6 Tips to Improve Your PMO Staff Performance
As a manager, one way to improve your PMO staff performance is to avoid micromanaging. If you micromanage, your PMO team will believe you have little or no faith in their abilities. This can be detrimental to your teams motivation and performance. To improve your PMO staff performance you should create small teams, provide adequate training, delegate tasks as well as decisions and ultimately look to empower them.
1 Small Teams
If your PMO office has large teams, one thing you can do is to divide them into smaller teams. The optimum number in a team is between 4-8 people. Small teams will work faster as there is less bureaucracy. For example, meetings – managing to schedule everyone into a meeting and then participation in them. Participants in smaller meetings are less likely to ‘go with the flow’ and more likely to voice their individual ideas. This will make them feel more involved the process, and participation will lead to them feeling more engaged.
Small teams, develop close relationships and everyone will be aware of everyone’s strengths as well as their weaknesses. Trust among team members will increase so that there is less fear of failure. Small teams offer greater flexibility in both scheduling and idea based changes and will increase productivity.
Small teams will quickly identify areas of weakness within their group and will strive to rectify the situation. This may be in the form of buddying, mentoring and coaching a member of the team up to speed. The close proximity and skill set of the team will recognize whether further training is required. Remember your PMO team is best placed to identify whether a new process or software requires further training. Training can take place in many different varieties which will suit individual or group needs:
- Buddying or shadowing a colleague for a period of time, bringing them up to speed on a process.
- Formal training in a classroom setting.
- Group training where a trainer is brought in to offer training at the convenience of the PMO.
- Online training. This can be arranged within the working day or off site and all at the employee’s schedule and convenience.
3 Delegation of Tasks as Well as Decisions
Task delegation should be natural with an energized PMO team. They are perfectly placed to decide which projects should take priority and task the implementation of projects. Decision making can begin with a gradual approach, by implementing the following steps:
- The PMO decide on what the course of action should be within a certain time-frame. They notify the manager who informs them to proceed with their plan unless they hear from him in the next 24 hours. If they haven’t heard anything, they are cleared to proceed.
- Making the decision retrospective, the manager asks the PMO team to tell him what they did after the action has already been taken.
- Full delegation – this is where a manager doesn’t even want to know what decision was made or why because they now fully trust the competency of the PMO team they delegated the task/ decision to. At this level, the manager might say to the team ‘take care of it with your own approach and I don’t need to know what you did.’
4 Take a Step Back
If your PMO has reached ‘full delegation’ of tasks then it is time to take a back seat. Remove yourself from the PMO and let them do their jobs. Often managers find this step difficult because they are giving up their authority.
However, remember your PMO team are the anchor in project portfolio execution and have the capability to meet their goals, milestones, quality and benefits. They know what they are doing so put your trust in them. Managers do continue to be the most powerful influence on employee’s engagement levels, so find out their meeting schedules and make occasional impromptu entrances. Your appearance will boost morale and show that you have an interest in on going as well as future projects encompassed by the PMO team.
5 Praise Where Praise is Due
If your team has done a great job achieving above expectations on a project, let them know. A personal message from you as the manager will go a long way. It will be remembered by the team when they are facing difficult decisions on their next project. If you receive notification from a customer or shareholder praising the work of an employee within the team spread the word and congratulate them. If work is exceptional with outstanding results on a project let the PMO show off. You can arrange for the PMO team to present the results of a project to senior managers.
6 Staff Empowerment
Empowerment can be viewed as a buzzword where managers play lip service to another ‘fad’ without taking any substantive action to implement it properly. However empowered organizations provide people with the ways to question and become involved in changing the status quo for the better.
Full empowerment not only allows the PMO team to run their department, freely making decisions about procedures and processes but also allows them to schedule their working hours. By recognizing a work/life balance and allowing the team to schedule flexible working hours, a proper balance between work and personal life will ensue. This can be seen as essential for keeping the PMO team engaged and motivated. Empowerment offers the team the opportunity to provide input and have a true sense of purpose with clear expectations.
By allowing your PMO team to make the breakthrough in the delegation of tasks and make their own decisions you will be heading towards empowerment. Small personal teams will build relationships to the point where employees can almost second guess what action needs to be taken by a colleague.
Recognition of their own shortfalls in training and taking corrective actions will lead to an increase in motivation. Full empowerment of your PMO will not be achieved overnight but over a timely period. There may still be some performance issues that need to be addressed by you as the manager. Your decisions may not always be popular but they are ultimately in the best interest of the team, and the PMO will recognize these in the long run.
Empowered employees develop a greater sense of “ownership” for their jobs. They also feel a stronger connection to and responsibility for their company as a whole. Why? Because they know from experience that they matter and that they can have an impact. Companies that embrace the strategy of empowering their employees will improve their PMO staff performance and will ultimately be more successful.