You might be wondering why we’re focusing on annual objectives right now, when typically you’ll see articles about goal setting at the start of the year. It’s because now is a great time to be reflecting on objectives and making sure that you and the team are on track to achieve them.
You might have set your objectives several months ago, but there’s always a risk that your daily management responsibilities take over and you don’t have time to focus on them. Ideally, it should be a regular monthly activity to review your objectives and recording what you have done against them and what is still to do.
However, we know that sometimes life gets in the way so we’re here to remind you that it’s not too late to pull that document out of the drawer and check that you’re on track.
Wait… Your objectives documentation is blank? The beginning of the year is often a really busy time for PMO leaders as they put processes and plans in place for the coming 12 months. So we get it, and as a shortcut for whatever time of the year, here are 5 objectives that PMO leaders should consider adding to their annual appraisal cycle.
1. Lead The Team
Leading the team is a core part of the PMO Director’s day job. Some companies will choose not to include day-job responsibilities as part of the annual objective cycle, preferring instead to focus on stretch goals.
You could argue that leadership is a stretch goal. There’s plenty to be done here above and beyond keeping the team functioning. Coaching and mentoring junior members of the team, for example, or setting up or developing career paths for project managers.
There’s also personal development to be done. While many PMO leaders are naturally strong in leadership skills, others benefit from spending some time developing their skills through hands-on and formal learning. There could be some value in creating an objective for yourself that encourages you to improve your leadership skills, especially if you have only been in a PMO leadership role for a short time.
2. Make Productivity Improvements
Who doesn’t want to do their job more effectively? Year on year PMO leaders can be looking for productivity improvements.
These might come from additional tools, improved training in the use of those tools, streamlining processes or upskilling the staff in the PMO.
Improvements like these are aimed at improving the capability of the PMO. When you’ve got higher levels of productivity and better capability in the team, you can…
3. Take On New Services
What new services is your PMO going to offer this year? Maybe project audits. Or benefits tracking and realization.
Every year you should be looking at building out the services you offer to your internal customers. It’s preferable to ask them what they want you to be adding in next so that you don’t spend a lot of time working on implementing services that there isn’t much desire for. You can do that through a simple survey or just by asking your key stakeholders – bear in mind that they might need to pick from a list if they aren’t totally aware of the things that you could offer them.
Once you know what would serve your community best, put it in your objectives and move forward with getting it implemented. Remember to close the loop and provide feedback to the people who asked for it, so they know the new service is now live.
Because implementing new services is often managed as a project, these make very clear and measurable objectives. They are also perfect for cascading to the right member of your department because they are often straightforward to delegate, giving you an objective for one of your team as well.
4. Increase Maturity Levels
Increasing the maturity of your PMO means doing things in a more systematic, repeatable way. It’s about improving the way the PMO works to make sure you are adding real value to the organization and that you know how that is happening.
The results from your PMO health check are a simple place to start to look for ways that you can improve the maturity of the PMO. The output of a health check is an actionable report: pick some of the areas identified in this to make into one of your annual objectives.
Depending on the content of that report, you might be able to turn it into several objectives by grouping common themes. Again, these are objectives that cascade well to your team. Break down the parts that are most relevant to them and include them in your departmental objectives.
5. Strengthen Business Relationships
This is something that should always be a focus for the PMO leader and it’s worth calling out as a specific objective for the year.
Working with your peers and colleagues at all levels of the business is important to build credibility in the PMO, solve problems and gain consensus. It’s also a core foundation for better negotiating and conflict resolution – because you know you’re going to need those skills at some point this year.
By making stakeholder engagement a particular and specific objective, it encourages you to find the time in your schedule to actually do it. In turn, that should help you be better placed to identify and anticipate the needs of your business stakeholders.
Setting your objectives is straightforward: delivering on them is less so. Do these 5 form part of your annual objectives? If not, you’ve still got time to adjust your objectives and show some progress against them. You can schedule time in your calendar regularly to track and update your progress and that will also give you a reminder to do something to move them on.
When it comes to the time to review your objectives, you’ll be able to say that what was set was meaningful and that you have done what you can to achieve them.