PMO Optimization

The Challenge: Transparency, Transparency, Transparency

Vast amounts of money, corporate talent and willpower are invested in project work: in ensuring that the right projects receive the right level of funds; in allocating the right resources with the right skills at the right time; in on-time, on-budget and on-scope delivery of these projects. Yet establishing a framework that will provide transparency into these activities is still viewed as a glorified admin function at best; or as unnecessary bureaucracy at worse. Some of the challenges organizations face when attempting to put in place such a framework at the corporate, division, region or even project level include:

  • Your culture refuses to accept centralized project control
  • Your previous attempt at starting a PMO failed to provide benefits
  • Your projects are effectively managed, but their objectives seem to head in different directions
  • Your project costs are unpredictable and difficult to capture

The Solution: The Program Management Office (PMO)

A Program Management Office (PMO, aka Project Management Office or Project Support Office – PSO) when implemented in a carefully designed governance framework, can leverage scale economies, promote best practices and provide visibility of the status of those investments. But, as with any type of process and mindset change, when it comes to rolling out a PMO or improving its existing capabilities, it is important to get it right. Experienced guidance to foresee pitfalls, design useful processes, and prioritize PMO goals is a critical factor to the success of a PMO implementation.

UMT works with clients to create a holistic strategy to evolve the maturity of your PMO. This entails attention to culture and governance, skills development, process refinement and standardization, and information systems that support leveraged project management. As such, the way in which a PMO framework is implemented or enhanced is critical to its adoption within an organization.

The Framework: 3 Phase Implementation Methodology

  • Setup – where we assess the existing capabilities of the PMO, design and then implement the new one;
  • Operate – which focuses on the ongoing functioning and improvement of the PMO; and
  • Knowledge Transfer – ensuring knowledge relating to the operational PMO is transferred to a dedicated permanent team.

In UMT’s view, the PMO’s responsibilities should include:

  1. Selection Management – Processes that cover the continuous alignment of projects with overall objectives, including definition and collation of KPI’s to ensure performance tracking of all projects.
  2. Plan and Budget Management – Consolidating project plans and updates into a program plan with agreed milestones, identifying and monitoring the critical path, developing resource utilization scenarios, and recommending solutions for bridging resource shortages and surpluses by skill types.
  3. Benefit and Performance Management – Tracking delivery and performance against KPI’s and project benefits identified in the planning phase.
  4. Progress Management – Planning and tracking milestones, budget and resource use as well as status reporting.
  5. Risk, Issue and Dependency Management – Recording, tracking, analyzing and escalating issues, risks and inter-project dependencies.
  6. Change Management – Managing processes related to approval of new projects or changes in scope, budget and timeframes of existing projects.
  7. Reporting Management – Managing the production and distribution of reports to appropriate clients and facilitating meetings to discuss issues and concerns.
  8. Quality Management – Managing QA processes and ensuring that the quality of all deliverables is checked according to the agreed guidelines.
  9. Training Management – Training staff when new projects are initiated, or new members join the PMO, to ensure a common understanding of the program, the role of each project within it, and the function of the PMO in ensuring program success.

9 Things a PMO Must Manage Well

Portfolio Management Capability Area

Portfolio management is the art of selecting right set of projects. It provides clear justification and value proposition for all projects, and ability to align portfolio to corporate strategy, assess cost and resource constraints and create a portfolio with affordable risk.

UMT is a leader in the portfolio management area. It has created and implemented portfolio management processes and tools with in number of fortune 500 companies.

Financial Management Capability Area

Effective portfolio optimization requires strong PPM financial discipline. Processes and tool must be implemented to develop accurate and timely financial estimates. Tools must be capable of performing scenario analyses to evaluate different options and determine the optimum portfolio mix.

UMT understands that the importance of financial management capability. UMT developed the UMT360 financial management tool to provide superior financial management functionality.

Status Reporting and Performance Capability Area

Timely, accurate and targeted status and performance reporting is important to successful portfolio optimization. Effective and timely Status reporting provides a central, standard status of the organization from individual task to corporate strategy, and Eliminate productivity waste by removing redundant Team Member update meetings.

UMT works with clients to create solutions that transparently expose the most critical elements of project status and performance to key stakeholders, assessing performance, enabling advance identification of potential problem areas and monitoring portfolio spending.