Considerations for a Value Added PMO

If you are part of a PMO, I’m sure you have often wondered if your PMO is delivering the most value possible to the business. In my experience, there is always room to improve the effectiveness of your PMO function through people, processes, and technology. So where do you start when analyzing your current state and what questions do you ask to establish a true picture of PMO maturity?

As you have probably found, there are many maturity assessments/models on the market which can be costly and time consuming to evaluate, but there are also simpler ways to assess your PMO. Just asking the right questions can generate enough dialogue and thought to produce new ideas, capture best practices that work, and notate areas that may be ready for a fresh perspective.

First, it’s imperative to understand all aspects of your PMO including your people, your processes, and the technology that empowers your teams. Let’s take a look at a few considerations in each area, that when evaluated, may help your PMO  gain new insight that could result in delivering a higher level of value to your stakeholders.

People:

Your people are your most valuable asset when it comes to PMO success, but you need to have optimal processes and technology in place to encourage them to work in the way they work best. Tools and processes are the batteries that make the engine function. Consider the following questions when evaluating whether or not your PMO is operating at its full potential:

  1. Do your projects have dedicated resources where required?
  2. Does your PMO have the authority to make decisions?
  3. How do you assign PMs? Is it on a first come first serve basis?
  4. What continued career growth opportunities and/or education are you providing your PMs to keep them relevant and shifting with the needs of the business?
  5. Have your PMs received the right training to understand all of the appropriate disciplines to manage all constraints (time, costs, quality) or are they accidental PMs that have fallen into the PM role along their career path?
  6. Do your PM leaders reside in all areas across the business?
  7. How are project resources assigned?
  8. Do priority initiatives get resource priority?
  9. Do you have the appropriate amount of knowledge, expertise, and headcount within your PMO to deliver?

Some PMOs lacking headcount and expertise consider leveraging a PMO as a Service model to deliver a productized PMO offering that includes people, process, and technology.  See Wicresoft’s PMO as a Service.

Process:

When you think of a PMO, you typically think of a standardized body for delivering projects and programs. Most PMOs tend to be process heavy and others seem to be too flexible. Processes must be established but also require the flexibility to change with the needs of the organization. Consider the following process oriented questions when evaluating your PMO:

  1. Are defined methodologies used to manage projects? Are the PMs trained appropriately based on the methodologies selected/chosen?
  2. Do you have a defined portfolio management process to determine need, strategic alignment, and priority?
  3. Are there common processes leveraged across the PMO for risk management, issue tracking, and change control?
  4. Are there processes in place that drive accountability of the PM leaders leading the initiatives?
  5. Do you have established principals in place that determine whether or not project work will be approved?
  6. Does your risk management process include resolution or mitigation strategy?
  7. Do all changes get tracked for project reassessment and impact?
  8. Do you have a formal process for budgeting and tracking costs? Do you perform benefit realization exercises?
  9. Do you have a format for PM leaders to collaborate and share knowledge on new ideas, concepts, and processes?
  10. Does every project include success criteria upfront and lessons learned following completion?

Technology:

Wicresoft specializes in a “people first” approach, believing that the innovation, creativity, and power needed to transform your business lies within your people, not within technology alone. Technology that empowers PMs to do their best work is key to making a successful PMO operate effectively. Consider the following questions when assessing technology for your PMO:

  1. Do you have the right project management tools in place to effectively deliver projects, manage constraints, and make the right decisions when needed?
  2. Can all aspects of your projects be managed within one tool?
  3. Are your PMs required to gather data from multiple, disconnected systems? In most PMOs you will find a bimodal organization including both Traditional and Agile approaches – Your technology must accommodate both. See Agile PPM.
  4. Do your PMO and project leaders have the right tools in place to implement an appropriate portfolio management process for selecting the right work? See OnePortfolio.
  5. Are changes needed to your project management tools to get your PMO up and running quickly while leveraging best practice configurations, training, and support? If so, see examples of OnePPM.
  6. If multiple systems are used for tracking work across your organization, do you have the appropriate tools needed for integration? See OneConnect.

Get together with your PM leaders and collaborate together on the questions above. The results will help drive the changes necessary to deliver PMO value to your organization. If you are interested in learning more about the tools listed above, PM training, or are interested in a PPM assessment, please contact Wicresoft here.