I'd like to briefly review a few areas that might be worth looking at if you would like to enhance the value your PMO provides to your internal or external customers or to your organization overall. We all know we need to constantly evolve, grow, adapt and look for areas to add new value for all our stakeholders. The below suggestions are meant to provide a few ideas for you to consider.
Client specific Program Management Offices - in commercial relationships, overseeing one large client contract and Program - often have lifespan of multiple years and undergo significant change in scope and related processes as client scope, services, cost pressure, technology advances or other factors over time enable or require their PMOs to change too.
- I see a big opportunity for many PMOs in gradually adopting a stronger focus on Benefit Realization Management and the associated life-cycle, process tools and governance practices.
- Start by utilizing Benefit Breakdown Structures, Benefit Registers and Benefit Realization Road-maps for your initiatives and gradually add enhanced reporting, related governance, improved benefit analysis and other elements as you go along. Improve your Business Case practices as needed to get better insight to the underlying dependencies and assumptions of the Program and Project Benefits.
- The Client relationship value can be very significant when for example service provider PMOs are able to drive and demonstrate the planned benefits being realized within their Client's existing cost base as service upgrades or technology transformation successfully take place. That can be a significant advantage for both parties.
- Other opportunities might be to formalize or strengthen joint, professional Risk Management processes shared by the Client and the service provider run Program. If contractual terms are vague or lack direction in this area, it will often be a very worthwhile effort to formalize roles, responsibilities and the related governance of program risks. Benefit Realization Management and Risk Management practices also complement each other extremely well.
Regional Client Program Management Offices - overseeing multiple different Client Programs/Contracts with a vertical or regional focus - often have lifespan of multiple years. Over longer periods, the supplier organization typically must adjust to business changes and likely enhances the range of delivery methods, tool-sets, perhaps performs business process re-engineering and outsourcing, and they add new commercial services requiring different project delivery skills and approaches. There is a lot to facilitate and keep straight in such an environment.
- For these Regional PMOs I often see opportunities in the area of improving Scope Management practices, change control governance and resulting integration management.
- All too often I find that needed scope and change management controls are not appropriately defined or they may be ineffective. These are among the most critical program processes and a strong shared or regional PMO can assist its own projects and programs with best practice frameworks, processes, needed templates and training. Often individual programs struggle to do this satisfactorily or with needed authority on their own. Assist with implementation of effective, yet simple workflows where possible.
- Other opportunities might be to implement common client satisfaction surveys at relationship level and perhaps transactional level. It will give you invaluable input for your continual process improvement plans. Perhaps you start with twice yearly relationship surveys and add transaction level surveys later for contract milestones and other key operational events later.
Corporate/Enterprise PMOs - supporting the governance of Project, Program and even Portfolio Management processes for an entire corporate organization or division. EPMOs are typically focused on developing, implementing and governing enterprise level methods, standards and processes for project and program management and likely are also overseeing a handful of the largest, most critical initiatives of the organization.
- For EPMOs, I see great opportunities in the area of driving improvements in the Portfolio Management practices, improving business case formats and benefits analysis - and thereby enabling improved alignment with strategy and corporate goals and ultimately improved portfolio performance and value.
- Depending on the size of your organization's project portfolio and organization, you may start by simply focusing on common planning practices across all Business Units and corporate functions (goal setting, common project inventory, resource planning, financial planning etc.).
- Another valuable opportunity might be to develop, facilitate and drive best practices of Organizational Change Management (OCM) practices for larger and transformational initiatives across the organization. The criticality of OCM cannot be overestimated and too often related program and project plans are inadequate when it comes to change adoption and OCM.
Other types of PMOs - include PMOs overseeing large initiatives internal to an organization - perhaps those assigned to large optimization initiatives, those overseeing M&A transactions or large product development and infrastructure deployment efforts. They might have similarities or represent a mix of the above and based on specific needs benefit from several of the recommended elements.
Enhance your PMO: Regardless which type of PMO you are working with today or in the future, I hope you'll find areas of potential inspiration and improvements in this blog, and I encourage you to look for additional ideas in the PMO Quick Tip Guides published by PMI. These small summaries were compiled by a handful of PMO enthusiasts to help you with ideas of this type. They are available here:
Thanks a lot, until next time,
Morten Sorensen, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, ITIL
Vice President PMO, Peraton
Morten Sorensen has been in global IT and Telecommunications his entire career and has lived in Denmark, Germany and now US. He is Vice President of the Project Management Office at Peraton. Morten is certified in Portfolio Management (PfMP), Program Management (PgMP) and Project Management (PMP) and a frequent speaker on topics of: Strategic Initiative Management, Benefits Realization Management, Portfolio Management and roles of PMOs (Project Management Offices).