that often includes releasing metrics related to project objectives, budgets, and a host of other data points. But there are some recommended—and other not-so-recommended—guidelines for sharing that information to best effect. We’ve put together 7 suggestions to keep stakeholders engaged while ensuring your transparency efforts remain on track.

1 – Focus on the data stakeholders ask for most often. Your team can often avoid answering the same questions a dozen times by putting the information front and center.

2 – Consider including some data points that aren’t usually requested. If there are little-known metrics that would help stakeholders understand how successful your project truly was, be sure to highlight them. If nothing else, it’s good PR for your team.

3 – Provide enough detail to make the data meaningful. Remember that most stakeholders aren’t project professionals, so include any additional information that will help them understand the data points you’re sharing with them.

4 – Let readers know where they can find more information. Part of transparency is responding to follow-up inquiries, and that’s best accomplished by designating a point person to field stakeholders’ questions.

5 – Identify who’s responsible for particularly impressive metrics. Rather than feed the notion that your PMO is a faceless mass, take the time to call out particular team members with notable accomplishments.

6 – Release a subset of metrics on a regular schedule. Things like staffing levels, number of active projects, budget overages, and new vendor agreement metrics are often helpful on a quarterly or even monthly basis.

7 – Share data in a number of places and ways. Some stakeholders may not read the corporate newsletters or frequent your PMO’s intranet site. To widen your audience, consider other avenues, such as an e-mail blast or a short presentation at each company meeting.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.

 

Control Your Project’s Reality

The reality of a project—its objectives, its hurdles—don’t always match the perception that stakeholders have in their minds. When a project management professional discovers a discrepancy between how things really are and how people assume them to be, it’s time to do some proactive damage control that often goes beyond simply resetting expectations.

First, see if you can determine where the incorrect information came from initially. There’s a chance that the data is actually accurate, but was passed through inappropriate channels, such as a vendor providing someone other than their primary contact person with updated lead times, etc. This will help you determine if the information floating around is indeed incorrect, or if it’s just old and needs to be refreshed.

Next, send accurate (or perhaps updated) information to everyone involved in the project. This includes not only stakeholders—end along with champions, funders, and even the executive team if it makes sense—but also anyone in your PMO who may have the project on their  radar. This will alert folks to the fact that erroneous data is floating around, so they can be on the lookout for it. It also ensures that everyone with the potential to provide information to stakeholders is working off the latest approved data.

 

Finally, reinforce where information should enter your PMO, and who is responsible for passing it on to stakeholders. If updated data bypassed your team and was given directly to stakeholders, either by others in your organization or by business partners, you will likely need to let folks know from whom they should expect to receive new data points. If a vendor released information to end users or others outside your PMO, it’s time to re-educate them that all data is to go through a specific point person on your team.

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4 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN DEALING WITH STUBBORN PEOPLE

Much of project management consulting centers around negotiation—objectives, expectations, timeframe, and budget. There are occasions where negotiation may be impossible, such as when budget limitations simply won’t allow additional money to be approved, but sometimes plain human stubbornness keeps the team from making progress. When someone comes to the table refusing to negotiate on key points, project professionals should keep a few things in mind as they try to move the discussion forward.

1 – Even hard data might not sway them
Before you dedicate significant time or energy to gathering data that supports your viewpoint, remember that stubbornness is sometimes immune to empirical evidence. Facts won’t always unseat deeply held ideas, concerns, or opinions.

2 – Ask and listen
Because data might not be enough to change a stubborn person’s mind, see if you can get to the root of why they’re stuck on a particular point of view. Turn the tables and pull information from them by asking about their experiences and perspectives. They might divulge something that points you toward an acceptable compromise or workable solution.

3 – Public opinion could work in your favor
You alone may not be able to bring enough pressure to bear to convince a stubborn person to back down or to secure a compromise. In these cases, consider rallying others to support your cause. This could take the form of user surveys, or it might require getting the senior leadership on your side.

4 – They might not actually be stubborn
There’s a chance they’re stuck on a particular issue because their boss or other influencer has an agenda. As you discuss why they hold such a firm perspective, try to determine if someone else is at work behind the scenes. If so, you’ll likely need to address that person directly before progress can be made.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, project management training and project office development services.