Sabotage The PMO

Sabotage the PMO…with Historical Record Changes

“I’m not saying for certain that they would pass the Sociopath Test.  I’m just saying I don’t think they’d fail it.”

“You’re going to get in trouble if they hear you talking about them like this,” my grinning boss told me.

“What would they do about it?” I challenged.

“Complain to HR?” he offered.

“The H stands for Human.  They’d have to go to IT and moan that I’d upset their emotion chip or something.”

It was a pretty immature conversation, I admit.  But it was helping with the bonding experience between two colleagues that had only recently met. An important element of relationship building is finding something that we have in common, and if there was one thing I could count on it was that everybody hates Central PMO.  The best part is CPMO never gets to find out.  It’s possible to loudly express your dislike within any open plan office, because everybody knows that CPMOers can never be found around people.  I know that it takes all sorts of people to make a business work, and I have nothing against any of the personality types that make up the Myers-Briggs profiles.  But when groups of the same personality type gather together in a single department and gain a position of influence, that can only cause trouble.  And so it is with the robot brains at CPMO.  I have no doubt in my mind that they are all very talented in the process related areas of project management, but what they possess with those gifts they lack in the ability to communicate or empathise with their human counterparts.

Once again, CPMO were causing havoc.  This time by insisting that everybody complies with the new file naming convention that had been introduced with the new change framework that inevitably appeared with the appointment of the new Head of CPMO.  Compliance was going to be a problem.  For one thing, none to the geniuses in CPMO had noticed that the multiple nested folders added to the already very long drive names was going to cause filenames and their full file path names to exceed 260 characters, which would prevent many of the files from opening (to be honest, despite having a computer science degree even I didn’t realise this would happen.)

The main problem was going to be the historical element.  They wanted to apply the filename change retrospectively to the last 3 years worth of projects and programmes.  Every. Single. File.  The argument was that this was to satisfy potential auditors, but the reality was that there were some poor filing practices taking place.  There was already a naming convention in place, but it hadn’t been strictly observed.  (Don’t worry, I’m not going into detail about filing of documents.  I’m saving that for a future blog when I have writers block.)  So, in order to deal with the problem of current day filing problems it was decided that 3 years worth of records would be updated.

As you can imagine, everyone in the change community was upset.  Common questions, and a few answers, were:

“Who’s going to do it?”  You are.

“Whose going to do it?” (there was a spelling problem in addition to the filing problem)

“If CPMO want it, can’t they arrange the resource to do it?”  No.

“If my project teams have to do it, that will take time.  Do I get extensions on my deadlines?” No.  Raise a CR.

“I’ll need additional resources, can I have them?”  Maybe, raise a CR.

“Who’s doing this for the historical projects that are closed?  The ones where the teams have moved on and maybe left the business?”  Errm….

“Can’t the PMO’s do it?”  We’ve already told you… “No, not CPMO, the other ones, the ones we have writing packs all day long?”  The Satellite PMO’s?  Yes, that’s who should do it.


We were told during the weekly PMO team meeting that this was to be our focus for “the next few weeks”.  And so began the four month operation to do the work whilst managing the current workload, training colleagues to use the new naming convention and carrying out compliance tests.   When we grumbled we were reminded that it was my suggestion that we can do more than just packs and minutes.  I guess I walked into that one.




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