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This wayAsk everyone in your EPMO where the EPMO is headed, and you likely will get a different answer from each person.  Ask everyone how they know if the EPMO is getting better, and they likely will struggle for an answer.  Ask them what the EPMO wants to be in the future, and they probably assume it will pretty much be like it is now.

So let’s review…

There is no agreement on where your EPMO is headed, you have no idea if the EPMO is getting better, and you don’t have any view of what the EPMO should be in the future.

Not a pretty picture, is it?  Actually kind of ugly, don’t you think?

You know why your picture is ugly?

Because your EPMO doesn’t have a clear vision of the future.

What You’ll Need to Fix This

To solve this problem, you need five things:

  1. Involvement of the entire EPMO in development of the answer
  2. A detailed vision statement
  3. Goals to determine if you are accomplishing your vision
  4. Targets for each goal
  5. A way to measure each goal

In today’s post, we will cover the first two items from the list above.  The other three will be addressed in a future post.

Note that the info below is a specific process on how to accomplish this.  If you are interested in the details on how to create a clear vision for your team, read on…

How to Do It

  1. Involvement of the entire EPMO in development of the answer

To be successful with this, the entire EPMO has to develop the answer.  The leader of the EPMO cannot just do this and tell the rest of the team what it is.

Through the process of creating the five items listed above, the team joins-in on the idea of what the EPMO can be, they agree on the targets for what they can do together, and they begin to believe that as a team they can achieve the vision.

So everyone in the EPMO has to be involved in this.  If you fail to accomplish #1, you will always fall well short of what you could have achieved.

If you fail to involve the entire EPMO in the development of the vision statement, you will always fall well short of what you could have achieved.

  1. A detailed vision statement

You can begin to draft your vision statement in a 90-minute working session with the entire EPMO.  In that session, do these things:

  • Share guidelines of good vision statements. Then review and discuss examples of vision statements.  What does the team like and what don’t they like about the examples?
  • Break the team into two groups. Give each group a flip-chart and have them write down their answers to this question:
    • “It is 5 years from today, and it is widely accepted throughout the enterprise that our EPMO has been extremely successful. Describe what it looks like.  What is happening that makes the EPMO so successful?”
    • After 15 minutes have each team present their answers.
    • Compare and contrast where the two teams are the same and where they are different.
    • Discuss together the items on both lists that are the most important. Come up with 4 – 6 that are the most significant for the EPMO to be successful.
  • Have the two teams break-out again, and give the teams 20 minutes to write a vision statement, incorporating the 4 – 6 items identified above.
    • After the 20 minutes, have each team present what they have written.
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between the two different statements (Note: You will be surprised how similar the two statements are!).
  • Finally, get one volunteer from each of the two teams. Ask the two volunteers to get together over the next few days, and write one vision statement that incorporates the ideas of both teams.

At your next EPMO team meeting, spend some time reviewing the statement that the two volunteers developed.  With some discussion (and possibly some minor tweaking) the team should easily be able to agree on the final version.

Once the final version is written, get one more volunteer (it can be the EPMO leader) to take each phrase of the vision, and write a sentence explaining what each phrase means.  Since the entire team has been working together on this vision statement, and everyone knows why certain phrases were selected, anyone on the team should be able to create a good first draft of this.

Within a few days, the volunteer should have their sentences written.  Email the sentences to the entire EPMO team for review.  Then at the next EPMO team meeting, go through the statements together and finalize them.

Don’t skip writing the detailed statements that further define the vision statement.  Without these, the EPMO, and anyone else that sees your vision statement may interpret the vision differently than what you intend.  Defining each phrase in the vision statement clarifies the meaning and ensures alignment.  It also helps, over time, to remind the EPMO team of the details of what the vision statement means.

Note that you completed all of this work with just one 90-minute session, and parts of two of your EPMO team meetings.  Pretty amazing what you can do when you try, isn’t it?

What You Get

To illustrate what this looks like when you have completed the steps above, here is what my EPMO came-up with:

Vision Statement:

“The Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) strives to accomplish the goals of our customers by delivering projects and change through our unbiased, collaborative and innovative deeds.”

Key Point Descriptions:

  • “Accomplish the goals of our customers” means that we are focused on our customers and committed to assisting in their ultimate success.
  • “Delivering projects and change” means that we are driven to complete important work that positively impacts our customers and the University.
  • “Unbiased” means that we are a neutral team – our only agenda is finding the best solution for all.
  • “Collaborative” means that we lead and facilitate work across multiple groups to ensure that all parties are heard, valued, and work together effectively.
  • “Innovative” means that we help find answers when they are not apparent – that we promote new and original ideas to benefit our customers.
  • “Deeds” means action, completed work and on occasion, some great feats!

What your team comes up with doesn’t have to look like what our team developed, but it should have a clear vision statement, descriptions of each key point in the vision, and involve the entire team in developing the vision.

Conclusion

If your team doesn’t have a clear vision of where they are headed, and if they don’t have the same idea of what is important, the impact your team will have on the enterprise is limited.    If you desire to have a significant impact, you need the entire EPMO pulling in the same direction.  A clear and agreed upon vision is a great start!

Once you have the vision defined, then you can move on to the next three things you need:

  • Goals to determine if you are accomplishing your vision
  • Targets for each goal
  • A way to measure each goal

More on those three things in a future post.

In the meantime, get started on your vision now.  Involve the entire team.  Have discussion.  Think together.  Plan together.

This is easier, and much more fun than you might think.  You’ll be surprised by the results.

But you’ll never know until you start.  So get started now.

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