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How Much Friction Does Your PMO Generate?

chris kopp leadership pmo project management strategy Nov 29, 2021
How Much Friction Does Your PMO Generate?

Videos from the cockpit of the space shuttle re-entering Earth’s atmosphere are amazing! As the shuttle reduces its speed, 'kinetic friction,' the resistance created by two objects sliding against each other, generates extreme heat, intense light, and turbulence. This resistance makes for a spectacular sight-and-sound experience and is key to slowing down or stopping an object altogether.

That’s great for the space shuttle, but in the workplace, resistance is not so great. Does your PMO have departmental systems and processes in place that unwittingly generate heat and slow others down?

I began thinking about this the other day while listening to a seminar about training. The premise was that people who attend training want to transition from where they are now (from not knowing about a topic) to where they want to be after training (to knowing). If you could accomplish the same result with either an all-day, off-site class (high friction) or a two-hour online class (low friction)… which would you choose? Most would opt for the quicker transition—a low-friction course.

When people work with your PMO they are also looking to transition from one state to another, as in not having a project complete to having a project complete. This constant process of transition is why you have a job, your department exists, or even why your company is in business.

One example of friction-free, low-resistance transitioning is Amazon. If you even get close to their site, the transition from not having a product to having a product is as easy as falling into a hole. Conversely, consider the transition you have to make when trying to get answers about your cell phone bill. Dealing with your wireless company is like slamming into a brick wall.

Does your PMO act like friction-free Amazon, or are you like a high-resistance wireless company?