Defining standards and metrics is a key function for the Project Management Office (PMO). In many ways, a PMO is uniquely positioned to provide guidance and orientation in order to build consistency in the application of project management best practices among the projects within an organization.
As you can imagine, a standard methodology provides a basis for performance, and metrics provide a basis for the measurement of that performance against the standard. To that end, project management practices can benefit from metrics to establish the depth and extent of applying standards selected by the organization.
Here, I will outline the steps in developing good PM methodology for your organization and how to define metrics and key performance indicators.
Developing a Project Management Methodology
The ﬁrst step in introducing formal project management processes and practices is the awareness of the starting point (AS IS - current situation). The PMO should scrutinize the organization’s capabilities in the project management environment as a prerequisite for designing the type, depth and comprehensiveness of project management methodology processes and tools. The PMO’s examination of current project management practices involves the following activities:
- Assessing current capability, using Maturity Models and other techniques
- Analyzing assessment ﬁndings (AS IS, TO BE and Gap Analysis)
- Comparing best practices (benchmark with other organizations)
- Developing project management methodology (identify common practices and describe processes and tools in detail)
- Defining metrics and KPIs (establish oversight and thresholds)
- Implementing the methodology (provide orientation and training)
- Making adaptations, if needed (get feedback and measure effectiveness)
Bear in mind that project management methodology development is not a simple task. This undertaking requires:
- Patience in constructing detailed process steps
- Business acumen in deﬁning processes and practices that provide a functional ﬁt
- Product and service awareness to ensure alignment of technical processes and interests in project management performance
- Advanced project management skills on the part of developers
- Strong executive and senior management support for the development (and subsequent implementation) effort
Below you can find a simple structure to guide you in developing a detailed methodology to suit your organization’s needs.
Defining Project Management Metrics
The PMO will be involved in determining which metrics are used in the project management environment. Actually, most PMOs are responsible for metrics comprising the various sets of data that represent and quantify either its prescriptive practice guidance or results from its directed measurements.
A good set of metrics can be used to:
- Facilitate decisions and ensure compliance
- Provide a common understanding of project and activity status
- Monitor and control project performance
- Monitor consistency and improvement
Some metrics could be:
- Estimate to project completion
- Number of unresolved issues
- Current resource allocation
- Labor costs spent (per month)
- Project schedule (Agile or Waterfall)
- Issues found by QA
- Issues found by customers
Defining a standard project management methodology is very important for consistency, helping to improve maturity and increase project success rates. This is a collaborative endeavor and should be led by the PMO, if there is one.
What are some of your biggest lessons learned from developing standard methodology or defining project metrics?