Can You Hear Me?

Shout Who says the PMO is only responsible for communicating project status reports or headlines when projects are in trouble?  Did you ever consider the opportunities for an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) who coordinates and communicates business plan information across your organization?   How about informing staff on ALL business plan activities, so everyone has a solid understanding of what is important and how each staff member supports business plan success?For mature EPMO’s, there is the constant challenge of representing ongoing value to the organization.  In other words, once you successfully introduce project management to the enterprise and things are humming along, what next?  How about partnering with other departments to identify new opportunities as you successfully support tactical execution of the business plan: After all, this is the primary mission of all successful EPMOs.   The EPMO can drive a large part of the communication associated with the development, launch, and monitoring of business plan activities, mostly because they sit in the air-traffic controllers seat — they see and hear it all: if positioned in the right place within an organization, that is.  One way to promote communication is to introduce manager tool kits, designed to provide key messages managers can use when communicating business plan information to staff. 

A manager tool kit provides functional managers with talking points; it may include a scripted PowerPoint presentation, and tips for customizing content and delivery to staff.  A Q& A tool that assists managers with typical anticipated questions is a helpful tool in any kit.  The purpose of a manager tool kit is to provide management with important information that can be delivered across the organization is a consistent fashion, irrespective of who delivers it.  It ensures key business units will hear the same information, regardless of where they sit in the organization.  It should be written in a way that strengthens key messages, reinforcing what is important for the organization’s future success and why certain work efforts are considered priorities, i.e. the project portfolio.

Be creative when working with your internal business partners.  Work with your communications department to include business plan updates (including project milestones) in company newsletters.  Don’t have a newsletter?  Start one.  Try periodic updates through poster campaigns: what easier way to keep staff informed of important business plan/portfolio activities?  Does your Human Resources Department orient new staff when they join the company?  How about a few minutes of airtime during new employee orientation programs to introduce the role of the EPMO and to inform folks of the priority projects?

Today, it is easier than ever to offer information through multiple channels.  Recognize that everyone processes information differently.  When you understand audience differences, you can create a series of message that contain different levels of information and deliver it through a variety of channels.  The options are endless: understand what your organization needs, how staff best respond to receiving information, and then create a communications plan that supports business plan activities throughout the year.  Who says the EPMO doesn’t add value?

Lisa DiTullio


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