Amy McKenna, Project Management Office Integrated Product Team (PMO IPT) Lead on the 2020 Decennial Census Technical Integrator Program, was recently part of a virtual interview for the PMO Impact Summit. She shared some of her lessons learned from the PMO perspective. The segment was titled “Lessons Learned from the Trenches: PMO Practitioner Case Studies” which was recorded and can be watched in its entirety.
Below is a short Q&A from McKenna’s interview at the PMO Impact Summit. You can leave a comment here.
Tell us about yourself, what led you to PMO and goals for the future.
McKenna: “I graduated from Lehigh University with an Industrial engineering degree with a goal to become a plant manager as I very much enjoy process; I spent 4 years in the manufacturing world which was an eye-opening experience. However, in 2003 life brought me to the DC Metro area and that is when I started my career in government contracting at Lockheed Martin (LM). I held various PMO support and lead roles during my time at LM and in August 2015 left to join T-Rex Solutions, LLC. My goal for the future is to run a portfolio of programs/projects for the company.”
Describe your experience from large to small business as it relates to PMO:
McKenna: “You need to be prepared to wear many hats and be resourceful. It did not take me long to realize what a structured organization I came from, and how I could really add value to a place in which structure was needed from a PMO perspective, as well as tools and processes. Also, I quickly learned how small businesses are much more flexible. You can be creative when it comes to establishing the foundation. You do not have the ‘this is how we always have done it’ mindset.”
How do you motivate your staff towards a customer service mindset?
McKenna: In my PMO Leadership role, I need to ensure my team has context around the mission we are supporting and the importance of the role the PMO plays for the whole organization. I encourage all of my folks to get away from their desk and meet with their technical counterparts face to face to build the relationship and trust. This in turn helps the organization realize the value PMO brings to the table.
Also, I promote out of the box thinking as we are moving at such a fast pace- be a facilitator versus a process barrier. I encourage feedback from my counterparts as well to see how the team is doing and where we can make course corrections. It also helps to reward staff when there are positive outcomes; I use personal motivational or thank you notes to staff, hold Quarterly All Hands Meetings and select certain resources for recognition awards and of course, thanking people with food goes a long way.
Tell us some of the key leadership attributes you live by.
·Trust but Verify (the truth is in the data – use metrics as leading indicators);
·Resiliency (rise above tough situations, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger); and
·Being True to Yourself (always be conscious of your morale compass and how you treat people; respect for the individual goes a long way, they will be willing to go the extra mile for you).