The Fish That Got Away

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.  ~John Buchan

Probably the biggest challenge associated with launching and maintaining a successful PMO is having the fortitude and spirit to keep on fishing.  PMO’s must evolve to survive.   PMO’s must also have continuous executive support to thrive.  Yet, for some PMO leaders, gaining executive support is like the fish that got away – they nibble on the bait, only to jump off the line while being reeled in.

Some people who fish believe the Number One way to insure more fishing success is to go fishing more often.  The more you go fishing, the more you’ll learn about fish and their habits, and that will make you a better angler.  Spend time with your executive sponsor to establish yourself at the executive table.  Share your business plan, your vision, and your implementation schedule.  Present examples of what a PMO can accomplish; the possibilities are endless.

You must leverage your relationship with your strongest supporters – the believers – to gain acceptance from your entire executive team.  Ideally, all executives must believe in the value of project management before you can introduce it to the organization as a whole.  As the very least, you must garner senior executive support while introducing project management to the entire organization.   Identify your allies first, establish a relationship with them, and rely on them to help spread the word.  Market your PMO; convince your executive stakeholders of the value of project management.

Is your PMO no longer attracting fish?  Be sure to experiment more this year; the best time to experiment is when what you’re doing isn’t working.  If something isn’t working, why stick with it?  Go to your tackle box; try a different color, size, speed, or technique until you discover that the fish want.  Got a few nibbles?    Another time to experiment is when the fish are running; identify what’s working really well in the PMO, try a different color, size, speed or technique to see if you can find something that appeals to ever more or bigger fish.

When open-watering fishing, it’s important to pay attention to your sonar; it’s easier to keep your bait in productive water.  With sonar, it’s easier to determine which areas are holding fish, and those areas are where we should concentrate our efforts.  Test the PMO waters by launching a stakeholder survey; use your tracking devises to identify the next round of PMO evolution to reap the greatest catch.

When fishing season arrives, if you keep these ideas in mind, you’ll catch more fish and enjoy your time on the water – and that’s why we go fishing.

Lisa DiTullio, Your Project


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