[00:00:01.450] - Announcer
Do you wonder if others are dealing with the same project management challenges as you not sure where to turn for guidance and leadership. Office Hours are in session as we discuss project Management and PMOs with global leaders, hearing their stories story in learning their secrets to success. Our goal is to empower you and help you elevate your PMO and project management career to new heights. Welcome back to Project Management Office Hours with your host, Kia Mojo.
[00:00:29.870] - PMO Joe
Welcome, everyone, to Project Management Office Hours. We're the number one live project management radio show in the United States, broadcasting to you today from our Studios in Tempe, Arizona. I'm PMO Joe. I want to share with everybody that we have a special guest joining us today. Of course, he's in a kind of a home away from home. He's offered a training session. We'll get that introduction from him shortly, but I just want to let you know that he's not calling in from his home country. So we get the benefit of two locations today from our guests. I also want to share with everybody this is kind of fun for me. This is my 99th show, so next show for me will be number 100, which is hard to believe. Our first show was back on February 20 in 2018. Our special guest was Jill Smith. So thank you to Jill for jumping with me and being a guinea pig when I didn't really even know what I was doing on that show. I didn't really have an idea of what we wanted to do because I certainly never started out intending to do a project management radio show or podcast.
[00:01:37.830] - PMO Joe
But here we are, 100 episodes later, 40 million plus plays and downloads of the podcast. So it's been a fun adventure for sure. And certainly thank you to everybody out there for being with me. And I mentioned all of that because in order for me to get where I am today, I recognized I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I was comfortable as a project manager, but I was not a radio host. I'm not a podcaster. This isn't what I do. But in order to get where I needed to be, I had to stretch myself and stretch my capabilities and enter the unknown. And certainly I did that full of trepidation and a lot of arm twisting from some others to get me there. But I also did that with excitement to be able to see where it got me. So I encourage everybody in the project management space to be able to find your opportunity to stretch beyond your comfort zone. So often in the project space, we, as project managers, end up staying within our industry or within the type of projects we run or maybe a specific tool that we do.
[00:02:45.540] - PMO Joe
And ultimately, I think we grow as professionals when we go outside that zone. So explore the unknown for you and take that risk, because I think we truly find growth and we learn what our potential can be when we step out outside the comfort zone. So I strongly encourage everybody to do that. And I'm kind of a testament to everybody out there that it's possible and good things can happen when you do that. Also, of course, I want to thank the PMO Squad and the PMO Leader. They are sponsors for the show, and they make that happen. Strongly encourage everybody to go out and visit the PMO Squad website or the PMO Leader website. A lot of great information out there. And the PMO Squad, of course, is the Premier PMO and project management consulting firm in the United States. And we'd love to come help your organization deliver projects better. Lastly, before we get into the show here with our guest, listen, this show is free for everybody, and it's one PDU. This is our 99th show. So that's 99 free PDUs for people. If you go out to listen to our podcast on any of your favorite podcast platforms or go out to the PMO Squad website and see the podcast out there, if you need PDUs, which you all do, if you're certified, not only do you get what I think is a good show to listen to, but it's almost like a mentoring session with every one of these amazing leaders that we bring on from around the world.
[00:04:19.530] - PMO Joe
So strongly encourage everybody to go do that, get your PDUs, no cost. And it's a good time. I do see we've got people joining us. So certainly in the comments, add in where you're calling from or listening from. And if you have questions or comments during the show, don't be bashful. It's always an interactive show. So let us know what you're thinking. We're live, right? We're live radio on the business RadioX platform. We're also broadcasting live on LinkedIn, on YouTube, on Facebook. So there are a lot of ways to be able to connect and view the show today. And with that, I want to introduce to us our special guest, Ben Peters. Hello, Ben.
[00:05:03.070] - Ben Peters
How's it going? Thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for having me. It's great to be part of your show. And also great to know that I can also utilize and gain some of my PDUs for myself. So I will definitely do the required yes, absolutely.
[00:05:20.070] - PMO Joe
So share with us you're originally from South Africa, right? But you're not there now. Where are you at today?
[00:05:27.510] - Ben Peters
So I'm currently in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I'm attending the project, the IPA, the National Project Management Associations Project Excellence Model training, which will happen from tomorrow up until the end of Sunday. And then I'm returning back home to Cape Town on Sunday, on Monday. And the purpose for me being here is just to attend the training is that I believe I would like to see if I can utilize the Project Excellence model enrolled in South Africa in Cape Town at the Metropolitan and see if we can what is needed for us to better deliver on our projects based on a well established model that we can utilize and further enhance our own projects in South Africa itself.
[00:06:17.670] - PMO Joe
I love that. So here we are. We're speaking project management live internationally while you're at a project management training conference, which is fantastic. Right. It just goes to show the global reach of our industry and our profession. And also it goes to show the need for continuous improvement. Right. And not resting on our laurels, you're out there trying to see what you can learn and how to take that back and help your team.
[00:06:43.930] - Ben Peters
Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad you mentioned that, because I've got one of my colleagues with me in Amsterdam as well. And Mark, he's my manager for project and program management, attending this with me. And we had a quick discussion earlier this morning. We just discussed what is it that we want to get out of this. We normally reflect quite hard on ourselves, on achievements, the good, the bad, the ugly, but also the beautiful. Normally, people are just good during the bad and the ugly, but we also try to normally reflect and sit down and see the positive side of things as well while we're trying to reflect. When we had the discussion this morning, I said to him, Mark, we sit down in three years from now, where do you see program management being in the city of Cape Town? We started approximately three years ago with stategate management and roll it out into the Metropolitan and make sure that we follow stategate guidelines and expose all our projects within the government spectrum in Cape Town through a formalized project preparation process. And when we started with that, it was low, immaturity. We tried it.
[00:08:07.560] - Ben Peters
We learned from things, we enhanced it. And when we had the discussion this morning and we just reflected from where we've been three years later to where we are now, it's nice to see the number of projects coming through. It's nice to see what the quality of preparation of project is and how that is prepared. It's nice to see to understand what is the stuff that we need to continuously enhance. There's definitely always opportunities for us to improve. We believe in continuous improvement also to try to just understand that. And when we said that that is exactly what we want to reflect on over a three year period with program management. When I said to him, where are you going to be with him in a year's time, he said to me, a year so short. And you would like to have this mini milestones. But we also got to acknowledge the fact that it's taking time. And in three years time, we would like to have a well established product. We would like to have an understanding of exactly what program management means within the city of Cape Town and within our context, it is misunderstood.
[00:09:15.390] - Ben Peters
The guys don't really understand what they're doing from a program management point of view and it's for us to try to turn that around and make sure that we share the message and that everybody can learn from us. I mean, as you know, when I talked about little bit of continuous improvement, I'm industrial engineer myself. I studied industrial engineering in Pretoria, South Africa and after which I've done some of my honest degree. And later my PMP further continued that with my MBA at the University of Edinburgh or not University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, at the University of Edward and at the Edinburgh Business School. And when I studied industrial engineering, I initially thought that I'm going to end up in the transport logistics space and the logistics towards optimization improvement. I found myself in the project management space and I still apply those particular industrial engineering principles that I've learned during my studies because that is what studies are doing. It's just changing your mindset, changing how you think in life, but still utilizing those particular skills that I learned from industrial engineering point of view, optimisation improvement, continuous looking to do things better, start utilizing that even in my space in the project management field.
[00:10:49.230] - PMO Joe
My introduction to you was through the PMO Global Alliance, where your PMO right with the city of Cape Town was named the top PMO of the year in Africa, the entire continent of Africa, and then was into the final four for best PMOs in the world. So that mindset of continuous improvement seems to be working right. I mean, what an honor to be named best in a continent and one of the four best in the world. So Congratulations to you and your team for all of that as well.
[00:11:21.550] - Ben Peters
Thanks for that. It's quite amazing. I've got here multiple engagements with senior resources within the city of Cape Town. So just some background for you. So the Global Awards was given. I think it was the 11 November last year when we got the results, we had municipal local elections. On the 1 November last year, we got a new Mayor, a brilliant, brilliant director, and a young, energetic Mayor within the city of Cape Town nearly appointed and he was introduced to the city. I think it was on the 15 November, 4 days after our Ward and I had to then engage with all the new political structures and the political leadership. We call them the mayoral committee and need to have multiple engagements with them. And I've added a little slide when I introduced my unit and what we're doing, the Global Awards and that little banner and I just said to the guys, I will still continue with the bragging rights, at least for the next six months, because we are very proud of the achievement. What makes the achievement much more honorable for us is the fact that we've been the first government institution in South Africa that won the South African awards.
[00:12:54.250] - Ben Peters
We competed against multiple private sector and other government institutions. And we are the first government institution that got it right to win South Africa and then went on further to win the African awards. And that is what was making it very special for us is that you can deliver in government sector. You can do certain things and apply the same principles that you've got from a private sector into the government sector as well. Sometimes I say to my executive director, it's about the mindset, it's about what you're trying to achieve, how you're going to try to achieve those kind of things. I was in the private sector for a very long time, approximately 1213 years before I joined up with the city of Cape Town. And when I actually became part of the team, then as I became part of the team, I utilized that particular skill of time equals money, that principle in my world. And I can recall when I started with the city, I was very frustrated initially because I was sitting in my office and the first month and off, two months were very frustrated, limited it's training. It is exposed to trying to understand how the city is doing things.
[00:14:14.150] - Ben Peters
It felt at one particular point that tomorrow is just another day. There's no real drive to continuously improve, continuously move order and just to go to bed and you've deserved what you've done to be rewarded for your effort, because that's why we work. A couple of months passed. I think in my fourth month, I was asked there was a major drought in Cape Town in 20, 16, 20, 17. During the drought, it was the worst in 300 years. Our damn levels within the Metro went up to approximately 11% of available water. And we know at that particular point in time that we're on the verge of a major disaster because our dam levels were so severely drained that we haven't had water damage. That little bit of water that you had left, pretty much it's difficult to pump out, et cetera, et cetera. So I was then approached to come up with and to be part of the strategic team and I was appointed the program manager for the water disaster. That's where my life changed within the city of Cape Town when I got a real opportunity to indicate to our executives and to the team, while I'm capable and now I'm doing things, we had a brilliant strategy.
[00:15:42.610] - Ben Peters
We came up with a strategy in approximately a week. We had limited sleep. It was me and my executive director at that point in time. Craig Kissing, Gareth Morgan and Katherine Schneider were part of the team from a strategic and resilience point of view. We then drafted and we planned this disaster and what needs to be done at one particular point and how to improve that. And we got to a supply versus demand approach where you want to make sure that you've got a balance between the supply and demand. You're trying to mitigate your risk. From a supply point of view, what the additional capacity that can and should be created long, medium and long term demand point of view, what is it that you need to be able to achieve? We were the first major city across the world that got it right to reduce water demand from 1200 MW per day to 467 at a particular point in time, which is almost two thirds less water use per day, where we had to change campaign and just continuously drive the minimization of water use, turn down the pressure in the entire organization, in the entire city and just keep on driving that.
[00:16:57.500] - Ben Peters
And ultimately, after the water disaster, we started standing over. There was a new water strategy developed within the city of Cape Town with our water clients. And that water strategy is now being implemented and it's a full swing. The rain came back. So we're very happy. We will love. And as we delivered on that particular one, approximately two or three months after that, there was a huge fire in formal settlement in Cape Town. We call it images. That particular fire demolished the entire informal settlement. And with our unique approach that we had ultimately from the PMO itself, we got rapid planning, rapid understanding of the problem and a rapid solution towards also helping that particular individuals in the informal settlement and to make sure that we assist them rebuild their houses, rebuild their infrastructure. And now currently in progress is what we call super blocking, where we just try to make sure that these formal services and former roads, former water and electricity that can be accessed at any particular point in time so that it's not so contained in that informal settlement areas where you can't have access to a place when a fire starts.
[00:18:25.510] - Ben Peters
But ultimately you want to make sure that you deliver on those particular things. And as per that approach, you know what happened with Covid. The first person that was dealt with Covid was myself. Please, can you be at the office tomorrow morning at 07:00? We've got a major disaster. We're going to roll it out. And we had a very unique approach to Covid. We realized immediately after our President talked about covid and the lockdown and what it's going to mean. We knew exactly at that particular point in time of disability and the scale and the size of what it means. I can recall that for approximately five weeks in a row, me and my team had between three and 4 hours of sleep a day. For the first five weeks of October response, we continuously just ramped up and we piggyback on each other. When one guy is going to bed, the rest of the team is still continuing with the work. So that is limited. When you've done your sleeping, then just get a quick recap of the work that was happening within that three hour period or four hour period, catch up, and then the next guy will go to bed and there's continuity in just ramping up and working continuously.
[00:19:45.090] - Ben Peters
And the difference that we've got was that within a seven week period, we planned and executed 39 additional field hospitals across the Metropolitan, where we were able to split the hot and the cold patience. That's what we call it, the non positive and the positive people from a covid point of view, for testing and those particular purposes, redesign of the use of our public transport facilities with sanitizers and the social distancing rules and everything that we've implemented within our informal settlements, trying to make sure that because that is the most difficult part to manage your social distancing and everything is so content on each other. So try to make sure that we apply some of the social distancing rules in the informal settlements. And then my team were ultimately responsible for the first man's vaccination site last year May within the city of Cape Town, where we get approximately. Yes, very close to 2 million or 3 million vaccinations in a very short, limited time period. We established two sites, two mass vaccination sites. One was at the city of Cape Town International Conference Center, where we implemented that particular site with the assessor, because within our spaces of government, there are different roles and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities for the covert responses actually with provincial government.
[00:21:18.860] - Ben Peters
But because they didn't have the project management capacity in house, they reached out to me and they asked me to provide our services free of charge to them so that we can benefit both sides, both as government institutions and therefore, being while trying to help them, we've implemented those sites. We've also done the driving site within Cape Town. That site is actually coming to an end now. By the end of this month been operating for more than seven months now. We had a little donkey car the one day that I think the site was open for a week, and there was a donkey car that came through. This particular site has a lot of pictures, and the donkey car driver was sitting on his donkey car, having his vaccination with his family, and then drove further, which was so special.
[00:22:12.920] - PMO Joe
Whatever it takes, right?
[00:22:14.840] - Ben Peters
And it was just such a pleasure the steers were running just to understand the difference that you make in other people's lives. And you sometimes take it just for granted, but it's actually this great contribution that we do in the project management group that we're touching lives and you're affecting other people on a daily basis. And I think that's the reason why I keep on working in this space. Yeah.
[00:22:43.520] - PMO Joe
I mean, that's amazing work you've done. And certainly as a government agency to be able to do that. We often think of course, PMO is within businesses. And we always say you need to drive value. You need to have value that comes out of your PMO. Well, man, when you start talking about helping a population overcome a drought or a fire or a natural disaster or a pandemic, it's a different kind of value, but certainly just as impactful and testament to the work you've done with your team. Of course. And you mentioned something while you were chatting. It brings back prior to the show, we've connected and we've chatted in the past as well. And you said that you were hard driving and you were driving through these initiatives and you had shared a story with me kind of early in your career about getting called out when you were a project manager and how that kind of shaped your personality. Now, can you share that with everybody?
[00:23:40.150] - Ben Peters
Yeah, I was young. I think I was about one year, two years out of University. I just started working with a little consulting company in Pretoria. We did multiple projects in the mining environment. And then this young attitude project manager is going to do this particular project in the mining environment. And as you know how it is, you think you know everything once you start it and no one can tell you anything and you're pretty much just the world's gift and everybody is going to accept what they do. And yeah, I went to the general manager of the mine the one day and he stopped me in the corridor. And in the corridor, he said to me, how's the project we've been? And I said to him, you know what we were talking of cons. But I said to him, I'm waiting on this. I'm waiting on this. I'm waiting on this. This is where we are now. But I wait for this. And I also wait for this. And the next moment, he was taking his cell phone out and I didn't know what he was going to do, but he took his cellphone out.
[00:25:02.010] - Ben Peters
He called my boss and I didn't know he's calling my boss, but now he's calling my boss and my boss answers the phone. And then I realized he's finding my boss. And he said to my boss, I've got the waiter with me. It's like the waiter. Yeah. I said, no, it's been the waiter is here with me. He is waiting for this and he's waiting for that and he's waiting for that. And I cannot wait. Can you please address this matter for me? And that was the turning point in my career not to do two things. The one is to always be proactive. I am known within the city of Cape Town as an implementer, as a driver, as a continuous enforcer. I'm striving for change. I like change. Not all people do. But I'm not waiting for anything. So if a person asked me where we are, I can exactly tell you this is where we are. This is where I want to be and where I want to be. This is why I'm there yes or no and where I'm going to be tomorrow or the day thereafter. Because I hated that moment where I was put out called a waiter.
[00:26:11.920] - Ben Peters
For me, that was a turning point because you don't want to be a waiter. You want to be a person that people can rely on. And if they ask you what is the status of a project, you can give them the honest real feedback with them, give them the comfort that we are on the right track. You're all going to experience delays, you're all going to experience things that you never planned for. But what are you doing to overcome those challenges and obstacles on a continuous basis? And that is the attitude that I keep on implementing on a daily basis within my space. The guys in my office, they normally joke with me and then they will say that Ben never can say no. He can't say no. When people are asking me for something, I will be the first one to say we send people to the moon. We can do everything. It's dependent on our nature and our thinking of what the possible best solution might be. Therefore, I never say no. If there's a request for me to be involved or to roll out or to do a project or to tell where the portfolio stand, what is wrong with the portfolio, then I'm just keep on driving and I will always just deliver.
[00:27:30.940] - Ben Peters
I never say no to any of my resources. I say yes, we can, we can do if we all work together as a team to deliver that, remember that. It's not just about me. And I think I shared that with you as well. I've got a very competent team. One of the reasons why I brought Mark with me to Netherlands. I've got a lady with the name Maureen where was driving contract management for me in the organization, which is a very technical space with our procurement laws and everything in our space. It's not just as you're signing a contract and there you go. There's a lot of additional requirements from contract management point of view. I've got Ian Thompson who is driving one of the directors teams for me. I've got Azerbajun is driving the portfolio for me and then a guy with the name Harris Fafir who is driving the engineering management services for me within the city of Cape Town. So I always say it's not been the PMO that's delivering and it's the team that's delivering. I always compare myself with sport in your particular environment. We can refer to NFL if it's applicable, but you can only have one quarterback.
[00:28:49.000] - Ben Peters
You can only have a certain number of defensive and offensive players. You only have a number of people on the bench. But there's a support team and there's other people in the background that's never been seen, which is playing a vital part into the success of what's happening with the particular team. And I always say if that team is coming together, then you will be able to succeed. And that's the main principle. I'm junkie. I love sport, any kind of sport. My wife normally jokes with me and she tells me that if standing outside walking in the garden was a sport, I would also have watched that on TV because I'm just passionate about sport. And there's so much value that we can learn from sport into our own life. But more importantly, how can sport and other things learn from our side? And what's the input that you can give from a sport point of view into that world?
[00:29:53.560] - PMO Joe
Yes, I love the story and certainly we're getting good feedback and comments. Stacy mentioned in the book. Dr. Seuss has a book there that addresses don't be a Waiter out there. And certainly Louise Words says, thank you for helping her get vaccinated there in South Africa. Nice to hear that, Louise. And certainly people joining us from around the US as well, Texas, Arizona and New York and beyond, you mentioned the sports and I'm a sports nut as well. Same thing. No matter what's happening, I could be doing sports or watching sports or involved in sports. And right now I'm training for a half marathon. That's coming up in June. I know you're an endurance athlete as well. You're a triathlete. Part of my planning for my marathon has been to approach it like a project, right? It's a unique endeavor that has a unique beginning and end, and I can plan it and I'm going to execute it and I'm going to manage it and all that. Have you utilized that same sort of mindset within your triathlete training as well?
[00:30:58.120] - Ben Peters
Yes, definitely. It's all about preparation, Joe. In the real project life, there's a lot of articles and research about the benefits of project preparation, project planning towards the execution of projects of which I firmly believe and I've witnessed it myself. We've got a big drive in the city of Cape Town on project preparation and project planning, making sure that we understand what we're going to do so that you don't get surprised during the execution that could have been planned upfront. But I do exactly focus the same aspects of my life in my personal life as well. I do believe in proper good planning upfront, preparing for races. I can tell you interesting story. In 2019, I was doing a mountain bike race in September. So for that mountain bike race in September, I started training approximately eight weeks ahead of time, maybe a bit more, and got myself well prepared for that particular race. And it's 100 kilometer mountain bike race from I think it's from Union Dell to Nice. Now they call it a karate coast where you run right from the coastal city. And I was doing very good. I was doing very well.
[00:32:22.990] - Ben Peters
I had a sub five hour time which I tried to make and I totally enjoyed that. And after the race I just stopped training a bit give the body opportunity to just recover and then move on. So then that was end of September. That was October. November the last week of October the CEO of the city asked me whether I would like to have a mountain bike race with him in two weeks time. Am I still working out and training on? Will I share and will I try and just do the race with him? So at that particular point in time I wasn't training, I was off and recovering but I was so excited to be invited to this particular race with him. I said to him yes, I'm happy. So yeah, these two weeks I've got two weeks to get fit again. It is hard to know that in two weeks time you're not going to be able to get the same amount of fitness than what you've got in eight weeks. And I should have just kept on training continuously but I didn't. I did a plan, I did prepare. It is out of the block box and I will just say yes, I'm going to do this.
[00:33:40.440] - Ben Peters
Two days before the race I got myself, I bought myself a new mountain bike.
[00:33:45.560] - PMO Joe
[00:33:46.810] - Ben Peters
So there I've got two weeks of training, I've got a new mountain bike. I'm going with the CFO on this particular journey and race day came. I'm up on the first Hill and there we go. I'm struggling, I'm exhausted. See if I was pushing me up the mountain I don't want them to push me, I want to finish this thing by myself and I'm exhausted. It's just going completely south and got to the first deal. 40 minutes or 50 minutes later there's our first downhill and yeah I'm going downhill and at the second corner I did not take the corner on the left hand side and I take the corner. I went outside because they want to pass people and they're off my bike and I broke my shoulder on approximately eight or nine places. But it just shows you there's a couple of things that I should have done. The one is I should have worked harder and prepared myself not being that exhausted after the first 10 km of the Hill that I could have done better if I planned correctly. And you don't go buy a new bike two days before race and don't ride that bike on a downhill if you don't know what it can or what it cannot do, therefore go and just be safe.
[00:35:08.490] - Ben Peters
It resulted in me being very patient of any training for approximately three months I was in a swing. I can recall. I went to Edinburgh to get my MBA degree and I was in sling because I had to broker shoulder to fly with the broker shoulder and it was for about three months. I was off the bike, no training, nothing. Very frustrated. Just want to come back and get this over and done with. Went. But the nice story is that I followed and the doctor said to me he did what he can do and put in the screws and everything to shoulder and you said everything you could have done. The rest is on my end. I followed the physiotherapy to the nail. Like if you tell me to do X, I will do it exactly that particular way. And that is the principle that I'm also doing in my project management field where you can learn from project management field. If the plan is there and it is executable and you know that the plan is working, follow the plan. If you want to divert from the plan, but there are benefits to be gained, then you do that and you be agile and you continue doing that and to continuously improve but don't just change and don't not prepare.
[00:36:25.110] - Ben Peters
Just rather be prepared because there's going to be consequences afterwards.
[00:36:29.060] - PMO Joe
Yeah, that's a great story because I always like to talk with clients in non project management terms to make sure that they understand and we have the same expectations cause they may not understand project management, just like I may not understand engineering terms. So when we talk about a race and you tell the story about how you didn't prepare and then you tried new equipment, they can relate to that, right? They can understand why they need to plan on their project and why they shouldn't introduce new items into the project. Great example to be able to share with everybody. So thanks for doing that.
[00:37:03.690] - Ben Peters
Yeah. If you don't mind. What comes to mind, just when you said that was I did the same rate last year. It was closed during October, but last year it was open again. I was training very hard last year, started training in November, 20, 120. I plan to do a race in January 2021. The race was unfortunately canceled, but I continued trading. It was moved to August. Then a week before August, before the race, I actually got to beat and I could not participate in a particular race. So I said let's look after the health and I kept on training and I did the same race where I fell and because of the preparation and me understanding, I shaved off an hour and a half of my previous time over three days which was quite remarkable and just being there, being fit and enjoying what I'm doing now.
[00:38:04.710] - PMO Joe
And you didn't break a shoulder?
[00:38:07.330] - Ben Peters
[00:38:08.440] - PMO Joe
I stayed on the bike and that's also important lesson, right. In project management at the beginning of projects it's important to be able to make sure you have the right requirements. And so often people, the sponsors or the stakeholders are like let's just go, just go and we will get this done. And it's upon us to stress to them how important it is to make sure that we capture the requirements so that we can satisfy those expectations. Because sometimes going slower at the beginning to make sure it's properly prepared and planned actually helps you help go faster. And again, point with your training, you prepared for it and you went an hour and a half faster. There's proof to that when it's put into practice.
[00:38:51.040] - Ben Peters
And what about the lessons learned? I think people generally forget about those lessons. What's the lessons that I've learned. And as mentioned earlier, when I reflect, I don't just reflect on the bad stuff. I normally call it the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. And there's a difference between good, bad, ugly and beautiful because the beautiful stuff is those that are extremely helpful, which you will always really go back to. The ugly is the exact opposite. And then the good and the bad is what worked, what did not. And we tend to forget about focusing on what was the good things that we've done that helped us perform. And that's exactly what I'm trying to make sure that I continue to thrive on going forward.
[00:39:40.790] - PMO Joe
So obviously you've shared some amazing successes. You're one of the top four PMOs in the world, at least until next November. It's this coming November. You can always carry those bragging rights with you. You've accomplished so much, both personally and professionally. What's next? Where do you go from here? Where is the next challenge and opportunity for you?
[00:40:04.390] - Ben Peters
There's still a lot of things that I would like to achieve within the city of Cape Town. Quite interesting. When myself and Mark were working in the streets of Abstinence this morning, he asked me the same question. He said to me, Ben, when are you moving on? I said to him, well, my new executive director asked me the same question approximately three or four weeks ago on a one on one performance management aspect. And he said to me, what's next? And I said to him, there are three things that I would like to achieve before moving on. Before I know that I cannot, I need to find a new challenge to satisfy my requirements and to move forward. I said to him, the one is I would like to see that all five disciplines for which I'm responsible for, which is project management, program management, Portfolio management, Contract management, and engineering management, that we are an organizational maturity level of standardized practices. We are a huge organization. We've got 40,000 employees, we've got multiple directors. Each Directorate can be seen as a different business unit with its own standards and stuff. But I would like to, from a corporate point of view within the city of Cape Town, see that we've got a standardized approach for everything in the world of those disciplines.
[00:41:30.850] - Ben Peters
The next thing is what I would like to achieve within the city of Cape Town is that you've got the individuals and the accidental project managers within our space, people that have been thrown at projects which are never done projects. And I would like to make sure that within the city of Cape Town, we had a particular point in time where I can say that we don't have accidental project managers, but project management is seen as a proper skill within the organization. It's a skill that one would like to pursue where there's benefits to the individuals on a continuous basis. And then I would ultimately like to see where the city of Cape Town in terms of rent, I'm going to try to figure it out quickly in my gate on dollars, but where we can sit from capital portfolio point of view, to see if we can deliver between a 1.5 and $2 billion capital portfolio within the next three to four years, I think if I can achieve those three things, then it's time for me to move on and to see what is the next best opportunity. I got a request to facilitate and help one of the other government institutions within South Africa called Transnet, where they reached out to me and they said, how can the city escape and help them to also get their PMO in place and learn from us on a continuous basis?
[00:42:54.630] - Ben Peters
We are working on the back end of what is doable what is not. But I do think that is what I would like to add. And then in my personal life, it's pretty much just before I get to the person. But what I would like to do is I would like to see that I have made a change, not just in terms of the organization, but I've made a change to my management team as well as to the individuals working with me. I believe that the next generation of project managers, our young project managers, is the future, and I would like to be an example for them. I believe if they can learn from me and I can have a role onto their lives, there is a great opportunity for them to get better and to take over some time someday for me, we don't know whether it's going to be one or two or three years from now, but I want to create that opportunity. And then I would also like to make sure that from a personal life point of view, I'm trying to stay fit and healthy as we just discussed. But I would like to see that my kids and my family is getting through the motions, get their degrees and get into the string.
[00:44:05.950] - Ben Peters
They're very young still. I've got three kids, ten, nine, and seven. And I would like to take them through the opportunity and give them the best opportunities for them to also get some academic qualification and to pursue their dreams. My son is an absolute sport. It's sometimes quite a challenge for me to tell him, listen, you've got to work. You've got to study as well. You've got to make sure that you've got some backup plan. It's not just about the sport. I fully support that. My little first daughter, she's into the drama and she just loves drama and beauty drama Queen. And then my youngest is just she's me in a woman's body, very close to me, and just buy a very special kit, which I would just like to see also be a very successful person at the end of the day. Yeah.
[00:44:58.340] - PMO Joe
It's great to see your face light up talking about your children. That's great. Obviously, it's so important to you, of course. And you had mentioned in there kind of the standardization of processes that you have in there. And also you mentioned your love of sport. You brought up a quarterback. You're going to be one quarterback on the team. We always talk about within the PMO squad when we work with our clients, about empowering your people and that next generation of project managers. And when you build your standard process, you have to be able to build a team of quarterbacks so that they can call an audible and follow outside the process when necessary. The standard process helps you be consistent and be repeatable, but the process can't define every situation. And having a team that you trust in the team that's been trained to the point where they call the audible and they say instead of doing this the way we've always done it, I can read the room, I can read the team. And we need to do something a little different here. Did you see that within your team as well, this empowerment of the people to be able to go do what's right, maybe not just follow the process, but do the right thing?
[00:46:04.100] - Ben Peters
Yeah, 100%. That's exactly what we do. I also try to make sure that everybody else knows exactly what everybody else is doing, because if you know what other people's roles and functions is, you can take over when they off the field, when they removed from the field with a record or with a yellow flag or whatever, then you know what their role and their function is. So you can just type in and out perform that particular function. So it's all about the teamwork again. And the only way to drive the teamwork is to make sure that there's continuity between your individuals. I see myself as and just another story. So we've got this project management forum that we've got in the city of Cape Town, and every February of a year we invest in arranging a nice forum there's. Approximately we had approximately 300 people joining us on this forum. And I had a guy from the United States with the name Tim Jake talking to us. He's the IPM special interest group director, talked to us about leadership and applying different leadership styles in different situations and opportunities. And while he was talking, I was sitting with my colleagues and I said, where do you guys see me in this particular space?
[00:47:35.530] - Ben Peters
I see myself when I'm under pressure. This is who I am. If I'm in a great space, this is the guy that I think I am. Do you guys agree with me on my principles and where you see me from a leadership point of view and I try to enable my team, I try to make my hands dirty. I don't just direct. I don't just manage. I like to be involved in the details sometimes as well, up to a point of view. I'm so comfortable that I'm not needed anymore and that I'm not adding any more value. But I try to make sure that I contribute. I hate sitting on the sideline, just shouting on the team and giving instructions. That's not me. My leadership style is make sure that I'm involved and that I continuously try to enable the team to become better. That's what I strive for.
[00:48:28.590] - PMO Joe
Yeah, that's certainly I would say very apparent just in the brief conversations we've had. Is that how impactful that story you shared earlier about don't be a Waiter has influenced your life and how it's actually helped drive you and all of your success that you've had? So thank you so much. We're getting close to end of time. And certainly I want to be able to share with everybody how to get in touch with you. If you can let everybody know whether it's just LinkedIn or email or whatever. And then is there anything else coming up that you have that people should be aware of, whether it's any additional competitions that the PMO will be competing in or books or events or speaking, anything for folks to be able to reach out to you.
[00:49:12.150] - Ben Peters
Okay, so you can reach out to me at Laurent [email protected] or you can call me or what's happening at our international code is plus 27 and my number is 082-78-6746. And on LinkedIn, you will find me under Paul and Daniel Peters. As mentioned, my mom decided to give me multiple names. She calls me then, but I normally joke, my wife will call me lobby when she starts calling me Ben. Then I know that I didn't listen the first time. When it becomes foreign, then I know that I'm getting into trouble. And when it's a Daniel, then I know I'm in the right space here. So kicked out of there. So that's just the way that I, me and my wife know each other at this particular point in time. But you can reach me on LinkedIn. Barnett Daniel Peters I'm not big on Facebook. I am a Facebook follower, but I call it enough. It's ruffcake. I'm using my wife's phone to see what the world is doing. But I'm not very active on Facebook, but very much more active on LinkedIn. And next thing is coming up in September. I'll be in Croatia. I'm the head for Smarter Cities special interest group for the International Project Management Association.
[00:50:34.070] - Ben Peters
We are considering our options at this particular point in time for the PMI PMO that's closing the 31 March. We are considering the options where we don't know whether we want to do it this year or maybe the year after. And we are looking at that particular option. And then I will be and hopefully be in Japan for conference in November. So, yeah, there's some things that have been lined up for me. I'm looking forward to share some knowledge in Japan. The plan is to have two fold approach. One is to talk about competencies and individual competencies, how that relates to the success of a project, and then also trying to have what we doing in the world of smarter cities, where we try to make sure that these livable, sustainable and workable cities that can be implemented by project program portfolio management. And that's what we're trying to achieve from a smarter city's point of view.
[00:51:39.180] - PMO Joe
That's fantastic. And as we're talking here, I've been listening and I'm trying to picture you and the sound of your book. You've got this amazing baritone voice, right? You should read books, right? You should be like one of those when you're the Audible book, the version of it. You should be reading that if you have enough things going on. Obviously you don't need anything else but a great booming voice to be able to listen to and make an impact.
[00:52:05.650] - Ben Peters
I'm normally the one guy in the office when it's your birthday, I will sing the birthday so the guys knows me and I do it with full steam. I normally say I'm singing balls. It's something between bus and false. So I've got this false setting as well going. But that doesn't matter me. I don't care if I miss a note. As long as people can have a laugh with me singing for them and they can make a difference and they can just enjoy the day, then I'm happy.
[00:52:36.910] - PMO Joe
That's fantastic. I love that. Well, Ben, certainly thank you so much for being on the show, especially interrupting your training that you're taking there in Amsterdam. I appreciate that. Of course. Thank you to everybody who joined us online. Christopher, I'm assuming it's Christopher Wesley had put a comment in there that helps bring back memories listening to you, share your stories. So, you know, thank you for sharing that as well. Everybody, please go out and visit the PMO Squad.com and look for our podcast to see all of our previous shows and our upcoming guests. We've got a great lineup that's going to be joining us. Next show will be number 100, of course, as I mentioned, following that, we'll have Tim Creasy, the chief innovation officer with profile be joining us. Louise Wersley, who was commenting earlier today and on some of this discussion, she'll be joining us from South Africa, Ricardo Martin from Spain Sanjeev Augustine here in the States, Melissa McDonald the smart P. M. Kim essendrupa, Asia Watkins, Constantine rival and Robert breeze from Germany. And again, maybe, probably not, but maybe Maria Abdelina who is in Ukraine and our thoughts are with her and hopefully she and all of her loved ones are doing okay.
[00:53:52.380] - PMO Joe
Also a reminder that all of these shows are recorded. We're live, obviously as we're interacting with all of you, but we do record these right? So if you miss it, certainly go out and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or go out to the PMO squad site to catch those 99 PDUs for free currently available. So don't miss out on that. It's a great opportunity to go get them. And lastly, of course, thanks to the PMO squad and the PMO leader, they're our sponsors and they make all of this possible. That's it for now. Office hours are closed. Until next time, I'm PMO Joe and you've been listening to project management office hours.
[00:54:29.650] - Announcer
Thanks for listening to another episode of project management office hours with PMO Joe. You're not alone in your project management journey. We're here to help you achieve your goals. Subscribe to project management office hours on your favorite podcast platform to catch all of our episodes and hear industry leaders share their story and secrets to success.