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We Make It BetterWe have all noticed that whenever Apple puts their logo on a new product, people line-up to get it.  Customers assume it will be good – that it will be of high-quality – it is something that they need.

The really crazy part is that they assume all of those things, before they even know many details about the product.  If it is an Apple product, people expect they will like it.

Well guess what…

People in your organization don’t feel the same way about your EPMO.  People really don’t care about your EPMO.  In fact, if your EPMO was a person, it would be going to the high-school dance alone.

The Problem…

There are a number of possible reasons for that, including:

  1. Your EPMO doesn’t live-up to exceptional standards
  2. Your individual team members aren’t committed to exceptional standards
  3. Your customers don’t see EPMO results as being anything more than ordinary
  4. You haven’t helped your team be exceptional

I assume that you do have standards for your EPMO.  By that I mean that I assume there is a process to be followed, templates to be used, defined deliverables to be produced.  Those are the basics of an EPMO, so surely you already have those.

In many organizations, there are frequently people outside of the EPMO that call themselves a Project Manager – or at least there are people outside of the EPMO leading projects – think that might be confusing to your customers?

Do they know when the sucky job someone that is not part of the EPMO is doing – that that person is not part of your organization?

Similarly, do they know when they are dealing with the EPMO?

Can they tell the difference?  I hope so.  If your EPMO isn’t delivering better than anyone else in your organization, then why does your organization need an EPMO anyway?

And if they don’t need an EPMO, they don’t need you.

So what can you do about it?

The answer…

The Apple brand.

Well, not the actual Apple brand, but the idea of the brand.  That’s your answer.  People know what Apple stands for – excellent products.

Nobody knows what your EPMO stands for.  You know why?

You never told them.

You need a brand.  Your EPMO should be a brand.

If your EPMO isn’t delivering better than anyone else in your organization, then why does your organization need an EPMO anyway?  And if they don’t need an EPMO, they don’t need you.

Why you need one…

Making your EPMO a brand does two things:

  1. It tells your customers that when they see your logo, they should have high expectations
  2. It tells your team that as part of the EPMO, they are held to high expectations

High expectations.  Just like what people think about Apple.

You need people in your organization saying, “Wow, when we work with the EPMO, they really get things done” and, “Every time we work with the EPMO they deliver consistently outstanding results.”

A brand can help you get those kind of comments.

What it looks like…

To establish your brand, do four things:

  1. Design a logo
  2. Define what your expectations are for the EPMO team
  3. Develop a tag line for the EPMO
  4. Tell your customers about your brand

Now a bit more about each of these four things:

  1. Logo – follow your organization’s marketing/branding rules and create a logo that clearly lets others know that this is the EPMO logo.

Once you have the logo, put it on everything that your team does.  Put it on your email signature line, put it on all of your project templates, put it on all of the presentations you make, etc.  Just like any company would do, you need to do for yourself – get your EPMO name out there.

  1. Expectations – Whenever your logo is on something, that tells everyone in your organization that they should have high expectations, because this is something produced by the EPMO. It also tells your team that if it has the EPMO name on it, it has to be done well.

Your EPMO wants to be successful.  They want to be part of something great.  Help them understand that whenever they put the EPMO logo on something, it has to be high quality.

Having a logo helps everyone in the EPMO feel a commitment to upholding the brand for the team.  The entire team is in on this together.

3.  Tag line – How do you quickly tell your customers what it means to work with the EPMO? A great way to communicate that is through a tag line.  A few words you can add to presentations and into your elevator speech.

For example, the tag line at my EPMO says, “We make things better.”  Who doesn’t want things to be better?  And if we are known for making things better, then we will be very popular within our organization.

  1. Tell your customers – Don’t keep your brand a secret. Meet with leaders throughout your organization and tell them about your EPMO.  Tell them about your high expectations for everything that the EPMO produces.  Tell them your tag line.  Show them your logo.

If a project doesn’t have the EPMO logo on it, they need to know it isn’t coming from your team.  They should always want to see the EPMO involved.  Make it easy for them to know.  Use your logo.

Your EPMO has to mean excellence.  You have to stand behind your work.  You have to be proud of your work.  Your customers should have high expectations for your team – your team should have high expectations for themselves.  A brand helps with all of these things.  It doesn’t make all of these things magically happen, but it is an important piece of being a successful EPMO.

So go out and do it.  Make things better.