Erik Rueter

Senior Project Manager / Trainer / Coach / DEIB Expert

What has been your favorite project and why?

One of my favorite projects was a project we undertook to rebuild confidence and efficiency in our PMO. The PMO had made a number of missteps based on directions from leadership when it was first created; project team members and the executive team were doubting the PMO's value and many considered us "extra red tape." I suggested that we assemble and run a human-centered design sprint to uncover what the organization actually needed from a PMO. We developed a high-level plan with SMARTIE goals and then empathy mapped the key stakeholders within the organization. Based on those maps, we developed short- and long-term goals for the sprint and PMO. We then held a series of workshops with staff where they created prototypes for the tools and processes that would most help them when working on projects. Not only did we rebuild trust through our willingness to involve stakeholders in co-creating the revised PMO, we became a sought-after commodity within the organization because projects began running more smoothly. It was incredible to see the difference!

Why did you join The PMO Leader community?

I joined The PMO Leader community for two reasons. The first is that I know that I still have so much to learn about being an effective PMO leader. The second is that I hope to share my hard-earned lessons so others can learn from my mistakes and achievements.

Who is someone you’d like to meet within our industry?

I would love to meet Antonio Nieto Rodríguez. His LinkedIn Learning courses really helped our PMO educate staff on the importance of project management!

When did you first know you wanted to be a PMO Leader or Project Manager?

There wasn't a single "Aha!" moment for me. I first learned about the discipline when I was working for an educational non-profit and needed a better structure for the work I was doing. Through that experience, I began to see the power of project management. When I decided I needed a new career - I was burned out being a marketing director - project management seemed a great opportunity to try and learn new things.

What is something about you not many people know but you’d like to share with the community?

I co-authored two academic papers about racism in oncology nursing and steps institutions should take to help create more equitable oncology care.

Who is someone you’d like to have share their story and why?

Zainul Virgi, PMP, PhD: Zainul has a fascinating work history and is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Additionally, she is just a wonderful human being.