«Wellingtone are not your usual PMO training partner. They’re forward-thinking and innovative. They don’t just deliver training – they provide all kinds of extra value. They gave us the inspiration not just to replicate, but to innovate and make things better, just as Dyson does every day for our customers.«
From Command and Control to Collaboration and Innovation
On joining Dyson in 2018, Bobby was struck by the impressive calibre of the IT PMO team but saw that their skills were being underutilised. «My metaphor was that it’s like using an iPad as a vegetable chopping board!» he recalls. «We had these really capable people who were being deployed to deliver minutes and actions and lengthy Word documents. For me, this approach didn’t add value – either to our people’s careers paths or to Dyson’s business strategy, which is taking us into new markets and technologies all the time.»
Bobby identified the need to resolve these issues by addressing the PMO culture. «We needed people who could be deployed like Ninjas,» he says. «I wanted to see our PMO people empowered to use their intelligence, skills and judgement to run programmes in a thematic and strategic manner. In turn, I wanted to enable our Programme Managers to focus more on important external factors, such as benefits realisation and stakeholder management. The overall concept was to create a culture where the whole PMO acts as a Chief Operating Officer, supporting the Programme Managers who act as Chief Executive Officer.»
Rewriting the PMO Training Rulebook
Bobby recognised the importance of cultural and behavioural development in effecting this transformation. So, he explains, the priority was «to ensure that we had a really good training programme in place. We knew that simply reinventing ourselves as this amazing problem-solving team would not be enough. We needed the accreditation and confidence to back that statement up.»
Having researched the market, Bobby identified Wellingtone as the right choice to act as Dyson’s training partner. «It was clear to me that Wellingtone was the only training organisation offering just the right course for what I was trying to achieve with my team. It was vital that their APM accredited PMO Practitioner Course could be tailored to our transformation objectives and organisational identity. Wellingtone shared that commitment. I was in no doubt that they offered what I needed.»
From the beginning, Wellingtone engaged fully with Bobby to design a bespoke approach for Dyson within the PMO Practitioners’ Course framework. «It was a huge plus for me that Emma (Emma Arnaz-Pemberton, Director of Consulting Services for Wellingtone) performed a two-day assessment,» he points out.
«She got to know our identity and requirements thoroughly before she even started working with our people. We discussed the approach in detail and, when I mentioned using Jungian Archetypes as a key training component, she was receptive and clearly well versed in the concept. It was refreshing to talk to someone about how psychology plays a vital part in building relationships at work. For a PMO to be truly effective, complete trust must be established between the PMO, Programme Leads and Programme Managers. It’s not just about having years of experience or PRINCE2TM on your CV. It’s about equipping Programme Managers to delegate strategies and decisions that they are ultimately accountable for, with full confidence that they can trust the PMO to deliver. Emma completely understood that from the beginning.»
Successful PMO Transformation and a Global Rollout in a Rapid Time Scale
A cultural transformation from command and control to collaboration and innovation is typically not easy to deliver. In this case, though, the calibre of Emma’s skills and experience combined with the enthusiasm of Dyson’s PMO team resulted in astonishing success from the off. «Emma’s approach was unique,» Bobby says. «It wasn’t just about the technical PMO skills, although those were covered thoroughly. The whole process inspired our PMO team. We shared our thoughts and ideas as well as developing our technical skills. The training gave us a space to encourage, understand and empower each other as team members, and to learn helpful lessons from Emma’s extensive cross-industry PMO expertise.»
In just a few months, the results have been striking, according to Bobby. «It’s been incredible to witness our PMO team’s development over the past few months. From a starting point where the whole PMO was very reactive to external factors, our people now have the strength and confidence to use their skills and ideas to fix things. In turn, our Programme Managers are free to focus on the wider strategy, confident in the knowledge that their programmes are in safe hands. For me, that validates everything we’re trying to do. And essentially, that’s Dyson. Our whole ethos is built on the notion of making life better, by fixing things that other people ignore. I wanted to build a PMO that reflects that philosophy. I wanted to give our people that drive to try new things, find a better way and deliver it. With Wellingtone’s help, I feel we’re succeeding in those aims.»
The training programme has been so successful that it has rapidly progressed to a global rollout. «We’ve just finished training 320 new people in Chicago, Japan, Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea and the UK,» Bobby says. «Our people have embraced the experience and they’re hungry for more! So, we’re currently designing phase two of the programme, which will focus on the PMO’s external communication and collaboration strategy. We can do the IT change really well: now it’s about bringing the wider Dyson community on the journey with us as we develop new programmes and a more end-to-end, strategic PMO approach.»
From his own experience, Bobby does not hesitate in recommending Wellingtone to others seeking PMO training and transformational services and has no doubt that Dyson’s own partnership with them will be an enduring one. «Wellingtone have been instrumental in getting us this far and we remain keen for them to support us, even as our own capabilities grow stronger. They are not your usual PMO training partner. They’re forward thinking and innovative. They don’t just deliver training – they provide all kinds of extra value. They gave us the inspiration not just to replicate, but to innovate and make things better, just as Dyson does every day for our customers.»
Bobby will be speaking at this year’s Future PMO conference with a detailed account of how Dyson, APM’s Company of the Year 2018, delivered this rapidly effective PMO transformation programme on a global scale.
«It was clear to me that Wellingtone was the only training organisation offering just the right course for what I was trying to achieve with my team. It was vital that their APM accredited PMO Practitioner Course could be tailored to our transformation objectives and organisational identity. Wellingtone shared that commitment. I was in no doubt that they offered what I needed.«
Dyson have been awarded ‘PMO of the Year’ in the PMI National Project Awards 2019.