October 7, 2018

Project and Program Management Insights that matter

I facilitate PMO breakfast meeting of PMI Silicon Valley chapter where a small group of PMO leaders get together to share their insights and success stories, and get advice for potential challenges. Below is extracts of our last conversation on September 12, 2018.

Please note that all relevant comments will be posted. We can only grow by each other’s help. I extend my invitation to share your expert knowledge within our community. I will then link your name (on comment) to you LinkedIn profile as appreciation – if you want so.

Meeting Notes:

  • How to manage International Projects with distributed teams:
    One of our attendees has experience managing projects with distributed team members (in Grenoble, Singapore and California). Due to the time-zone difference, each team used to do their tasks and pass to the next team. Tasks then distributed to the last team to deliver their committed milestone. The team was working round-the-clock for about a month and the milestone accomplished milestone. Hands-off to other teams done using available technologies (email, teleconferences, shared folders, etc.) Collaboration was mainly engineer-to-engineer. Performance was based on work-packages.

    As per International projects, other important considerations are the settings where teams are performing, their laws and regulation, tools and techniques, information / communication channels, and information containment that will affect the success of Centers of Excellence (AKA PMO)!

  • How people deal with dependencies:
    Recalling the materials of Managing International Projects course, many matters become dependencies, including regulatory laws (Export/Import, tariffs, Intellectual Property laws, etc.), communication barriers, time differences, cultural diversities, and so forth. Managing any International project or program involves numerous dependencies, each require specific resolution, mitigation, (risk) transfer, and more!At time this would be like dependencies from hell! (As an example, one was talking about a project when two-weeks before the release, government changed almost everything regulatory, causing disorders in release!)

    There are dependencies where PMOs (or a Center of Excellence) can have influential authority, such as requests delegations, approval (signature) procedure, reporting pyramid, etc. Having an in-country experts (as in-house or sub-contractors) is another way of settling dependencies. Local experts are particularly important in synchronizing actions among various in-bound entities that would help time, language, cultural disparities.

    Time and sensitive functional dependencies; especially when dealing with modular (hardware-software) product development, require higher degree of coordination to reduce task-delivery delays. Utilizing available coordination and team-based technologies helps resolving dependencies as well.

    Conflicting dependencies may result from hidden and / or incorrect assumptions (or agendas), both from the management as well as business needs (resource, objectives, etc.) These may be due to management style / variance, and organizational directions when the top-down resolution becomes the best remedy. Another conflict may arise due to technical or scientific differences that would be easier to be resolved by engineering team, especially if the team is collocated.

  • How to manage real time project status:
    Projects and programs status can be viewed using various tools, dashboards, and technologies like Jira, Confluence, Smartsheet, Trello, Sharepoint, Wiki, MS-Teams & Planners, etc. However, we shall know the capabilities and limitations of each tools used. At times, senior leaders may even create a summary if their dashboards for ease of communications. Frequency of delivery of reports on high level milestone, tasks (and their stages), dependencies, issues, and fixes can be achieved via several means. These are all based on the maturity of organization, tools used, communication channels, etc. Senior PMO leaders might have to anticipate status-reporting of various concurrent projects. The reports are usually in consolidated form for upper management use in timely manner; even if projects are being handled by other owners (Scrum, or any Agile variation).
Please share your remarks, or post your questions. Engage with our PPM community.
I would like to invite you to engage with us at our next meeting. Please check out PMI Silicon Valley chapter events for more information.
I also invite you to contact and post your topic of interest at www.SVProjectManagement.com.