Saturday, March 2, 2013

What should a PSO weekly meeting be like in a PMO?

A weekly meeting to set the direction and ….
No one likes to attend meetings. They are always too long and most of the time, have no agenda. However, these meetings help set the direction regarding the health of the Professional Services Organization (PSO) as well as the Project Management Office (PMO).  When running a meeting once a week, the manager must set a consistent agenda so the resources know what to expect.  First and foremost is an overview of the status of the current projects. Second is a discussion of projects that are red or are at risk of going red and what must be done so that will not happen. Third and most importantly, is a discussion of projects in the pipeline.  Let’s take these one at a time. 
What is the status of the current projects?
This portion of the meeting should not be a full blown discussion of the status of each project, but rather a brief overview of the projects that are on track.  This should be the shortest portion of the hour and should take no longer than 10 minutes, mainly because you want to focus on the projects that need help and what is in the pipeline. The status should be something like, “The project is green and on schedule as it moves into the testing phase.” Short, sweet and to the point.
This weekly update does not negate the importance of the status meeting; the status meeting involves the client and that meeting should be meaty. But the weekly status meeting this is not the audience for a lengthy status. This portion of the meeting is to keep everyone informed on which stage the projects are in and if there are any roadblocks in the future.
Which projects are red or at risk of going red?
This portion of the meeting should take no longer than 15 minutes. I say that first because the project managers in charge of the project should come prepared to state what the issue or issues are with the project. These should be stated succinctly and to the point and without the BS that may have taken/is taking the project to red. The manager needs to know:
·         What is the main reason that the project has gone red?
·         Does the client understand the problem and is the client helping to resolve the problem?
·         What is the solution to bring the project back to green?
·         What is the cost of the solution and the project going red overall?
·         Has the solution gone before change management and has it been scheduled?
The manager also wants to hear that the project manager believes that this solution will keep the project in green for the duration of the project.
What projects are in the sales pipeline?
The next part of the meeting should take about 35 minutes and may include the sales manager. What is needed from the sales manager is a rundown of those sales that are closed or at least 85% closed.  With the sale as close as 85%, a project manager may be assigned to begin the project’s initiation phase (i.e., putting the scope together and beginning the Statement of Work). This gives both sales and the PSO a heads up to what is coming up and allows them to begin the process of getting the correct communications to the prospective client.
Now, you may ask, “Why does this have to be the biggest part of the weekly meeting?” The answer is because the PSO or even the PMO cannot survive very long if all it discusses are current projects. The PSO needs fresh projects to meet their revenue and career objectives.
With this meeting set up as I have described, the PSO can grind out the project and meet their annual objectives for the organization.

I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine.You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.

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