Archive For March 25, 2014

How to make your PMO CV more interesting – PMO CV Tips

I am often approached by PMO professionals who want to make their CV more appealing to recruiting managers, as they feel their roles are the same from company to company (or assignment to assignment). It is easy to fall into the trap of being repetitive or trying to rephrase the same information over and over – but this rarely adds value to the CV and makes for a boring read to others. The trick is to really think about each role and draw out the core areas relevant to the assignment, in reality, there is always a difference in these roles whether it be with process or people. But addressing the core areas pertinent to the role in question will not only make for a more interesting read, it also helps you ensure you are talking through core competencies and situations recognised in the PMO field which should ensure you are getting “ticks in the boxes” of the recruitment wish list and ultimately being put into shortlists for the roles you are applying for.

painting a picture

A key starting point would be to list all the core areas relevant to your role within the PMO and then match up specific areas to roles, that way you are not leaving out any required pieces but you are also then beginning to split out some interesting pieces of information which will provide a flow through the CV and paint a strong picture of how you work and your understanding of supporting projects / programmes / portfolios of work.

Think about how you fit into a PMO, do you create templates and provide consultancy work to PMs and PgMs, have you established project capability to an organisation, are you analysing key strategic data business-wide? As the PMO is a complex field, it pays to really address what your specialism is and spell it out to recruiters who might not necessarily know what a PMO is (never mind the roles within them).

 

 

I have applied for 10 jobs and not heard anything – PM CV Tips Q&A

Dear Nicola, I have been in the same role for 5 years (a Project Coordinator) within Central Government with a lot of experience in supporting hardware and software roll outs. I am due to be made redundant next month and so I have updated my CV and applied for 10 positions but not heard anything back. Can you tell me where I am going wrong please? John, Project Coordinator, London.

 

Hi John, many thanks for getting in touch. Firstly let me start by asking if the roles you have applied for are similar to the one you are currently doing? As it is common for PM professionals to apply for anything with PM job titles without reading the job description/advert properly. As you’ll probably be aware, job titles can be very misleading so it is important to read through each role before applying for it. Ensure you can meet at least 90% of what they are asking for, employers are very cautious on the skill set they will want on board the team and in a time where training has been cut they will want a close match to their requirements so you can slip into the role with minimal handholding. Once you start to look at all the roles out there, and there are quite a lot, you will start to recognise the ones you should be applying for and avoiding ones which aren’t going to gain a response.

The next step is to look at your CV, as I have reviewed your CV I can see you have gone into a great deal of detail around the core competencies used throughout the project lifecycle, however these do look a little bland in that there is no context so we have no clear idea of the size of projects you support or indeed the number of PMs you support. There is also a vague overview of the technologies you have been supporting the delivery of – something which can be very transferable into your next role. Your CV comes across very process driven, which is fine but there is little detail about engaging with stakeholders, PMs etc. which gives the impression that you may prefer to be hidden in project documentation. Not ideal when a Coordinator is usually the central point of contact on projects for the business.

The writing is on the board

The other issue may be that you are applying for private sector roles, and there is a prejudice with some employers that public sector staff will not transition well into a commercial environment. I believe that support roles are fully transferable; however you need to convince employers of this. By talking through the projects/technologies themselves and any exposure to dealing with 3rd party suppliers/stakeholders external to the council, you will assist the hiring manager in matching up your knowledge and abilities in supporting the delivery in such projects. By taking all the above advice and revising your CV you will have a stronger chance of securing interviews moving forward.

Doing Agile Project Management With Scrum

“What does the game of rugby and modern management techniques have in common?” one may ask! If you are into ‘Agile Project Management’ and use ‘Scrum,’ you already know the answer. It is interesting to see, how rugby has inspired one of the most time-effective and cost-efficient management techniques of the day. Agile Project Management, is a specialized area of project management. Here, the resources and budgets are fixed variables; however, it is a more open ended approach compared to regular project management. It enables managers to optimally utilize resources and create products and services, which meet customer requirements, more satisfactorily and profitably.

A Brief History

First conceptualized in 1986, by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka, Agile Project Management, is based on the approach rugby players’ use. Just like rugby players constantly assess and reassess situations, altering their strategies and responses at different points of time during a game, to score against the opponent team; likewise, managers through this highly collaborative method – use repetitive deliveries and customer feedback at different stages of a project, to reassess and rework on ‘a product or service being developed.’ The process is repeated until the product is improved, refined and becomes completely market ready.

‘Scrum,’ a software development framework, is used in Agile Project Management, to manage projects where software related products or applications are being designed. It allows the formation of self-organizing teams by enabling co-location of all team members, and promotes verbal communication across team members and disciplines in a project. The term ‘Scrum’ again owes its origin to the game of rugby, in which, it is the shorter version of the word –‘scrummage;’ and refers to the manner of restarting play in rugby football. It is popular especially in the IT industry, where the nature of projects or ‘products being developed’ – is comparatively newer, more innovative and highly complex. Since these are too difficult to comprehend before being tested out, they are allowed to evolve gradually.

Scrum Terminologies

There exists in Agile Project Management, an interdependence of a sequence of activities, where one set of activities is affected by the other. The final product is the outcome of a series of repetitive deliveries with short deadlines. Delivery cycles are referred to in ‘Scrum’ lingo, as ‘sprints’ and each ‘sprint’ varies from a week to a month, though usually a fortnight is its normal duration. “…reviewing each sprint before moving to the next means that testing is conducted throughout the process, which allows teams to change the scope or direction of the project at any point,” states Daria Kelly Uhlig, emphasizing on the advantage of using this technique.

Peculiar as it sounds, the different levels of project stakeholders in Agile Project Management using Scrum, are referred to as –‘pigs’ and ‘chickens!’ Here ‘pigs’ represent the ‘Scrum team’ who perform core functions like producing the product. The Scrum team generally has a Product Owner, a Development team and a Scrum Master. On the other hand ‘chickens’ represent the ‘Supplementary team,’ whose roles are not that important but are never the less, necessary.

The usage of both these terms is derived from ‘The Chicken and the Pig’ fable, in which different levels of commitment are shown, through the examples of a pig and a chicken. “When producing a dish made of ham and eggs, the pig provides the ham which requires his sacrifice and the chicken provides the eggs which are not difficult to produce. Thus the pig is really committed in that dish while the chicken is only involved, yet both are needed to produce the dish,” the Wikipedia page on the story, notes.

Agile Project Management with Scrum, is a more flexible approach to project management. It uses open, instant and regular communication and focuses on greater team involvement and client participation. Here, having a knack for problem solving, negotiation and communication is necessary and precedence is given to common sense over written policy. “Scrum is designed to optimize team satisfaction and productivity, product quality, responsiveness to customers, and transparency for stakeholders. The key practices that enable these benefits include de-emphasizing work on non-deliverable items, implementing and finishing each Story in a Sprint Backlog in rank order, working in short Sprints of 2-4 weeks, and making past, present, and future project information available to all stakeholders,” concludes Kevin Thompson on cPrime.com.  

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This article was written by Hugh Swift a management expert and corporate trainer, who conducts workshops on Agile Project Management.