In our portfolio we’ve established guilds, which are our communities of practice for project managers, programme managers, business analysts, the change and engagement team and Portfolio Management Office (PMO).
They’ve been running for coming up to a year and we’ve decided to refresh our ‘guild lead’ team over the next five months so we have a fresh perspective and new ideas. The leads meet once a month to decide what the guilds will do and share information.
What it's like to build communities of practice
In our first nine months of running guilds, we’ve been able to create and update our professional standards, such as creating benefits management guidance for every role within the portfolio or creating the project management framework. We’ve also been able to build peer networking within our guilds with opportunities to get to know your peers and share knowledge.
As a guild lead, you’ll meet once a month with the other leads to decide on priorities and how we can work together to update our professional standards and improve peer networking. You’ll then work with your guilds to build those changes, gather feedback, and implement lessons learned along the way.
New ideas and fresh approaches
Over the next few months, we’ll be changing our guild leadership to ensure we keep up the momentum of our professions. Rather than do this all at once, we’ve decided that we’ll have an incremental change over the next few months, starting in September with the project management guild.
The current guild leads have written a few words about what being a guild lead has meant to them over the past year. If you’re thinking about volunteering to lead a guild or community of practice, then this might help you make your decision. Leave a comment below and the leads will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Stephanie Peterson – Business Analyst Guild Lead
As a guild lead I was able to influence the areas to focus on so that we could make the most difference in the portfolio, share what the business analysts have been working on, and find out what other guilds have been up to and take messages back to my guild.
There was also the opportunity to build up relationships with colleagues in the portfolio. There have been some frustrations as well, it's not all been sweetness and light.
Developing ourselves as a team and how we work together takes time. There have been differences of opinion about the role of a business analyst, and how analysts should be involved in programmes and projects. Overall though I think it's well worth the time and effort of being a guild lead.
Jenny Radcliffe – Change and Engagement Guild Lead
I've got so much out of being a guild lead since forming the Change & Engagement Guild at the beginning of this year. Things like having a closer connection with change and engagement colleagues, a greater sense of community, and the opportunity to help set our direction.
We've developed a timeline of our priorities for the year, implemented a new process to improve the onboarding experience for people moving between programmes and projects, and we're planning to launch our change management knowledgebase after the summer.
Basically all things that should make a tangible difference to people's experience of working in the portfolio and of leading change and engagement activities. Being a guild lead can be a fair bit of work, but it's also really rewarding. For anyone looking to take a more active role in their guild, this is a brilliant opportunity for development, from planning and delivery, to collaboration, leadership and influencing skills.
Gareth Prosser – Programme Management Guild Lead
Being a member of the guild leadership team means you can help steer joint initiatives across PDS. As such, it‘s a great opportunity to help shape how PDS develops and to be part of something with the capacity to transform the way we work.
Alex Smith – Project Management Guild Lead
Being the guild lead for the Project Management Guild has been a real privilege, as well as a lot of work! Over the course of the year we’ve established a real community which has successfully come together to deliver some tangible outputs.
The one we are perhaps most proud of is the Project Manager Knowledgebase, a repository of all the information, processes and documents a PM needs in order to successfully manage a project. Previously these were scattered about and it was incredibly hard to find the single source of truth.
We’ve also been visited by a wide variety of colleagues from across PDS and Parliament who have all directly contributed to raising the collective capability of the profession. Personally I’ve enjoyed seeing the direct impact my role has had on the PMs who attend the guild, I’ve also met lots of new people from across Parliament and have learnt one or two things along the way!
Carol Hindley – Portfolio Management Office Guild Lead
To be responsible for driving the PMO Profession within the Digital Service has been a privilege.
Yes, it’s a little bit different to the other guilds, as defining new processes, tools and techniques is part of our PMO day job as well. Therefore, differentiating guild activities is a little bit harder. But you get out what you put in – it'll take about 2 days a month effort. So it’s been great to share the love of PMO.
It’s also been great to work closely with the other guild leads. To agree shared priorities to make an impact across the whole portfolio e.g. PM Knowledge Base.
I would recommend being a guild lead to anyone.
Email Glenn Scott if you'd like to know more about becoming a guild lead.