Prep Yourself on Project Management




What makes SSOPro’s Online Training Modules so unique? It’s the people who’ve designed them. Not academics. Not SSON staff. But hand-picked practitioners from blue-chip companies who’ve dedicated significant time to making sure this course fills any gaps in your skill-set.

Meet Rochelle Hood, Project Manager from HARRIS Corporation and find out why she thinks Project Management skills can make or break your services delivery initiatives.

Rochelle

Rochelle A. Hood, PMP
SSON Fellow 2011
SSOPro Trainer
and Project Manager at HARRIS Corporation


"A huge problem is discounting project management as a discipline and believing anyone can be a good project manager. Being the most knowledgeable or experienced person on a business process does not necessarily mean you are well suited to lead a project.
One of my biggest "lessons learned" is to be consistent on governance and formal sign-off on all key milestones and approved changes. "Project amnesia" can arise later in the project lifecycle, when a task falls off track, or when risks that were identified early are in fact realized."

Rochelle Hood, Project Manager, HARRIS Corporation


Barbara Hodge: Rochelle, what made you pick project management as the competency you wanted to design and lead?

Rochelle Hood: Project Management is an interesting profession. Most practitioners are accidental project managers, starting in another discipline then moving into a role in which they regularly lead projects. I'm an example of an accidental PM, starting my career in Accounting. I enjoy the variety of functions, industries and systems I get exposed to in project management. I chose project management as the competency to design for SSOPro because many shared services leaders have a role in multiple projects but have never received formal training or background in the tools and methodologies.

What are the pitfalls that people on both the client and provider side could avoid given a better understanding of project management?

The pitfalls really relate to what happens when you don’t apply a Project Management methodology to running key initiatives in your organization. These include longer cycle times (delays in receiving benefits), cost overruns and scope creep. Scoop creep occurs when customers (internal/external) request to have more tasks, features, or processes added to your project. This often results in a project that doesn't have closure and seems to linger on forever. Effective scope management is challenging but essential. Another problem is discounting project management as a discipline and believing anyone can be a good project manager. Leading effective projects requires key skills such as strong communication, impact and influence, and facilitation. In Shared Services, being the most knowledgeable or experienced person on a business process does not necessarily mean you are well suited to lead a project.

In designing this competency [Project Management] where do you think we're pushing this particular skill forwards, given where the captive and outsourcing market is right now?

Project management is more in the limelight as a result of a movement towards large-scale captive and outsourcing efforts. The discipline and tools of project management are essential in the planning and execution of these types of projects. Incorporating effective requirement management, and make vs. buy (captive vs. outsourcing) analysis, are valuable references to pull from the project management tool set.

What's the single classic mistake people make by not having enough experience with structured project management?

Most people tend to skip planning and jump right into executing a project. Learning the project lifecycle and understanding the rework that can be avoided by spending more time in the planning phase is a key reason to learn structured project management.

It’s a given that people only learn by mistakes. So what will you "fess up" To, given the amount of experience you've had in this industry?

One of my biggest "lessons learned", is to be consistent on governance and formal sign-off on all key milestones and approved changes, even for small projects. The team, sponsor and customer may have consensus in a meeting, even documented in the min utes, however "project amnesia" can arise later in the project lifecycle, or when a task falls off track, or when risks that were identified early are in fact realized.

What's missing from this Module, Rochelle, that would make it more interesting from your point of view? With the range of disciplines to examine in Shared Services, why do you think it's important to include a Project Management (Track/Module) in the SSOPro Course?

Nearly every Shared Services leader and professional is involved in project work. From being a team member, to providing business/functional requirements, to leading a project in a business area, to conducting functional testing. Whether you have the title of Project Manager or not, it's essential to understand the key elements of driving, leading and participating in successful projects.

Thank you, Rochelle.


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