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January 20, 2020
PMs offer Non-Profits A Plan Forward
On February 19th, 2018, the 2nd annual Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS) for Hampton Roads was held at the Kroc Center in Norfolk, VA. The parent Non-Profit, PM4Change, held the first of its kind in Washington D.C. in 2014. In alignment with the overarching mission of PM4Change, PMDoS is a one-day community service event in which project managers provide pro bono project management skills to nonprofit leaders requiring assistance in assessing and project planning for their organizations to succeed. This year, Marathon Consulting along with the Project Management Institute of Hampton Roads (PMIHR) teamed up with Sandy Sekeet (PMIHR VP of Special Projects) and Gary Hansen (PMIHR VP of Treasury) to facilitate and sponsor this excellent event.
The PMDoS team engaged with leaders across several non-profits to discuss their current project management maturity and their overall needs for improving the organizations project management skills. These non-profits were encouraged to fill out a summary of their organization’s mission, current and future projects, as well as their desired focus for the day of service. This year’s participants were:
- Because of Grace Christian Training Center
- Firm Foundation of Virginia
- New Vision Youth Services
- Veterans HomeFront
In addition to these five organizations, ten project management professionals volunteered their time and expertise with the goal of providing a foundation of project planning and execution to the leaders who attended the event. It was a full day of service with planning time, break-out sessions, a guest speaker and time for networking over meals. Each non-profit walked away with the materials they helped develop during the event to allow them to hit the ground running when they got back to their offices.
This was an important day for PM4Change and the organizations who participated in Hampton Roads. As a PM who participated I wanted to elaborate on my own experience and why I look forward to this day every year. I had the opportunity to work with Juanita Dowdy, Sr. Director of Development, with ForKids. Today, ForKids is one of the largest providers for homeless families in Virginia, touching over 47,500 lives annually through its holistic housing programs and extended services for families. Juanita expressed her interest in learning how to enhance their planning, monitoring and control for their annual Marketing and Promotions.
In speaking with Juanita, I discovered early on that a combination of Project Management Principles and an Agile Project Management (for tracking work) approach would be the best fit. I based this assessment on the number of team members involved in supporting the projects, as well as the current pains in executing projects successfully, and the frequency at which work products were delivered. Below are the principles we discussed and steps laid out for enhancing ForKids’ project management maturity:
- Principle 1 ‘Projectizing’ the work within the annual Marketing activities.
- Step 1 – Identify a short list (2-4) of work products that are delivered annually based on Marketing activities.
- Step 2 – Identify a project manager role for each project.
- Step 3 – Define a scope statement (as short as one sentence and as long as a page) for each project.
- Step 4 – Break down the scope statement into smaller activities and put these activities into a list, attempt to order them based on priority.
- These activities should be led by a verb and be no more than 4-7 words. For example – ‘Write draft monthly newsletter for team review’.
- Principle 2 ‘Monitoring and Controlling’ (Agile Project Management) the work with the goal of successful on time delivery.
- Step 1 – Select a method of a recording and tracking activities such as a KanBan Board and/or online task management tool like Asana.
- Step 2 – Establish a daily 15 minute Stand-Up (preferably co-located) to review the following with each team member on the project:
- What did that team member work on yesterday?
- What are they working on today?
- What are they planning to work on tomorrow?
- Step 3 – Establish a bi-weekly/monthly project review meeting with senior level stakeholders.
I had the opportunity to follow up with Juanita two months after the PMDoS event to hear about her team’s progress. I was excited to hear that she and her team implemented the Daily Stand-Up right away and started using a KanBan Board to track progress. Juanita shared the following feedback on how things are going so far:
“As ForKids prepared for the annual gala with a goal to raise a million dollars, we initiated the use of both a KanBan Board and the Daily Stand-Up for our fifteen member Development Team. The board gave everyone on the team a visual on the status of each moving part of the event, letting each team member know who needed what from whom. The team also experienced great satisfaction when tasks could be moved to the “completed” box. For the weeks leading up to our gala, the morning stand up allowed team members to identify the daily priorities, ask for support and update everyone on our progress, making adjustments to our timeline where needed. This change in culture gave all team members a better feeling of being aware of what needed to be done and how they could assist to reach our ultimate million dollar goal.
With the success of raising the million dollars behind us, we have continued to evaluate and adjust these tools to find what the best long project management fit is for our agency.” – Juanita L. Dowdy (Sr. Director of Development at ForKids)
In closing, PMDoS is an excellent opportunity to pair Project Managers with Non-Profits in need of project management skills. Many volunteers from this year’s event have followed up with their respective organizations to answer any questions and to gather valuable feedback for next year’s event. If you are a local Non-Profit organization and are interested in participating in this event, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Look for details at the PM4Change website as February 18th, 2019 is the date for the next Hampton Roads Project Management Day of Service.