HPE Case Study: Transforming Workplace Culture in Project Management Practice
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Project Management Office transforms Project Managers to becoming confident business partners instrumental in growing the business.
In a Nutshell
The desired change was for Project Managers to shift from being coordinators and order takers to becoming confident business partners
An open mindset, personal resilience, learning agility are key to the team weathering the change and emerging stronger and more cohesive
Relational skills and confidence enable Project Managers to meet their KPIs through personal influence
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company is an American multinational enterprise information technology company. It enables organisations through delivering IT infrastructure such as server storage, networking and converged systems, software, services and cloud.
The Project Management Office is a team of Project Managers (PMs) who deliver Infrastructure Consulting and integration projects in Technology Consulting and Technology Services.
The challenge faced
PMs who were managing infrastructure projects were falling short of profits targets and many team members were feeling demoralized. They were experiencing difficulty in managing stakeholders to move projects forward. The team was also experiencing change fatigue and needed to get a fresh perspective and strengthen their ability to adapt to change.
To transform the PMs from coordinators and order takers to becoming confident business partners to be able to contribute to the overall business, manage costs and improve business results.
ROHEI’S Change Management approach and philosophy
We help our clients navigate the people aspect of their change journeys by addressing the mindset and enabling the active participation of the people in embracing change.
ROHEI co-created a learning journey for HPE PMs to develop:
Personal resilience and strengthen their inner core
A mindset shift by reframing the role of the PM
Relational skills to be able to manage stakeholders effectively as business partners
“We wanted to understand the current reality, to get buy-in for transformation. Not just another training, another change. We wanted to rekindle the joy of learning.” - PARTICIPANT
A series of programmes were curated and contextualised to HPE’s industry and business environment and the felt needs of the PMs.
1. Personal resilience and mindset shift
Key outcome: Build resilience and strengthen their core to weather change
This contextualised experience was designed to help the PMs identify their triggers and responses to life challenges. It was designed to uncover self-limiting beliefs and how to use strategies to further grow and develop.
An inspirational speaker was invited to share how to overcome day to day challenges as a visually impaired person to become someone who was successfully serving the underprivileged in society.
This programme helped create a mindset of openness and the belief that there was a unique opportunity to do things differently. Some responses from the Chong Cher, the manager of the PMO practice after the programme:
“Reena overcoming her day-to-day challenges inspired the team. It was the start of the transformation. Seeing an example of someone else journeying through difficulties was inspiring."
"We can transform. We don’t need to be the same persons we were in the past. We don’t have to be people who don’t do anything except for what we are told to do."
"Looking at where we are today, a lot of people now believe that we can transform and we can grow.”
2. Relational skills to manage project stakeholders
As PMs lead cross-functional teams, they require the relational skills and confidence to be able to connect at all levels of the organisation in order to deliver projects on time and within cost. The project team members do not have reporting lines to these PMs, hence, a PM’s ability to meet his key performance indicators is dependent almost entirely on personal influence.
A series of learning experiences was curated to develop the relational leadership skills the PMs needed to lead more effectively.
Emotional intelligence Key outcome: To develop empathy and apply empathic listening when responding to stakeholders’ needs.
Building High Performance Teams Key outcome: Strengthen confidence in leadership and giving and receiving appreciation and developmental feedback.
Relational Coaching Key outcome: The relational skills and confidence to effectively coach others on the job to do their jobs better.
Q & A with Hewlett Packard Singapore's manager of PMO Practice
In an interview with Choo Chong Cher, the manager of PMO Practice at Hewlett Packard Singapore that initiated the change journey and co-created the learning journey, Chong Cher shared his observations about the changes that he has observed with his team.
Q: How has the relationship between the PMs and stakeholders changed?
Chong Cher: The PMs applied their learning with their stakeholders and changed the dynamic of their work relationship. They applied Emphatic Listening to relate to their subcontractors to understand the problems that they were facing. Because of this relational approach, the PMs relationship with the subcontractor has improved.
We have a greater ability to work with subcontractors not in a you-against-me manner because of our contractual relationship but because our PMs are able to listen to them and they feel like they have been heard, they end up giving even more into the project.
The PMs now spend much less time managing the people and tasks and achieve even better results because people are doing their work willingly. That has transformed our productivity.
Q: Has there been improvements to the morale of the team and the way they work with each other?
Chong Cher: They have become more and more open with each other. The gift of feedback has become second nature. People can now receive it without being offended within the team. That has really helped with strengthening the team.
There was a situation where there was a very tough situation where I needed to get the whole team to get involved and help. People who were working shifts at the time were calling back to ask if their colleagues needed them to return earlier. They are saying “I’m rested now and fresh, I want to come back in earlier.”
This has become something that is very natural to the team. People are willingly going out of their way to help each other. The team members now feel very close to each other. It has reduced conflict between individuals and people are genuinely happy to work with each other.
Q: You wanted to reframe the role of the project managers to be able to better proactively value-add to the business. Have you seen any difference in that area?
Chong Cher: Four years ago, the PMs were apprehensive about participating in customer presentations. Today, these same PMs volunteer themselves to go for these presentations. They say that they know the customer very well. “Get me involved when this RFP is coming out. We have developed so much connection from working together with the client that our working knowledge will really help.
We have transformed from the belief to say that I can only do this, to becoming a lot more consultative and saying that I can do a lot more. The guys now say that we understand that we are the people that implement the infrastructure. But without the bigger dream, the infrastructure is not significant. We are now transforming into a Consulting Manager mindset. The PMs now say “I give a bigger dream to the customer, therefore whatever I am doing in terms of infrastructure will naturally flow in. I am no longer trying to get people to buy the infrastructure, but I sell a bigger dream.”
Q: Do you have any personal takeaways from this journey for yourself?
Chong Cher: Firstly, it has reinforced my belief that we can transform. It doesn’t happen instantly. You don’t throw someone into a motivation course. It is really about reinforcing the change. You must give them time to adjust.
Secondly, I can now understand my team members a lot more on a personal basis. That is priceless. Seeing them united and really cooperating with each other. I truly believe that without this strong team bond, we wouldn’t have been able to survive through the difficult times.
Addressing the people aspect of change involves building a supportive culture which can sustain the change and transformation for the long term. An open mindset, personal resilience, learning agility are key to team weathering the change and emerging stronger and more cohesive.
Because of Chong Cher’s foresight in developing his team, they have made the successful transition from Managing to Leading the projects, and even going further upstream into business development. Chong Cher believes that this may have been a factor in his team remaining intact even through manpower changes.