Archive For November 28, 2013

How to put together a winning CV – PMO CV Tips

PMOs play an integral role in most organisations which have a number projects and programmes being delivered across the business. There are many types of PMO such a Programme Offices, Project Offices, Centre of Excellence and Portfolio Offices. Taking this into consideration and the subtleties within each, it can make for a much more interesting CV which can really pique the interest of recruiters and employers and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the field.

When putting together a CV we need to address some of the key criteria for a PMO professional:

Type of PMO:

  • Supportive: Providing on-demand expertise, templates, best practice, access to information etc.
  • Controlling: An environment where tighter regulation is required so there is usually the use of specific methods, templates, governance and forms etc with the likelihood of regular reviews by the PMO.
  • Directive PMO: Taking a step further than the controlling PMO and actually taking over projects by the provision of PM experience and resources to manage the projects.

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Size of PMO

  • Stand alone (1 person)
  • Team PMO (>1person)
  • Types of programmes / projects being supported?
  • How many programme / project managers feed into the PMO?

Once we have established the type of PMO and talked through the volume and types of projects and programmes, it is time to address what your involvement is. Firstly is the PMO something you have set up or reengineered or already in place? Then we want to know your role, are you managing it, an analyst, coordinator, consultant etc. Then run through the core competencies involved – what do you do on a daily basis? From this you will also be able to pull out some key achievements such as impact on project capability.

 

The PMO as you know is all about communication and how you apply that to the task in hand, there are many elements that go into this and all organisations are different. Some organisations employ business managers to manage projects and these types of PMs generally require a great deal of hand holding, think about coaching, training, workshops etc which you may have facilitated. Include this information into your CV along with the above to give the reviewer a holistic view of the role and what it actually means within your business.

How Do Corporate Mentoring Schemes Benefit Business?

Mentoring is an increasingly popular way of helping new employees settle in to a new position or a new company.

When new members of staff join a company, they can really appreciate having a mentor on hand to guide them and advise them about their role, the company and career progression. Being able to mentor a new colleague also has reciprocal benefits for mentors – it can be really fulfilling being able to share skills and experience with someone who is keen to learn more. Professionally, it benefits all concerned.

When IT firm Sun Microsystems looked at the career progression of around 1,000 employees over a period of five years, they found that mentoring appeared to be an excellent career choice:

  • People who had been involved in a mentoring programme, either as a mentor or mentee, were 20% more likely to have been awarded a pay rise in the period studied.
  • Mentees were five times more likely to have been promoted than employees who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors did even better; they were six times more likely to have been promoted than those not involved in a mentoring programme.

A good mentor will able to provide guidance for their mentee in the skills that are necessary for their particular area of work, and introduce them to the right contacts, resources and professional groups that will help them in their role. They offer practical help and support, and in some cases can become a trusted ally, being a good source of advice for any problems that might crop up during the mentoring period and beyond.

So, what are the benefits for a mentor?

A chance to develop leadership skills:  One of the key strengths of a good leader is an ability to inspire others, and through mentoring an experienced staff member can provide inspiration for new employees. Mentoring junior and inexperienced staff can boost a mentor’s existing leadership abilities and also helps to provide an opportunity to develop these skills in a way that benefits all concerned.

Improves the mentor’s own performance: A mentor survey carried out by Durham University in 2009, found that mentors believed the greatest benefit of mentoring others was that it gave them an opportunity to reflect on their own working practices.  Explaining systems to other people can often reveal easier or more effective ways of carrying out key tasks. Having to explain the way that a company or organisation works to a complete newcomer can also help the mentor to gain a better understanding of it, which in turn can help them to improve on their own knowledge.

Helps to develop new skills: Being a mentor helps develop essential career related skills such as coaching, how to give (and to receive) feedback, and it also gives mentors an opportunity to share their own best practice, a skill that can be underdeveloped in some employees.  One of the most important skills that can be boosted by a mentoring relationship is interpersonal skills; not only through the mentor-mentee relationship but also through the mentor making new contacts within the organisation, finding the right person to go to, and introducing the mentee to key personnel.

Job Satisfaction: There’s no denying that being able to guide another person through their career development, and being the ‘go-to’ person for somebody, can provide mentors with a great deal of job satisfaction. Jaded or uninspired staff members can find that their enthusiasm for their old role perks up no end when they are tasked with showing a new person the ropes, along with their sense of responsibility.

Personal Confidence: To be asked to mentor another person involves knowing a great deal about your own role, and assumes a certain level of competence, not just in the role, but in the individual’s interpersonal skills and commitment to the job. It can build up flagging confidence levels when an employee is asked to take on responsibility for another colleague’s introduction to the company, and improve their confidence levels through knowing that their employer trusts them to be able to carry out the mentoring process effectively.

Develops professional relationships:  Being part of a recognised mentoring programme can make the mentor more visible within the company, enhancing peer recognition. The fact that the mentor has made the effort to become more involved in the organisation by being part of a mentoring scheme reflects well on them, and can help to improve their reputation.

Unlike traditional training programs mentoring programs are a cost-effective, time-effective and beneficial way to get new employees up to speed on their new role, and keep existing employees engaged in theirs.

Featured images:

Written by Michael Palmer, an Oxford based business graduate. He writes about people management and setting objectives for Cezanne HR.

Why Private Equity needs good change management support?

Undoubtedly strategic change management has a major role in corporate transactions and restructurings. Many deals are either unsuccessful or do not deliver the full value expected when people and organisational change impacts are ignored or poorly planned for. This directly results in loss of revenue and delays in realising the value of the deal or restructuring initiative.

There is a big focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related and nowadays Private Equity firms are investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders.
Collective behavioural patterns determine how work gets done in an organisation and that in turn relates directly to performance, motivation and the ability to cope with internal and external change. Ignoring these important factors is a major strategic risk for PE firms and can ultimately affect the realisation of value from any deal. Ignoring or poorly managing organisational change can easily result in:

  • Poor employee engagement, motivation and ultimately performance;
  • Serious resistance to change and low levels of morale across the organisation;
  • Ambiguity around the organisation’s value system and beliefs, which lead to disillusionment amongst stakeholders;
  • ‘Jumping ship’ and loss of key talent and senior leadership;
  • Poor business transformation and change planning resulting in the slow execution of the transaction or restructuring initiative.

Vital to countering these strategic risks is the effective visioning, planning and execution of business change. The process requires effective management of corporate messaging, people and cultural / behavioural change. It is most critical for the workforce to be aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation and customer needs. Organisations that focus time and resources on doing this effectively have ultimately had higher levels of transaction success in the past.

In conclusion, the key areas that require the most attention during the transaction lifecycle (from a business change perspective), are:

  • Identifying the behaviour sets that will lead to a successful integration or restructuring exercise;
  • Determining the strategic drivers that will help to reinforce these behaviours in the future and implementing them successfully during the transition phase;
  • Understanding the organisational cultural differences and similarities and working with key parties to ensure these factors do not hinder the transaction process. Understanding this clearly will enable the creation of a shared / common vision for success;
  • Ensuring the change management strategy is being tracked and resulting issues being dealt with promptly via a well-defined change agent network.

Having structured change management plans in place will provide the levels of confidence in dealing with organisational change successfully and lead to a more successful transaction for investors in the medium to long term. It will provide the basis for realising deal value more quickly!

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.

Rainy days in projects – Project Manager CV Tips

Inspired by the never ending rain at the moment I have decided to share a really interesting piece of work a client has worked on and it ties nicely into PM CV tips, as it is a great example to talk about on the CV. I have spoken about how important it is to include project war stories in the CV as it adds another dimension to the document and really helps to demonstrate your management style. War stories are the bits about the projects which are often left out of the CV but they are important in demonstrating how you overcome major issues when delivering projects.

The story….

Sarah* is an Interim Project Manager who was tasked with implementing a data centre and quick reference application on all products for a large organisation. On arrival to the new assignment she found that the stakeholders were less than receptive to the change and being particularly difficult when it came to sharing information which they “held close to their hearts”.  It was these stakeholders who were the key to all the product information and as they had always held their own information in pocket books, they felt the information belonged to them and not the business. Sarah worked very closely with the stakeholders to gain buy-in through a number of means, such as one to one meetings and group workshops. She had to sell the change in a way which didn’t threaten the team but demonstrated just how useful it would be moving forward. Forming individual relationships and finding out personal “likes” etc Sarah managed to crack the core issue and was able to deliver a robust application which all the stakeholders finally agreed would be an asset and essential tool to cataloguing products.

You like coffee, yes

Now it would be easy to state in the CV that Sarah delivered on time and to budget blah blah blah, but knowing the issues she came up against and how she overcame them says a great deal to the reviewer of the CV. Therefore some subtle changes to the remit talking through difficult stakeholders and gaining buy-in, coupled with a strong, concise key achievement highlighted at the top of the CV, really brings so much more to the document.

As a former project manager, I know only too well that delivering projects isn’t always straight forward and it is the people skills and management style which can make the difference between a successful project and another statistic for a failure. When you are putting together your CV, always pause to think about the extra mile you go to achieve success.

 

*name changed for the purpose of the blog