I was working with a client recently that had decided to start a program of work involving 15 independent project teams, all working together to deliver a few key business objectives. 15 project teams comprised of roughly 140 people, all co-ordinating and collaborating together from different departments, locations and functions across a global organization with a few external vendors thrown in to add a little spice.
A challenging mission at best, I was keen to understand how the Program Management Office would measure progress towards the identified outcomes while ensuring that individual teams shared information across the program of work.
“We’ve a program dashboard that each team populates with project status, progress, risks and issues each week”. I looked at the dashboard. “Everything is on track and has been since we started a few weeks ago. We’re confident we’ll deliver everything within the program timeline and constraints”, said the Program Lead. All the initiatives were green. “I think you’re carrying watermelons”, was my response.
Green on the outside but with orange or red cores, watermelons are a nice analogy for healthy-looking project reports served to PMOs on a weekly basis. In an environment of mistrust, fear or bureaucracy watermelon serving is rife. Teams tend to suppress or hide information that may highlight that everything isn’t executing as defined in ‘the plan’ – especially when everyone else in the program is serving up fresh green goodness too!