2016 Retrospective

Along the end of a year and the beginning of a new one it is common to reflect and to identify whatever did not worked out well and what was successful during the year about to end. Frequently, during the last days of December we build up an introspective environment that leads us to formulate the goals and purposes for the upcoming year both in our personal and professional areas. It is very similar to a gathering of a retrospective session of a project’s sprint where the team members discuss the learned lessons in order to identify improvement opportunities. The debates during the Sprint retrospective meetings include whatever failed as well as whatever succeeded with the objective to learn and to improve in order to be prepared for the next Sprint. The main objectives of the meeting are to identify three specific aspects:

  1. Those things that the team must keep on doing: better practices
  2. Those things that the team need to change or start doing: process improvements
  3. Those things that the team needs to suppress: process problems and bottlenecking.

As a result of the retrospective sprint meeting there are several actions to be taken:

  1. To determine the points of action to make the necessary improvements.
  2. Each activity must have a deadline to be performed and to be considered completed.
  3. To prioritize the product back log with the requirements that might arise along the retrospective session.
  4. To document learned lessons, to learn from past mistakes made during the Sprint. Also to recognize and assimilate the positive lessons learned during a Sprint.

In this sense and trying to apply the retrospective process to my private and professional life I have been identifying, documenting and interiorizing the lessons learned during 2016, making an action plan to capitalize all the experiences lived through the ending year.

From the professional point of view, this retrospective has brought me to interiorize many good PMO and Portfolio Management practices that have added a lot of value to the organizations with which I collaborate. In this retrospective I have thought about the chain value of the PMO for the business and also it has been my turn to question some practices. The conclusions from my retrospection are summed up into four aspects to be focused on in 2017.

  1. In the management of informatics projects it is necessary to prioritize the projects more relevant to the business needs. To insist on the need for the visibility of the project’s portfolio is basic to be able to identify the priorities of the projects to be undertaken, to take investment decisions and to assign the resources.
  2. The value proposition: the generation value and the benefits achievement must be the main component of project management and programming for the PMO. It is the mean to determine not only the project´s ROI, but also of the PMO´s ROI itself. The value of the PMO consists of insuring a good project management, facilitating their success, anticipating and minimizing risks, and overall increasing the delivering possibilities of the value generated for the business by the informatics projects.
  3. Participation of customers and users: according to the consulting firm Standish Group, in an IT project, furthermore than the traditional time and cost measurements, other criteria must be applied to determine its success, such as the usage degree of the system or service, and that of profits where the project directly influences an efficiency increase of the enterprise.
  4. Data and adequate indicators to manage projects, programs and portfolio. Using the words of Edwards Deming, without relevant and trustworthy data the PMO reports are nothing more than an opinion.

From my own personal point of view, to make a retrospective of 2016 brings me to be extremely thankful to God, to my friends, my clients and especially to my family. No matter that Christmas is a time to celebrate life and to celebrate achievements it is also a time to set up new goals. Do not lose the focus and it is so that I advise you the following:

  1. Commit yourself to what you really want with a deep analysis.
  2. Optimize your resources, including this your time, your energy and your priorities.
  3. Give an adequate approach to reach it, being realistic, optimistic, disciplined and tenacious.
  4. Do not wait for 2018 to make the necessary changes. Change is the one constant that we have, so, if it is necessary to rectify,! do it !

I wish you a very special Christmas, full of happiness, peace and lots of love, and that the coming year gives you the opportunity to live new dreams. I wish you a happy 2017, full of new challenges, but over all love and health.

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