Recently, several people have commented that as a profession, PMO people tend to be negative. This post by Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton chair of the APM PMO SIG is a good example.
But are we really that negative? I decided to do some analysis based on conversations on Twitter. I began by looking at tweets using the hashtag #PMO. However, this hashtag is frequently used by people talking about the Office of the Prime Minister in India, so I quickly ruled out this idea and opted to do some analysis of tweets using #PMOT instead. #PMOT is a popular hashtag with PMO and Project Management professionals alike. In case you are wondering, PMOT stands for "Project Managers On Twitter"!
If you have an application account on Twitter, you can quickly pull 3,200 tweets at a time based on a specific twitter handle or hashtag using the twitteR package in the R coding environment. Once the data was retrieved, I stripped out the retweets (isRetweet=FALSE), giving me a total of 2,355 tweets to play with.
In order to work whether we are predominantly negative, I decided to compare the words in our tweets with The NRC Emotion Lexicon. The Lexicon is a list of English words and their associations with eight basic emotions (anger, fear, anticipation, trust, surprise, sadness, joy, and disgust) and two sentiments (negative and positive). This is easier than it sounds, thanks to the Tidytext toolset created by Julia Silge and David Robinson. The results were surprising:
As you can see, of just over 2k words in our tweets that were matched to the database, the overwhelming majority were positive! A comparison with the wider range of emotions provides more insight:
Not only do our tweets contain positive messages, they also contain words that are strongly associated with 'Trust' - something that all PMO professionals aim to foster.
I would hasten to add that this research is far from perfect. The #PMOT hashtag contains plugs for companies and roles which may be affecting the data. PMO people may be more positive on Twitter than they are on other mediums. Further research is definitely needed. But in the meantime - what do you think? Do PMO professionals tend to focus on the negative? Please share your views in the comments section. I'd love to hear your thoughts.