[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 story story and 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 PMO Joe.
[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 from the Phoenix Business RadioX studio in Tempe, Arizona. I'm your host, PMO Joe, and for the next hour or so, we're going to be talking project management with our special guest today. Before we jump into the show itself, I just want to make a couple of announcements as I always do to get our shows going. The first one, the PMO Squad received some great recognition this week as we were named one of the finalists by the Phoenix Business Journal for Small Business of the Year in the Micro category here in Phoenix. And it's always great to get a team recognition for our company like that. So I certainly want to recognize our team members, our core four of Caley, Derek, Jerome and myself, of course, and then all of our consultants that are serving our clients in the field. They're really the ones that make the biggest impact because they are out there touching our customers. So thank you to everybody within the Squad and in September, we find out who the winner is.
[00:01:40.170] - PMO Joe
Hopefully it will be us, if not still very honored to make it to the finals and be recognized for that. Following along the awards theme, last show I had mentioned that I had made it to the semi finalist position for PMO Influencer of the Year by the PMO Global Alliance. And on Monday, earlier this week, they announced the finalists and I'm in the final four! So it's down to me. Leonardo Torres, Lindsay Scott and Dr. Saadi Adra out of Lebanon are the final four. So super excited to be recognized in that category. So an individual recognition in the industry and also a company recognition here locally within our business community. It's fantastic to be recognized for that. Also a reminder for those in our industry that the PMO Leader Global Conference is scheduled to take place on October 18 this year. It is a free registration thanks to our sponsors, and we encourage everybody to attend. We're going to be doing something a little bit different this year. We've broken the world up into three regions, right? An APAC region an EMEA region in an Americas region. And we're going to go 15 hours consecutive live content starting in Asia or sorry, in Australia.
[00:03:06.350] - PMO Joe
We'll go for 5 hours and then we'll go with 5 hours of live content out of the EMEA region and 5 hours of live content out of the Americas region. Frequently when we attend these global conferences, we get local time wherever that conference is being held, five or 8 hours worth of content. And if those hours are off hours for you, perhaps it's the middle of your night, you don't get to see that content live. So we're going to try to solve that for everybody. Regardless of where you're located, we should have live content for you that can fit into your time zone. So, October 18, please go out and register on the site that's listed there and we'll be excited to share with you all the great speakers and presenters that we're having. I also want to remind everybody that these shows are worth one PDU to you, right? We go an hour long and if you're looking for continuous education and your PDU credits, go back and listen to all the shows and you've got after today, 108 hours worth of shows. So be sure to take some time to go back and listen to all of our previous guests.
[00:04:12.810] - PMO Joe
It's not just about the PDU, it's certainly about all the information that our fantastic guests have shared over the years. Also, I want to remind everybody we are live, right? This is being live streamed right now on Internet radio, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and of course, we'll record as well. So if you miss it live, we'll have it out on your favorite podcast platform in about a week. But if you are listening live today, just drop a note in the comment section, let us know where you're joining from. It's always fun to be able to see where we have guests coming from around the world who are joining in with us. And that's it for the announcement. Super excited today to have with us our special guest joining us from the UK, Ruth Bedingfield. Welcome, Ruth.
[00:04:56.690] - Ruth Bedingfield
Hi, Joe, thank you very much for having me. Excited to be here.
[00:05:00.500] - PMO Joe
Yes, it's fantastic to have someone joining us from across the pond, as they say. So your accent will stand up for everyone. If you can take a moment, just share a little bit about yourself, let the audience know who you are and then we'll jump into some fun conversation.
[00:05:17.330] - Ruth Bedingfield
Absolutely, sure. So. Hi, everyone. I'm Ruth Bedingfield. As you can tell, as Joe said, I'm from England, currently in Salisbury, so sort of south central of England. For those of you that know, my husband is military, so home is where we are for now. So that could change my experience, I guess. 15 years. 15 years career in a different administration, five plus years within PMO leadership and management. Recently started my journey on the other side of PMO, supporting my fellow PMOs from a product side, from a customer success side as well.
[00:05:54.660] - PMO Joe
It's fantastic and that's what we're going to dig into, right? A lot to be able to understand that journey. You've been on.
[00:06:02.670] - Ruth Bedingfield
[00:06:03.830] - PMO Joe
Let's go back to time as a PMO leader. Right? So this is Project Management Office Hours. Obviously we talk project management stuff. So let's get you grounded into why people need to listen to what you're sharing. And you are a leader of a PMO for a really large organization, Global, and had some good experience there, correct?
[00:06:26.360] - Ruth Bedingfield
Absolutely. So I didn't just go in as PMO manager. I joined our PMO for Office Depot or Depot, as I hear regularly now Viking Direct as a PMO officer. And I think it was that opportunity that really clicked with me. I found something that really meshed well with my own core values. So PMO to me is helping people unlock and achieve things that they can't do by themselves, whether that's project success or governance obstacles, if we put it in PMO terms. But it was that real click that I can help people achieve more. So, yeah, I was PMO officer and then was really fortunate to get the opportunity to then take over and manage that team and really progress the PMO to where they are and where they continue to go and develop. As I'm sure you know, that PMOs are forever adapting and forever changing with the change that we all live with and work with. So, yeah, that was the basis there.
[00:07:34.140] - PMO Joe
What was the time before you manage the whole PMO and then obviously you're managing the PMO? I'm imagining some good lessons learned in that journey. Right? As a contributor, then as a leader, what were some of those for you?
[00:07:50.070] - Ruth Bedingfield
Yeah, absolutely. So I think I always like in PMO to being on the ocean. Sometimes it's forever changing, but the ground is never stable. Sometimes the waves are small and it's like a mill pond, sometimes it's like a storm and the waves are crashing down around you. But as a PMO, you learn and you adapt to ride those waves. I think agility and adaptability were really key for me to be able to grow in the role of the PMO Officer. When I first joined, there was very little consistency, very little transparency. We were very siloed in the way that we supported, even from a governance framework perspective. Different functions had different ways of governing, which is not necessarily bad, but when they're combative against each other, it makes for a really tricky work life. We were really seen as a project police. We weren't that support or the advisory role that we really, truly should be. There wasn't any clarity, even from within the department or our leaders, as to what our strategy was, what the roadmap was. So it was a real eye opener to see how that can really create a combative sort of atmosphere to work in and people would just do everything to avoid us.
[00:09:12.590] - Ruth Bedingfield
So I took it upon myself and it was my mission at that point to start talking to people and to get them to and to listen for me to understand and then feedback what their concerns were, why they were avoiding us, what did they want from their PMO, what did they see as what PMO could do for them? So it was a real from that grounding. I've never forgotten that lesson that you've got two ears and one mouth for that reason, double listening, one talking. And it was really that that allowed me to understand what my customers wanted from me and how I could help them achieve what they wanted to get to and help others understand as well what PMO can bring.
[00:09:58.510] - PMO Joe
Yeah, we hear that so often the project police, right, that the PMO is non value add. They're just trying to make sure we follow a process. They don't understand the business and the reality is of a high functioning PMO that couldn't be further from the truth, right? It's the opposite. We're a service organization supporting the organization achieve their objectives through project execution. I'm sure it's not a simple story, right? Oh, we flipped the switch and it worked. What was that journey like to be able to try to turn that around?
[00:10:34.430] - Ruth Bedingfield
So it was a really interesting journey. When I was able to sort of get hold of the reigns, I was really fortunate to also have the support of some really strong open minded leaders and sponsors as well as PMO that really felt the value. I think that was one key benefit that I certainly benefited from within our organization. But we did a full reset. I said to everybody, just stop, it's not working. We're firefighting, for instance. We're chasing tails, we're not proactively listening. We need to stop. That's exactly what we did. And we went back to basics. And when I say basics, I think we had four core things that we followed. We followed what's the strategy? Not just from an organization perspective, but what's the PMO strategy? Have we ever had one? And we identified that we didn't. Then we sat down as a team and we discussed where we felt we were as a PMO and where we wanted to be. So then we built our own roadmap and we created simple steps to say, well, if our goal is over here to the left in time, then how are we going to get there?
[00:11:49.120] - Ruth Bedingfield
And we made sure that the steps that we put in place were achievable. We didn't want to boil the ocean. We knew that we had to do this gradually and also we had to take our key stakeholders and our audience along with us. So we had to do it carefully. And the framework we realized that we had in place was not fit for purpose. We didn't understand what the leadership wanted. And ultimately it was really simple. They just wanted to know progress, cost benefit and scope. So those key four things, they weren't bothered how they received the information, they weren't bothered what the information was in the sense as show me good and show me bad, don't hide things, which was really key as well. They were really frank to say, we want to see everything. So that's what we worked on. We had to find a way to be able to be transparent, to make sure that we listened and understood how we needed to progress as a PMO into that advisory role. So people came to us with openness and transparency so that we could help them and they understood that we were there to support them achieve more.
[00:13:01.200] - PMO Joe
And I think that's so important for our listeners to pick up on, right, is you didn't try to force on the organization with the PMO should be you helped shape the PMO for what the organization was saying it needed it to be. Right? Is that correct? Am I following?
[00:13:19.330] - Ruth Bedingfield
No, that's exactly right. Joe and I have to say we transformed our strategy probably three times because we had to align with the organization, because the organization changed and what worked for a certain period of time wouldn't have worked for the future. And I think it's that adaptability within PMO and the attitudes within PMO that really then drive the organization to say, well, actually they are value add. They do want to support us in what we want to achieve, but they're helping us do so with structure.
[00:13:56.590] - PMO Joe
Yeah. I think it takes a certain kind of leader to be able to guide that sort of transformation and having the openness to not try to stand above it all and say, well, I'm in charge of this, we're going to do it my way. Right? I mean, you have to be able to be able to read the room and to be able to understand the organization's needs and what they're telling you. So where does that come from? Right? Because not everybody is built that way. You had the courage and the capability to be able to do that. How does Ruth have that in her? Where did I come from?
[00:14:29.140] - Ruth Bedingfield
So again, I think it's part of my own core values. I am driven and I have such thrill from helping people and seeing people achieve what they want to achieve. Knowing that I've been part of that part of it is quite natural to me. But also some of it is learned from being a PMO officer. Also acknowledging that you have to you're dealing with multiple stakeholders all the time, whether they are your team, whether they are project managers, whether they're resource managers, whether they're C suite. You have to be adaptable. And again, always two ears, one mouth. It's the listening factor. And really actively listening as opposed to just hearing, I think, as well. It was really articulating in a very simple, clear way that I'm there to understand and guide as an SME, because that's my job. I'm the PMO, not them. So let me help you with my knowledge and my expertise rather than dictate and obstruct. Let me support you. Let me give you some parameters. I used an analogy with our project managers. It was like a bowling alley and I said, PMO and our framework will be your bumpers. You can bowl your ball and I will ensure you will not fall down that gully.
[00:15:55.370] - Ruth Bedingfield
Where your ball will end up will be down to you. It was that sort of partnership, I guess, with them to see that I will be there and I will tell them if things are wrong, I will report transparently. So if you're also not telling me honestly, you'll be caught. But I'm here to help and listen, we were that sort of a team and I was really lucky that I had a team behind me that back to that principle.
[00:16:24.410] - PMO Joe
So I think you said about five years or so you were in the PMO.
[00:16:28.610] - Ruth Bedingfield
[00:16:31.170] - PMO Joe
What was the progression of that journey over time? Did that take six months, a year? How quickly or slowly did all of that move?
[00:16:39.480] - Ruth Bedingfield
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to start leading the team quite early on in that journey. So I had a good year of solid PMO officer experience thrown in, in the deep, end all the challenges and then sort of maybe five, six years in PMO. But yeah, four and a half, five years as the manager. And again, the first year was all about the gentle framework. Let's guide and let's start allowing our organization to see that we can deliver success, we can support that delivery of success and then grow from there. One of the key pivots for me as well within that, and I'm going to plug KeyedIn, but it was getting a Ppm tool and it could have been anyone, but from then we went through the vendor selection and everything, but having one source of the truth where everything was pumped in and everything was drawn from all the outcomes came from one place. People then started to see the consistency, the transparency, and they really had confidence in what they were receiving from an outputs perspective. But that journey there took a good three years to get to that confidence level where we were seen as a value add department within the organization.
[00:17:56.760] - Ruth Bedingfield
So that we weren't challenged on our data, but we were used from an analysis perspective by the leadership team. That took a good three years of hard graft. Yeah.
[00:18:09.220] - PMO Joe
It's so common. We hear today as we go out, PMO squad goes out and works with clients to help them with their PMOs. Can you get this done in the next six months? Right. And what you've shared is what we try to share as well as maturity takes time. Right. You can't just wish to be mature. It's an evolution. What's the kind of the message that you would have for PMO leaders out there today about this sort of transformation? They would have to go on to help them share with their organization and set expectations for what to expect. As you transform into this new service.
[00:18:44.030] - Ruth Bedingfield
Based PMO, the underlying tone of all messages has to always have in mind your audience, and they want to know what's in it for them. So as long as you can articulate your goals in a way that translates into what they know that they're going to get from you, that always helps take them on the journey with you. For us, it was consistency and transparency. We had a roadmap. We created that as a team, and we checked ourselves with our leadership to make sure that we were continually aligned with the organization strategy. Within the lifetime of my PMO management, we went through three transformations and the Pandemic so business strategy changed multiple times within that. We were divested from the US. From the global side to European only, and we had to switch and pivot there. And the roadmap changed each time. And I think the reason that we remained strong and still had the growth and the maturity within the PMO to be that value add function was because we were consistent and we didn't shy away from continually sharing what's next. And also we shared what's failed. I think that was a real key because I was really transparent.
[00:20:01.320] - Ruth Bedingfield
I protected the team as such, and it was me being the face of PMO as their leader, I'm not going to ask them to do something I'm not willing to do myself. So we went on that journey with our key stakeholders with multiple different leadership, but we were consistent and we were transparent. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
[00:20:21.930] - PMO Joe
That'S so important for everyone to know. You can't build trust in your organization if you're not transparent. And as much as you don't want to ever fail, we do. We're humans, right? We're fallible, and we have to be able to own those and learn from them to be able to get the organization to trust us to know that, hey, it's going to be okay. We've got a good leader in charge there now through this story. Thank you for sharing all of that. I think that's so important to set the stage of the next part of your journey, right? As you had mentioned, KeyedIn had become your tool of choice, and something started to happen with you using that tool and you're working with that company, right? And ultimately you're now with KeyedIn, right? So give us the second stage of the story, right? You help this PMO on a transformation. Then you go through a transformation personally to go to an organization. So share that with us.
[00:21:20.050] - Ruth Bedingfield
Yeah, of course. So ultimately, even from first engagement with KeyedIn, I felt instantly comfortable. Very much like me, they were very open. They were very open about what they can do, but also what they can't do. And I really appreciated that we were going through vendor selection. We were getting so much information thrown at us, but this one really felt like it wasn't a hard sell. So I instantly had a bit more of a connection with the people that we were dealing with. Then as we embedded the tool, we had the continual support from KeyedIn but with the encouragement to be very self served on that. Stand on your Own 2ft but we're here to catch you if you fall very much that attitude and ultimately it was the way that KeyedIn made me feel as a customer. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be part of that organization that cared so deeply for their customers that they're willing to go over and above and also make other customers feel like that. And I think that was the driving part. We're so customer centric here at KeyedIn. Like I said, we're honest and we're open and everything is inclusive, even internally.
[00:22:35.640] - Ruth Bedingfield
But also with our customers, nothing's off the table. There's no taboo question or anything like that. I feel really myself having jumped over the other side of the fence, should we say? And to be completely transparent with you, Joe, my core values are being really rocked by another transformation in Viking and I had to really take stock and understand that the future of the organization in Viking wasn't going in the same way that my values were going. And it was a really difficult decision leaving the people your head always, you know, there's always that head and heart battle. But to be true to myself and to be authentic, I had to make that decision that I can either stick with my team or trust that I've given them the best footing to continue to be successful and follow what's in my heart and where I need to go as an individual. And I think KeydIn just fit perfectly at that moment. I always believe things happen for a reason. I'm very much a believer of you are where you're exactly meant to be and I think that's why I'm here.
[00:23:51.090] - PMO Joe
Well, and I think you did something that not a lot of people do, right? You have to have courage so that when opportunity knocks, you're willing to answer the door and a lot of people hear opportunity knocking and they move away from the door because the status quo is just easier. We try to talk about this a lot on the show is that as project leaders and PMO leaders we have to be the ones willing to run into the fire. We have to have that sort of courage baked into us because this job just demands that we be that type of person. And when we bring on guests that have answered the call and done that, I hope it's a validation to everybody out there that you can have success after you answer the opportunity knock, right? And you're just another example in this long list of guests we've had that have taken that chance. And now you've found more joy and more success afterwards.
[00:24:46.950] - Ruth Bedingfield
I'd also say that the opportunity knocks within PMO as well. So, you know, like, you talk there about the status quo. That is so true. You get so stuck in, well, we've always done it this way. And that was one of the pivotal moments within our PMO when we all came together and we said, this is really stagnant, this isn't, this isn't working. And we were talking about our governance framework. We had already started identifying that there needed to be flex. And the reason for that is we were as an organization, looking at the agile methodologies and incorporating more of that sort of delivery method within change. And there was two in and throwing between us and ultimately we went as a team to our core leadership team and we gave them some options and the challenge was, but we haven't ever done it like that. And I said, well, why not try? Why should we not try? We have an opportunity as we incorporate new ways of working, new ways of delivery, let's mix it up. If it doesn't work, we know we've got a method that does. We'll try something new so that opportunity knocks is a really good point within the PMO world as well.
[00:26:05.350] - PMO Joe
All right, so opportunity knocks and KeyedIn is on the other side of the door. But how does that transition happen, right? I mean, how do you determine which role you're going to take with them? They are the dark side, right? It's the software vendor. They can't be someone that's going to help us. But you had worked with them already, so built some relationships. Tell us how you get into the role where you're at today and how you're able to help continue that service that you received as a customer onward to other customers as well.
[00:26:37.650] - Ruth Bedingfield
So I'm a customer Success Manager, which sings to my heart here at Kedan, and I hope that I do provide a rounded level of support for our customers. I always ensure that I am empathetic with our customers when they come to me with other challenges or questions. And I think that because I can draw on real life experience and put myself in their shoes, that it really helps them understand that I get it. If I speak with a customer towards month end, I can sense and I feel their urgency to end the call because it's reporting or if a report hasn't quite drawn out the data that they need, I can sense that angst to make it work and to make it right. But also I can see the joy when they get there and I love that. It's incredible to be able to be part of that as well. And I think as a team, we're almost like a multifaceted gem. I bring that customer experience and product knowledge from a customer perspective. So I'm not vendor. I know the product as a user and I can take that back to our product team and I can say.
[00:27:54.440] - Ruth Bedingfield
Hey. This is brilliant functionality. But we need it to tweak because it doesn't quite work in real life or a customer has advised a different way of doing something and I think that could really work because of it's just that additional voice that supports the customer. And Keith really is shaped by our customers and what they need. So it's unlike any other vendor that I've ever experienced before in my PMO career.
[00:28:25.770] - PMO Joe
One of the things I'll mention just because I've worked with KeyedIn as well, just to be transparent with everybody, right? This isn't necessarily a KeyedIn commercial, but they do some things really well. And they have out on their website now a series called the KeyedIn Mastering Series, where they've invited myself, Laura Bernard, Andy Jordan and Mike Hannah to come on and talk about topics like resource planning and portfolio management and prioritization as a service to customers coming out to a software site. You can then get some industry expertise to give you some best practice on how to help in those business functions. So yes, of course they want you to buy their software, but they know that their service to their customer base goes beyond just a software product, right? It's how can we help you be successful? They know it's a full suite of services, not just one. And that's what I like about what Key Den does and it's kind of what you're sharing as well. When you were a customer, you felt that, right, and you wanted to go be a part of it. So certainly encourage everybody to learn more about KeyedIn and this Mastering Series, but also just learn more about how you're sharing your experiences as well.
[00:29:40.950] - PMO Joe
So with that mindset, what is kind of that evolution, right? So, as you mentioned, you're a customer success leader. Now, I don't know if you can give examples or if you can maybe without names, but give us an example of what that means. What does that job mean? If I'm the customer and you're on the other end of the line because I'm frustrated because you're just a software vendor, how do you really help them understand that you're more than that?
[00:30:09.090] - Ruth Bedingfield
Again, two is one mouth. So always listening. And it's really important for me to be able to articulate to our customers that this is definitely a partnership. I'm successful when they're successful, I'm there not to drive sales or increase revenue or anything like that. I'm there to make sure that they are getting the maximum value that is right for them. Not right for me, but right for them. So roadmap is really key, I think, understanding what's next for my customer. So whether that's immediate next steps, whether it's 36, 12, 18 months down the. Line and then allowing them to know that as a KeyedIn expert now or a customer success leader, I can advise them of how we can support them, achieve those goals. But we're also really transparent to say that's really good, that's business, or actually that's a brilliant next objective. You need to continue what you're doing to make sure you've got that stability and maturity within the data, for instance. So it's now having that forward looking or future view with our customers and really getting to know them in the way that I felt that I was known as a customer.
[00:31:34.110] - PMO Joe
You mentioned earlier when you were doing your introduction, your husband is in military service and you travel around a bit. So in this post covet world, or I guess we're still during COVID world, I guess this is the new world order. When we got to first meet each other. I think you were in your childhood bedroom as we were chatting, right?
[00:31:55.170] - Ruth Bedingfield
[00:31:56.050] - PMO Joe
So life within KeyedIn, I think allows you to be a good wife as well and support your family as your husband's assignments travel. Is that true?
[00:32:04.440] - Ruth Bedingfield
Absolutely. Yeah. No, absolutely. People talk about work, home life, balance, but for me, balance sort of indicates that something could be out of kilter. So for me, blend is better. Sometimes I need to give more to work and to customers and I have the support of my family behind me that understand that, but then Keith and is very understanding and the fact that sometimes that blend has to shift slightly and family, you know, family is first always in Keenan's eyes. So there is a great blend here at Kead. I feel 100% supported and as I said, even internally, nothing is off the table, everything is open for discussion and I don't feel previously with previous employers, I think I would have been slightly hesitant maybe to raise some topics that I've already raised at Keyden because of corporate attitudes, let's say. But I don't feel as if that I feel as if I'm talking to an extended family.
[00:33:05.800] - PMO Joe
Yeah. And that comfort probably allows you then to be able to serve customers better. Right? Because you are not on edge, you're not concerned with what you're going to do. Right. You've got the support of your company to support you. So really smart move by KeyedIn and the other companies that are doing that sort of support for their employees because really it's customer service that they're providing because they're making sure their employees have what they need to be successful.
[00:33:30.030] - Ruth Bedingfield
Absolutely. And as I said, nothing is off the table. And even today I'm asking questions around the group for expertise in specific areas that maybe I know that is a potential gap for me or where I need to expand my knowledge slightly and everybody comes in and offers that support or the guidance and help. So you're never left floating, should I say there's a real sense of community within the organization and I think that really is passed down to our customers because that's ultimately what we want to achieve that partnership feel. And they're an extended part of us, almost.
[00:34:13.110] - PMO Joe
Obviously critical to be able to have that cultural fit that you've already shared with us. But also the tool has to work, right? I mean if you were at Office Depot and you're like, man, this thing just a piece of junk, I can't work at it, you're never going to go leave and join them, right? So what is it about the tool that works? Again, there are so many choices for PMO leaders out there to pick software to be able to help them or even fall back on the standards like Microsoft Project and Excel and Word and those. So why key then? What about it made you comfortable enough to look for the culture? Because there was success with the tool.
[00:34:55.110] - Ruth Bedingfield
I think just to underpin all this, the tool can only be as good as the data you put in. And we've been through iterations of really poor data and it does create misguided frustration where people think it's actually the tool when if you take a step back it's actually, it's poor data creating poor outcomes. However, with KeyedIn, it's such a rounded product, it really can be the central source of truth. It can be for timesheet tracking. So you're getting your budgets. Project managers have everything they need to be fully equipped. We had nonproject managers managing projects and because KeyedIn is so adaptable and intuitive, they were able to follow really simple steps, really simple guidelines and manage a project through to success or sometimes failure. But they had everything they needed in one place without formal project management training. I think that was a real tell for me that this product is really solid. Resource management gives really good transparency and I think once you've got strong data in the resource management area of the product. It really supports those poor resource managers that are screaming and shouting that they are over capacity.
[00:36:18.040] - Ruth Bedingfield
They're over demanded. They have too much work and you can show without emotion just using data from one place. That exact fact and they feel so empowered when they've got that behind them. Again, another real win for us in the PMO was to be able to say we can't do that project. If we do, this is the impact, or if you need us to make this change, then we need to have this many more people. So it really did empower strategic decision making rather than he who shouts loudest, wins sort of conversations. So that's sort of the basis. But then roll up to portfolio management. You can do genuine portfolio management. And I know from colleagues, as a PMO manager, from stakeholders as a PMO manager, from colleagues in other areas using other tools, portfolio management means different things to different people. But if we take it in its core what KeyedIn allows you to do is not just the bottom up planning and group projects under programs under portfolios, but also the top down. So you can look at that key strategic layer, have key strategic deliverables and roll it down cascade that to see what it looks like within one place.
[00:37:43.470] - Ruth Bedingfield
You can then also within the tool which I found really useful during the pandemic I have to say is scenario plan. So taking the data that you've already got in the system and it could be simple data just what the change is, what the change is going to cost is the benefit if that's important to your organization and who do you need taking those four key points you can pluck the data, live up and out the tool and start scenario planning. You can create what if scenarios and we did that in Office Depot within the pandemic. We had to very quickly pivot when we lost a lot of people due to covet and really hunkering down to make the organization sustainable. And without that scenario planning being able to with data again, that's really important to say. Okay, based on our strategic ranking, these are our top projects, this is our waterline, this is what's out. It allowed us to pivot and change the portfolio within a matter of I think we following our approval process. It took us probably about eight days in total to get from one portfolio three different what if scenarios to the new version to sustain us through the pandemic.
[00:39:09.190] - Ruth Bedingfield
So it was a real and I wouldn't have been able to do that without Keating excel would have taken me weeks to do and I think it's that the multifaceted area within the portfolio analysis that really sets it apart for me anyway as a user and you've.
[00:39:28.210] - PMO Joe
Been on both sides of the fence. Right obviously as a user and now as someone who's supporting users. What do you think the experience has how that's helped you being on both sides to be able to know who knows what's next. Obviously there's no desire to leave KeyedIn or anything like that. But you're going to continue to evolve in your role now that maybe you're seeing something on the key inside that you didn't see as a customer. It's probably made you more well rounded and your ability to support what's kind of the key takeaway now that you've been on both sides.
[00:40:01.650] - Ruth Bedingfield
So I'm always going back to my customers and checking did you know especially to that point Joe, I have experienced a lot more. Like you said the wellrounded as we've said, KeyedIn is quite configurable. So we had in Office Depot our system configured to what our organizational needs were. There's a lot more out there within the functionality of the tool. So task planning for instance, assignment based scheduling, I didn't use that. Now I can really grow in my knowledge there and take that back to my customers and say. Hey. Did you know if you did that you can get this or even cool little report tricks that I didn't know as a customer that I know now. I'm immediately sharing that with customers saying. Hey. Did you know we've started tips and tricks videos that I record and waffle over. But we share those with customers as well. Saying don't forget you can do this. And it's things like that. It's just relaying that back to our customers to make sure that they have that roundedness as well within their own knowledge. Because knowledge is not power, knowledge is for sharing, let's face it.
[00:41:14.210] - Ruth Bedingfield
What am I going to do? If only I know about a really cool report widget, it's not going to benefit me necessarily. I need to tell my customers.
[00:41:22.210] - PMO Joe
So yeah, so what do you think? Again, we're talking about KeyedIn because that's where you are, but just in general to folks who lead PMOs, but they're afraid of the technology because it may tell a story that doesn't make their PMO look good and it's like, oh man, I don't know if I want to do this. So they don't take full advantage of what the technology offers. What does technology provide for a PMO leader?
[00:41:50.740] - Ruth Bedingfield
PMOs need to be brave and they need to accept that to be a successful PMO they have to be transparent and that is reporting both sides of the picture. And technology, any Ppm that allows visibility of data really empowers PMO to remove emotion from decision making. That was a real stepping stone for me as well when I could go back to key leaders, key sponsors, key stakeholders, and say, hey, I know you're shouting and screaming to get your change done, but look at the data. It's going to cost X and will only get Y, which means that all these other changes are above it. Do you want to take this data away and have a discussion at your peer level and offer them back the choice? Do you still want to fight for this change? But without the technology to be able to collect that information and hold the data true, I wouldn't have been able to do that. So I think for PMO leaders, again, it goes back to his or mouth, listen, but be brave with it as well and have confidence. You're the expert within here. People can talk down to PMO.
[00:43:08.250] - Ruth Bedingfield
I had it where the CIO of our organization didn't even know what PMO was. So again, education, talk to people, be really open and don't pretend you're something you're not as well. I think when we took that step back and we did our reset and we identified what we were currently as a PMO, which wasn't really the value added, it wasn't the advisory or the guidance role. Own it, say, hey, we know we're not there yet, but we want to be more and we need you to support us to be more. And then from a technology perspective, start simply. Don't try and overcomplicate it and just allow it to be your support, allow it to be your crooks. But you must have consistency and transparency. Did I answer that question, Joe? Sorry.
[00:43:58.790] - PMO Joe
Yes, absolutely. As you're speaking, I'm thinking of other questions because you provide such great perspective that isn't so ProPMO. And I wonder where that's rooted, because we only went back in history, about five years within the PMO career, would help shape your mindset prior to that because you really do approach that with the mindset of it's okay for me to show that I'm not doing well and that we need to change. And that's so hard for so many people to do. So there had to be something along the way that kind of empowered you to know that that would be okay and that you'd be in a safe place even if you did that.
[00:44:44.810] - Ruth Bedingfield
Generally in my life, I'm quite an honest person anyway, and I don't see holding my hands up and saying help as a weakness. I see that as actually I am acknowledging and I'm quite self aware that I can't do this alone or I am failing. Please, could someone help me? This is going to sound really silly, but when I was my very first job, I worked in a dry cleaners and I was front of house, taking the clothes in and giving the clean clothes out. I stayed there as my Saturday job. And one Saturday I was able to actually go back a shop and start helping with the cleaning of the clothes. And I got the chemicals wrong and I tried to hide it and I just came for all of that. And I think the way that I felt about being dishonest for hiding it and also the way that the customer felt, I saw the customer's reaction because I had damaged their clothes and I never wanted to make anyone feel like that again. And had I just said, is that the right one or am I doing this right? Maybe that could have been avoided.
[00:45:57.720] - Ruth Bedingfield
And I think that was a life lesson at 16 to say, if you're genuinely not sure, just ask, because what's the worst that can happen?
[00:46:06.870] - PMO Joe
Yeah. I mean, that's so powerful. And we think with project managers, if we do weekly status reports every week, we have the opportunity when necessary to turn a project red. But so many project managers don't because they think it's a reflection of their ability to lead a project. And what you're just saying is you're about to ruin their clothes. Tell them it's red because they can help you.
[00:46:33.210] - Ruth Bedingfield
[00:46:34.090] - PMO Joe
But you have to know you can learn from that, right?
[00:46:37.650] - Ruth Bedingfield
Absolutely. It is such a powerful thing to be able to say, I need help here, and it empowers other people to step in that was one really key thing with our project sponsors as well, using KeyedIn Publish two function. I know I keep saying it, but as a customer, we use the publish two and the escalation path that's built into the system. And we created a really simple dashboard for our sponsors. And if something turned red on that dashboard, they were on it. They were on it so quickly. And the path to green was meant so much faster because it was visible and they knew that they had to then step up. And it was that gentle encouragement to say, ask for help. Ask for help. What do you need? What do you need that our PM felt more confident in actually saying help and knowing that their heads weren't going to get chopped off.
[00:47:33.490] - PMO Joe
I love that because it's so important for especially young project managers who may never have had their head chopped off yet. They're like, oh, no, I'm about to put my project red. I'll make it yellow instead, and then nobody will get mad at me. It isn't about getting mad at the project manager. It's about showing the true status of the project to get the help that you talked about. Right. Because an engaged sponsor is the number one reason for project success. Being read can keep them engaged. I mean, we don't want to be read. We'd love it would go well, but projects don't they don't always go well.
[00:48:09.700] - Ruth Bedingfield
No. That's the nature of the ocean that we ride, right? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
[00:48:14.450] - PMO Joe
Complete side note for everybody that's listening. Before the show started, I was talking with our producer and Ruth and others about this. Put in the comments if you don't know who Nirvana is. I'm learning there's a generation of people out there who do not know who the band Nirvana is. And I don't know if that makes me feel old or if it makes them feel as if they should know who Nirvana is. So I'm going through a personal turmoil today trying to understand we should put.
[00:48:44.420] - Ruth Bedingfield
The Wiki page to Nirvana on Joe.
[00:48:47.070] - PMO Joe
We can add that in the world. Cannot forget Nirvana. Please, if you don't know who Nirvana is, go research them and make sure that you're aware of who they are. And the Food Fighters. The Brad Dave Girls Band. Who came afterwards? Not the Food Fighters, but the Foo Fighters. And we want to make sure that people know them as well. Ruth, this has been awesome. It's been a great conversation because frankly, I think just your natural ability to communicate helps me feel at ease right when you're talking and letting me know that, hey, this person's been there before and done that and I can learn from her. So it would be some maybe last words of encouragement or advice for people who are either starting their career, maybe starting as a new PMO leader, to be able to help them have some perspective about what they're about their journey. They're going to go on, I think.
[00:49:45.010] - Ruth Bedingfield
Go steady on yourself. Don't try and boil the ocean. Do things simply. My father in law is a plumber, a heating and engineer plumber, and he always tells me that if you tighten the tap too tight, it will start to leak. So sometimes enough is just enough. So I always keep that in my mind as well when approaching things. And certainly as a PMO manager, is what you're doing enough? And if it is, then it's enough. And that's brilliant. Two is one mouth always works brilliantly. Be a listener, be an active listener. Really take on board and don't be afraid of flexibility. Things change. We live with change daily. You need to just sometimes take it on the chin. That what works. Just today needs to change today. And it's not a reflection on you, it's actually your flexibility and agility. To be able to change is a real positive reflection on PMO. And I'd say, just go for it. Listen to what your stakeholders need and see how you can deliver that and help them support and achieve that success.
[00:50:53.530] - PMO Joe
Perfect. And I always like the different use of phrasing and words, the toings and froings you had said earlier. And brilliant is kind of the British version of awesome, I guess we said.
[00:51:10.660] - Ruth Bedingfield
[00:51:13.280] - PMO Joe
So, Ruth, folks, we've got your LinkedIn profile here up on screen, but how can folks get in touch with you and learn more about what you do and KeyedIn and how can I help?
[00:51:22.940] - Ruth Bedingfield
Yeah, absolutely. As you say, please feel free to connect with me directly on Keyden or follow KeyedIn on LinkedIn as well. I think, Joe, you've got some options there for people to find that as well. But yeah, just have a search for keyding and please feel free to connect with us.
[00:51:40.780] - PMO Joe
Awesome. Brilliant. Thank you, Ruth. This has been great. And of course, thank you to all of our listeners. I saw you were joining from the state and the UK and around the world. Be sure to visit the PMO Squad website so you can see all of our upcoming guests, as well as all 107 previous shows that we've had, are all out there on the PMO Squad site. We have an incredible lineup of guests joining us for the rest of the year. Dr. Robert Jocelyn will be joining us in our next show. We'll follow that up in September with Milan Dordovich and Mate Sivira. Trek. Via will be joining with PMI. They'll be discussing the Citizen Developer Program. Chris Bragg and some of his colleagues from the PMO Global Alliance will be joining us to talk about their health care initiative. And Sanjay Augustine will be our final show of the year. A reminder, of course, as I said at the beginning, these shows were live, but we do record them, so they're all available on your favorite podcast platform. Be sure to subscribe to Project Management office hours on Apple podcast. I heard radio, spotify speaker, whatever your platform of choice may be.
[00:52:54.370] - PMO Joe
And thank you to our sponsors, the PMO Squad and the PMO Leader, Global Community. The PMO Squad is one of the premier project management consulting firms in the United States and now a finalist for Phoenix Small Business of the Year. So go out and check that out. And then, as I mentioned at the beginning, the PMO Leader Global Community is having their annual conference on October 18. That's free for all to register, so I highly encourage you to go out and do that as well. That's it for now. Office Hours are closed. Until next time. PMO Joe And you've been listening to Project Management office hours.
[00:53:34.090] - Announcer
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