Connecting the ThomsonReuters PM Community with Pleasure, Passion and Purpose

Last year I was offered the opportunity to get involved in extending and accelerating the development of the Project Management community at ThomsonReuters.  I am not a project manager though I have set up and run a few PMOs in my various Operations roles. This was more an opportunity to experiment with things I had been doubtful, if not downright contemptuous of before, but which I had been introduced to through by a very active HR community.  I learned a lot from them.  Look up @alisonchisnell, @dougshaw1, @floramarriott and @garelaos on Twitter, though if you are reading the online version of this as opposed to the internal TR version then you may already know them.

At the start of this year I was asked to lead the activity. I am not sure I have enjoyed anything more in my entire career.

Helping extend this community has been hugely educational and has challenged the pre conceptions I had about how achievable, valuable and useful community, social media, blogs and the development of culture can be.

My starting point:

  • Community: Cuddly, wasteful, left leaning and not a good use of corporate resource. Cut funding and discourage.
  • Social Media: At best banal, at worst vile. Block while feeling superior.
  • Blogs: Somewhere on the spectrum between narcissism and irrelevance. Ignore while shaking head and rolling eyes.
  • Culture: The corporate equivalent of attempting to juggle soot and herd cats. File under impossible.

The extent to which I was wrong about these things has made me wonder what else I might be in the dark about. Basically I have learned that if you add purpose, then each these things are powerful, effective and so enjoyable that there have been times I have struggled to contain myself. I have become somewhat like an ex smoker about the whole thing. I am also starting to scratch my head about one or two other things I have prejudices against. Please stop me if decide to take up golf, that remains an abomination.

The purpose of my blog for the next few days is to help connect our PM community to each other, but also to the wider world in preparation for our two PM Unconferences in London (Sep 11th 2012) and New York (Sep 27th 2012). The idea being to bring that connectivity in, accelerate it while we are together at the events and spin it out again after wards, internally and externally if we can. With this in mind I am posting on the Hub within ThomsonReuters but also externally at jtdots.wordpress.com. There is the beginning of a Twitter stream under the #trpm12 and #pmot tags for the events and to link us to the wider PMO community there (see @allinsona, @Louise_A_Eccles, @DianeTC1, @thelazypm, @iwhitti and @dougshaw1).

I will issue several posts describing the pleasure, passion and purpose (I am a broken record with respect to those three words at the moment,  expect to hear them a lot!) I have derived from this.  I nearly wrote “work” there,  but this stuff got me out of bed at 0430 one Saturday and I didn’t have a deadline or a plane to catch, so while it started as a pleasure, it developed into a passion and has grown into something with purpose. Best of all, it has given me a set of skills I can re use.

For the next few weeks the content of this blog will be about the format, intent and content of the events and what I learned as we started to extend our PM community.  After that I don’t know, but when I decide on a new purpose it will evolve.  I am sure it will stop and start.

Success criteria, more new friends and getting better at project management.

For now, I would love to know what you think and how we can connect the ThomsonReuters PM Community internally and to the wider world.

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11 thoughts on “Connecting the ThomsonReuters PM Community with Pleasure, Passion and Purpose

    • It is fair to say that I must have some vestige of the competence, it is a fair challenge. I have never carried the PM or PMO title, though I have and continue to have people in my teams who do. As to why I contend not to be one see uk.linkedin.com/in/anthonyallinson – I do all sorts of operational stuff 🙂

      At pretty much the time you wrote a colleague was ribbing me about the same assertion.

      In the end, I really value PMs and PMOs so I create capabilities that contain them. They are the ones who make sure the benches face the right way so I can see the view.

      Cheers,

      Anthony

      • I am very much the annoying ex smoker about all this, these days 🙂

        I am also a big fan of face to face communications, especially while building trust, which is a precious commodity which can be destroyed at a stroke but has the magical quality that if respected it can’t be spent! Funnily enough that is partly the topic of todays little scribble to follow.

        One of the challenges in all this has been to just be myself and not sound like a vicar on Thought for the Day 🙂

        Thank you for your encouragement throughout.

  1. The thing I enjoy most about both community and the social media which can help build it, is the opportunity for unexpected connections leading to unexpected outcomes.

    These kind of initiatives – whether virtual (via our TR social intranet, The Hub) or in person (Unconferences) – bring massive benefits, not just for the company, but also for the individuals who participate, as we all build our networks and understanding of how to do our jobs better.

    • Nick

      Thanks for joining in here as well as from behind the firewall 🙂

      Unexpected just about sums up my feeling about it all. We learn all the time, well, we should, but every so often we learn things that change us and create opportunities to new and exciting things. This has been one for me.

      Overall our aim is to empower our project managers. The corporation will support them, providing resources and encouragement to get better and better at project management. My hope is that these events accelerate the process by helping our PMs to take control, over come irrational fears and hierarchical expectations and simply Go For It! Plugging people together is a start. I have had a cheesy t-shirt with “Go For It” printed on it made for the London event.

      Cheers,

      Anthony

  2. Great post Anthony and welcome to blogging 😉 So many people take your initial stance and its not hard to understand. The words “media” and “online” dominate many of the conversations about the subject and unfortunately create a distorted picture of what it is all really about and ultimately prevent people from experiencing the benefits. for me, this whole shift has driven my levels of interaction with my fellow human beings up significantly and to be clear – im talking about face to face interactions, not just online. I have made many personal and professional connections which i value tremendously at a personal level – you included!

    Have fun with the unconferences and I look forward to further reports!

    • Gareth,

      Thanks for joining in. That first post always carries the tumble weed risk, esp when my blogging to date has been from behind the safety of the firewall.

      Needless to say I have moved on from that stance 🙂 I too have a preference for face to face communication (I think my twitter profile rather grumpily points this out!) but add a purpose and it all makes sense.

      I should point out for the record that Gareth briefed me last summer, for the price of a bacon sandwich and a coffee, on how to create community. A small price for a 1100 strong and vibrant PM Community in TR and the opportunity before us now to accelerate it. Thanks 🙂

      Anthony

  3. Anthony,

    As always your blog is straight to the point and straight from the heart. And you certainly don’t pull any punches with your confessions. “Community….Cut funding and discourage”, “Social Media….Block while feeling superior”. What were we thinking of when we got you involved in this stuff?! But what a journey it has been. I think we can say now that despite your protestations about not being a project manager – you now qualify as a project manager.

    And I echo your point about global and distributed often being an excuse not to maximise co-location. Of course we will continue to do virtual events and offer as much as possible on a virtual basis for our global PM community. But let us not miss the importance of face-to-face opportunities and the chance to build face-to-face relationships when and where it is possible. Our PM Unconferences are a once a year opportunity to do this. An event not to be missed …..

  4. Now there’s a coincidence. Tony I’m just getting into some deep systems architecture and technical discussions in work and I’m really interested in looking at blogging and Facebook like approaches to create a buzz and a community of interest internally. As you know we’re global and huge and the shear amount of email involved in a traditional approach would be overwhelming.

    Any thought s? Does this tie in with what you’ve been doing?

    • Tony,

      Its not a co incidence its a trend and as usual we are joining late 🙂

      Happy to tell you all I know and put you in touch with a few people who know better than me too if you like.

      It must be beer o clock?

      Anthony

    • Tony,

      Along with some other colleagues (mentioned in this blog) I’m a partner-in-crime with Anthony on this caper: to create REAL community among Thomson Reuters’ project managers and connect them to the wider world of project management.

      The technology and tools that enable conversations to take place among the community are important, really important, but without participation they won’t get you very far. The key is to find your committed cadre or cabal–or whatever you want to call it–your core group of individuals who are enthused, engaged and empowered in pursuit of creating community.

      You need them to build momentum, encourage others to speak up, join in, and share their views. Open up conversations on the topics and issues that speak of your own experience and point-of-view (and not the officially mandated corporate boilerplate one). Be supportive of the discussions of other participants. Keep the conversations fresh.

      All of this involves effort (sometimes coordinated, deliberative and a little stage-managed), which is why you need a ‘gang’ who are willing to commit time & energy to making it work. It also has to be fun (& that’s the pleasure part of this). And that’s probably the most important element.

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