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When Millennials and Baby Boomers Collide

SECOND EDITION

By Amanda Arriaga and Jessica Iselt Ballew

Texas Department of Public Safety

Austin, Texas, USA


ABSTRACT

In 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) established an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) to ensure that necessary resources were in place throughout the agency and that they were being applied to the actual priorities. The Executive Director asked one of his trusted advisors to help create and implement this office. Knowing the position would be fast-paced and challenging, the Director of the EPMO needed to staff the office with the resources that could get the job done.

The initial team ended up being comprised entirely of females. The team also mainly consisted of females in their thirties or younger. Despite what the typical assumption might be, this team worked very well together. The challenge came in having this team of millennials be the face and voice of change across an agency whose upper management team consisted predominately of male baby boomers and a large, diverse, and multi-generational workforce from various backgrounds. How did they work with them successfully in order to achieve the mission of the EPMO?

This paper will provide insight into the opportunities and pain points that were faced when creating the EPMO, the Enterprise Project Roadmap and revamping the agency’s Administration Division as a whole. The paper will focus on lessons learned along the way, providing the reader with tips and tools on how to effectively communicate with and lead diverse groups of people.

DEVELOPING THE TEAM

In 2011, the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (the Department) identified the need to establish an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) in order to improve results by increasing visibility and improving planning and alignment towards true priorities.

The Executive Director appointed one of his high performing and trusted advisors to establish and oversee this office. This advisor happened to be a millennial and a female. The newly appointed Director of the EPMO knew that she had to build a team that had both the technical and business knowledge to effectively establish and operate this new organization, so she began seeking out the best individuals to fit those needs. By happenstance, the initial team ended up being comprised entirely of females. These females ranged in age from approximately 25-55 but the majority of the staff were in their late twenties or early thirties.

Millennials are described by the Pew Research Center as “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change”. They are also described as the “always connected” generation, being available by email, phone, text message or social media at all hours of the day and night. This type of energy made the EPMO active and interested in standing up this new program as soon as possible. The common characteristics, values, and viewpoints shared by the team members led to collaboration and understanding and enabled the team to work swiftly and efficiently to establish the standard operating policies and procedures for the EPMO.

More…

To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 9th annual University of Texas at Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

 


 

About the Authors

pmwj40-Nov2015-Arriaga-PHOTO ARRIAGAAmanda Arriaga

Austin, Texas, USA

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Arriaga
is the Chief Administrative Officer at the Department of Public Safety, State of Texas, overseeing the functions of Human Resources, Facilities, Procurement & Contracts and Enterprise Projects.  She is also the co-chair of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) Special Interest Group in Project Management, and President of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Association.  Amanda earned her BBA in Management from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She has served as Governor Rick Perry’s Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Border Affairs, and DPS Chief of Government and Media Relations.  Amanda can be contacted at [email protected].

 

pmwj40-Nov2015-Arriaga-PHOTO BALLEWJessica Iselt Ballew

Austin, Texas, USA

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Jessica Iselt
Ballew is the Deputy Assistant Director for Policy and Planning at the Department of Public Safety, State of Texas, overseeing enterprise projects, procurements, and contracts.  She is co-chair of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) Special Interest Group in Project Management. Jessica has a B.S. in Communications through Arizona State University.  She has over 18 years of experience in the planning, development, and delivery of information technology solutions and conducting and driving business and process analysis and improvements. Jessica can be contacted at [email protected].