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Almost There 03/11/2009

Posted by TBoehm30 in PMO.
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The PMO is still not out yet, but at least now I know the issues (I think. (I hope.)).

The IT director has talked to the CFO to find out that it is still a power struggle. The PMO (Project Management Office) cannot be given too much power because decisions will still be made at the highest levels. His concerns are that people will think that all decisions, not just the ERP project, are being made by the new PMO.

OK, we can easily word the announcement (read previous posts) so that it is obvious that this group is responsible for 1 project. Yes one project only. They are not taking over the company. They won’t decide who to layoff, or who to promote. They won’t change the manufacturing schedules. They are being created as a cross-functional team to oversee the very large and complicated implementation of the ERP system.

It turns out that the CFO has been working pretty hard lately. He actually, really, hasn’t had much time to think about our needs (really). This is a pretty good thing for him to realize because when the project starts going he knows that he won’t be, nor does he want to be, the guy making all of the decisions. The PMO will be making plenty of process decisions to successfully implement the ERP. They need to be empowered to do that and only that. Our newest announcement will grab power for that singular purpose.

The other issue is the board of directors meetings. He is going to talk to the leaders of the company separately about the new PMO. That is good news. That means that the higher ups will already be aware of what is about to happen and can support us when needed. He wants his ‘official’ announcement to go out after he has had a chance to talk to the board. OK – good issue, didn’t know that.

We are also going to include text in the announcement that specifically states that the PMO has been setup for this one ERP project. If this one project goes well, if the structure of the PMO enhances the value of the implementation, then they may continue it. The future of the PMO will rely on their own success.

The PMO announcement still hasn’t gone out. The CFO will be meeting with the board some time next week, so we are still in a waiting mode. At least now I don’t have to be thinking about strategies for overcoming our very first obstacle. I’ll give it one more week before I get frustrated again.

That is fine with me because I know that it’s a global world out there and Technology makes it happen.

Power Struggles 02/27/2009

Posted by TBoehm30 in ERP, PMO.
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The PMO exists and they are excited about the new role they will play in this large project. The ERP system will help define the future of the company and they know it. The executives are entirely behind the ERP project, knowing how important it is, and they helped define the PMO. Now it is time to announce to the company that the PMO exists, what it’s goals are, and ask for assistance from everybody in this new project.

The first week was spent re-working the announcement to better fit the desires of management. It was too long, so we took out quite a bit. We had to remove some text that may have prevented some of the politics that I know will follow. We watered down the responsibilities just a bit so as not to conflict with the responsibilities of the executives. Now the announcement is simple and to the point. But it still hasn’t been sent out. The second week was spent waiting for executives to get the announcement out.

I can appreciate the schedules of executives, they are obviously full. They’ve got a really bad economy to deal with and board meetings are looming. However, business does go on.

I think that the problem is that the PMO will be making decisions on process that are currently the responsibility of executives. I think that they worry the PMO looks like it is taking over the business. It may look like they get to make the new decisions that will drive the company.

OK, I can see that issue. However, the executives are not going to want to make the decisions necessary for process engineering in a large ERP project. Not only will they have no desire, but it doesn’t sound like they have the time. That is why we created a PMO.

My job next week will be to explain the purpose of the PMO and convince executives that it is time to announce it. We have fully documented the PMO charter, its goals and mission, as well as the functions and services it will perform. This documentation should be enough to show the executives that the PMO will not detract from their power. The PMO will work WITH them to make sure these decisions are done right.

An ERP project is huge, it covers multiple business units, multiple functionalities, and several departments. This is not something you want run by a single person, especially one who is already quite busy. A committee of people containing representatives from numerous affected stakehoulders is the way to go. They will be in a position to monitor what is going on as well as having the knowledge to make the right decisions. We have an official reporting plan to keep the executives in the loop.

I know that helping a company do the right thing means convincing people to help. Just convincing them idealogically is not enough; you then have to ask for their action. Even with executives you have to follow up with them to make sure that actions are performed. It means continually convincing them to follow-up on their decisions. For a technical person, this seems like just politics. However, it is very important to get the politics right, or it will kill the project.

For you executives out there who are sitting on their action commitments: It’s a global world out there and technology makes it happen.