The value of an outsider’s perspective

Photograph of a large water-filled acrylic sphere sculpture outdoors. Distorted by the sphere is the caption "The value of an outsider’s perspective"

Recently I undertook a series of business planning sessions with business leadership coach Bekka Prideaux, which were aimed at helping me to work out what I want to achieve with my business and how to get it there. During the sessions, Bekka asked many questions – most of them were pretty simple, but required a lot of thought to answer.

What I wasn’t expecting were the insights and challenges that she came up with, along the lines of “have you ever considered doing x?”, or “so why aren’t you doing y yet?”, or “do you think if might be time to do some z?”

I consider myself an expert in my business, but with hindsight some of these were so plain to see that several times I found myself thinking “why didn’t I think of that?!”

Why was that?

An educated outsider helped me to identify some simple things I can do to make improvements to my business.

What could an educated outsider – a PMO consultant – do for your PMO?

You are an expert on your own PMO and your business, which means you have set everything up and you know all the ins and outs. It also means that sometimes you could become so involved in the day-to-day detail that you lose sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes you can’t see the wood for all the trees.

That’s where the view of an educated outsider (someone who understands the generic principles of what you are doing, but who is new to your particular business context) can be so useful.

A PMO consultant can look at your PMO dispassionately from an outsider’s perspective. A PMO consultant can spot similarities between your PMO in its business context with other PMOs in similar business contexts, and use their experience to suggest improvements. Improvements that you wouldn’t necessarily see, because you are immersed in your PMO day to day, and potentially so overwhelmed with frequently fighting fires that you haven’t been able to find the leaky pipe pouring petrol all over your projects.

Bekka suggested to me that the transferability of an outsider’s perspective between leadership coaching and PMO consultancy would be a good subject for short blog post, and I agreed.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?!

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Author: Ken Burrell

Ken Burrell is a Programme and Portfolio Office (PMO) Professional, who through his company Pragmatic PMO makes targeted improvements to PMO practices to add value to Projects, Programmes and Portfolios. He provides senior management with the analysis they need to make decisions, and gives project and programme managers the support they need to deliver solutions.

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