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Most Important Ingredients in a Project Management Organization (PMO)
By Erik Britt-Webb

I was recently asked: What do you consider to be the most important ingredients in a Project Management Organization (PMO)?

My answer to this question comes in three sets of ingredients. The first set of ingredients define the purpose of – and relationships between – IT Portfolios, Programs and Projects.

Relationships between IT Portfolios, Programs & Projects

Figure 1 – Relationships between IT Portfolios, Programs & Projects

IT Portfolio Management – Select and manage the portfolio of opportunities for IT to contribute business value to the enterprise. Leading practices often use IT spending categories like: Infrastructure (maintain the steady state), Transactional (to reduce costs), Informational (improve decision-making) and Strategic/Risky (make transformational improvements).

IT Program Management – Manage a defined set of interrelated projects that support common business outcomes. Focus on maximizing the business value or impact of IT dollars, even if it means delaying or killing some projects or programs when they no longer best meet business priorities. This also includes juggling resources and other interdependencies to maximize project synergies.

IT Project Management – Manage resources to complete a specific scope of work on time, on budget and to customer satisfaction. Follow a consistent methodology across projects.

As depicted in Figure 1, planning information (e.g., outcomes, budgets, resources) flows top-down, from IT Portfolios to Programs and Projects. In return, execution information flows bottom-up.

As depicted in Figure 1 above, planning information (e.g., outcomes, budgets, resources) flows top-down, from IT Portfolios to Programs and Projects. In return, execution information flows bottom-up.

The second set of ingredients are the key components that are managed in concert to achieve their common goal, which is to realize desired business outcomes, as shown in Figure 2.

Six key components managed to achieve common business outcomes

Figure 2 – Six key components managed to achieve common business outcomes

The seven key components of an IT Program Management Office (IT PMO) are:

  • Business Outcomes: At the end of the day, IT Programs and the PMO are all about realizing business outcomes, or impact on business performance. Not about managing activities.
  • Success Metrics: Define how we will know when the business outcomes have been achieved. Can also be used as leading indicators to highlight positive progress.
  • Communications and Stakeholder Management: Keep people informed and engaged on the goal, progress towards it and what’s in it for them.
  • Risk Management: Manage key barriers that could undermine success.
  • Resource Management: Manage resources across a range of programs and projects
  • Project Management: Ensure that an effective set of processes, tools and practices are employed consistently across projects to deliver predictable results.
  • Governance: Ensure that stakeholders understand and are held accountable for their roles

The last ingredient is a PMO Maturity Model, as illustrated in Figure 3. This is really important because it provides a roadmap to help people understand which parts of the PMO should be developed first to establish a baseline PMO. And which aspects should come next to ensure that the PMO is institutionalized across the enterprise. And what it takes to have mastered the PMO.

PMO Maturity Model

Figure 3 – PMO Maturity Model

Original article can be found here

Erik Britt-Webb has an experience of over ten years and $200M in IT solutions delivered, leading people and programs to drive IT strategy/value. Erik’s blog can be found at ebrittwebb.com.

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