Successful project portfolio management is more of an art than any stroke of luck. For ongoing, repeatable success, PMOs need to ensure that their PM infrastructures are built on a solid foundation from clear business goals down to having great PMs with particular experience, soft skills, and some good, sound logical best practices.
In this article, we will cover 5 key tips that oftentimes get overlooked and yet can be a driving force for delivering projects predictably and profitably.
Tip #1: Have great meetings
Let’s just say that avoid unnecessary meetings whenever necessary. One way to do this best is with a shared project management solution that provides the relevant data necessary according to their roles and permission. But of course, there will be times when you’re still going to need to touch base, especially when you are running a PMO with remote teams. When you do, run meetings that inform and bring clarity for team alignment. Since meetings are a common occurrence in the PM world remember to do the following to help keep the meetings effective and efficient:
- Send out agenda- This allows everyone to know what is expected of them and be prepared to participate more effectively.
- Start promptly- Always be the type that starts their meetings on time. Wasting others time by starting your meetings 10 minutes late – even if you’re waiting for others to arrive – is a bad idea. The end result will be poor attendance.
- Avoid cancelling or delaying- This one is important. If you start cancelling or delaying meetings regularly, people will get the impression that your meetings are flexible or certainly not mandatory.
- End on time- Just as important as starting on time – end on time as well. Everyone understands the occasional overrun on time. Just don’t be a regular offender.
- Stay on topic- Staying on topic will help you keep your meeting durations down. Far too many meetings turn into a lot of side bar conversations and “what are you doing this weekend?” type of discussion.
Tip #2: Keep it simple
Excellent and efficient communication is Job One for the project manager…and actually for the entire project team. Failure to effectively communicate can lead to poor requirements, re-work, missed or miscommunicated assignments and project updates, and project customer dissatisfaction. By keeping the tasks at hand clear and simple, no matter how complicated the project in mind is, can help facilitate clear communication. Use a solution that will reflect only the relevant (shared) data that is relevant to the team that is involved. Spare them the details that do not involve them.
Tip #3: Timely decision making
Timely decision-making is going to be required of the project manager. It will depend upon multiple variables, such as self-confidence, executive support, experience, having the right tools, and staying up to date with the latest trends in their role and in their industry. A confident and efficient leader who has access to the right information is more likely to make better decisions. There will be times when not enough information or even access to the right people to assist with decision-making are available, so they will need to be supported enough by their supervisors, usually, top executives, to feel confident enough to execute their decisions to the best of their ability.
Tip #4: Good tools
Tell yourself what you want, but you are never going to reach the pinnacle of your project management profession on sheer luck of a successful project outcome. You want and need repeatable processes, a good, sound project management methodology, good project management tools, proven templates, and good organizational support to deliver successfully to your project clients week in and week out. A project management portfolio (PPM) tool, like Proggio, that is scalable, provides good, customizable reporting, can keep the PMO infrastructure on track and away from executing on projects that aren’t aligned with the organization’s goals.
Tip #5: Supportive senior management
Having the organizational support of senior management for the project management office (PMO) or PM infrastructure is critical. It is the path to well-funded projects, well-staffed projects, and a PMO that truly supports the project managers leading successful initiatives for the organization’s project client base. When your leadership doesn’t trust the PMO’s ability to deliver or doesn’t support it on the important projects, the rest of the company will eventually follow suit.
You need a solid PM foundation. A good solid PM infrastructure needs logical best practices, setting clear goals, and keeping management and teams aligned at all times, in order to be predictable and profitable as the title of this article suggests. Proper planning and communication are always going to be key elements. Keeping all of the data in one place so everyone is on the same page is also critically important – hence the need for an effective PPM solution. At the same time, we must be flexible to change as priorities or value of project changes, or business needs and goals change within the organization and project customer base.