Lessons from the best PMOs in the world

Over the last three years I have had the privilege to be involved as an international judge in the PMO Global Alliance Awards and as the chairperson of the judging committee for the South African PMO Awards.  Here are just some of the things I learned from some of the best PMOs in the world.

I would love to hear from you, so please share your insights by adding to the post.

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Great project managers have great networks

Much research over the last twenty years has attempted to identify the characteristics of successful project managers. However, more recently, this has been questioned and replaced with a more interesting debate. What makes for successful project management? The argument goes that even the ‘best’ project manager acting alone without support from the organization and appropriate collaboration with peers and other stakeholders is unlikely to be successful.

In our own research on the characteristics of successful project managers, we found that the high performers were much more likely to have extended personal and professional relationships within and outside their organizations. It wasn’t just that they had more expertise to draw upon, but also that when they needed to interact with stakeholders, to further the goals of their projects, they were more likely to have pre-existing relationships to draw upon. They built up and valued ‘social capital’ in ways that less experienced project managers were unlikely to do.

Great project managers have great networks

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Be a Modern Professional Learner

As a project coach, I get many opportunities to ask the question,” What did you learn from most over the last few years?”   So far no one has ever answered; “There was this great course” or even, sadly; “There was this great presentation you did on…”.

Most adult learning comes from relevant experience: challenges faced on a project, interactions with peers, or opportunities which force reflection upon and make sense of our experience.

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Conflict in the project workplace : A coach’s perspective

High conflict levels unbearable

Conflict levels were so high at work that Paula had reached the point where she just wanted to resign her contract and leave it all behind her.  She knew that this was not a good move – she liked the company she was working with – “it was just a few people that were causing me the problems”.

What she hadn’t really understood (but her Employment Agent was alerted to) was that the problem was bigger than this.  Paula was beginning to get a reputation amongst managers and her peers as somebody who was just too difficult to work with – too high maintenance.  As one manager commented – “she seems to be good at her job – good at getting things done – but she really does rub others peoples’ backs up”.

Paula agreed to be involved in a coaching experience instigated by her Employment Agent to see if a resolution could be found.

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