Saturday, July 25, 2015

How does a PM in a PSO/PMO get the right people for the project?

“Mr. Program Manager of the Project Management Office/Professional Service Organization (PMO/PSO), I think for the new project that you have made me Project Manager (PM), Jane would be the best Business Analyst and Jack would be the best Technical Analyst (TA). NO? Why not”?

If this conversation sounds familiar, you are not alone. We PMs love to get the best resources for our projects because we want every edge we can muster to be successful. This especially includes getting (or begging for) the resources you are most comfortable with. I know I ask for the same resources for similar projects I am receiving as a PM. I know what they deliver and their “modus operandi” or MO. So, if I am comfortable with these resources, or even if I may have some issues with them, but know they would be successful on the new project I just received, I ask for them.  So how does a PM, with good intentions, make a request for a resource to his management team?

The Ask
So the first piece of advice I would suggest to any PM is to be on the resource managers’ best side. Some would suggest that this is a** kissing. Well, I am not sure what YOU would call it, but I call it sales. Yes, we are ALL in sales, whether you like it or not. The sooner you come to accept that truth, the better for you.  You have to know that manager and what that manager likes and especially what that manager dislikes. Also, you have to be able to prove that your request is not only in the best interest of your new project, but in the best interest of the Project Management Office/Professional Service Organization (PMO/PSO). To do that, you need to understand the new project by reading the Statement of Work (SOW) and using the deliverables in the SOW to your advantage in attaining the resources you desire. Now, here is my caution: Do NOT do this for every single project. Remember Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried wolf? This is why I suggest that you read the SOW before you request resources.

The Give
What do I mean by the give? Well, that resource manager you are requesting resources from may require you to give a resource from another of your projects, even if for a short time. When this request is in front of you, do not reject it out of hand. I suggest (in the strongest terms) that you go back and review the schedule for the other project. See where that resource may not be needed and begin the negotiations like so: Resource manager, I can release Joe the TA on my other project for three weeks between this day and that day. I do need Joe back, or the other project may go yellow or red if Joe is delayed for longer than that.
You see what I am suggesting here? You don’t want to come across as a taker ALL of the time. If that is the perception the resource manager has of you, then you will soon become unsuccessful in attaining the resources you request.


As part of a PMO/PSO, you will be having resources taken from you and you will request specific resources for your projects. You need to be seen as a PM who is reasonable and can be negotiated with. If that happens, you can be successful in attaining the most important resources for your most important projects. 

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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