I recently watched one of Gartner‘s analyst, Mbula Schoen, present some best practices of the PMO at the recent Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit (2016).
Here are a couple of takeaways.
Ensure a good launch
Firstly, when announcing your PMO to all of your stakeholders, make sure you include the intended purpose of the PMO and a list of the services which will be provided .
In addition, I would add:
- Explain which services the PMO will not be providing (at this time): I believe it’s almost always best to take the discussions sooner rather than later. So besides telling what you will do, make sure you tell them what you will not be doing. Otherwise, you risk someone assuming that the PMO will provide a certain service – even though you didn’t explicitly include it in your list above… “Well of course I expect the PMO to handle Resource Management“
- Update the service catalog once the business needs change – and tell them: Note I wrote in my first recommendation “at this time”. It important to remind everyone, that, this is a current service catalog and will evolve as the business needs evolve. Hopefully, if the PMO succeeds, more resources can be used to provide even more services
- Repeat your message constantly: You should repeat your message every chance you get. Make sure everyone you speak with understands your top 3-4 services, and remind them that this has been agreed to by the management. “Yea… so after talking with the IT executive, we agreed on …” Your goal should be that, when people talk about the PMO or your name pops-up, that they think about your services list
- Publicize your services catalog: I suggest to publish the catalog on your department/section homepage or at least, printing it and taping it in the hallway. Include it in all your PMO presentations and try to keep the layout/colors the same so the list is immediately recognizable
The best PMO fit
Secondly, when deciding on the type of PMO, the presenter states:
The best type of PMO is the one that is tailored to support organizational needs at a level the organization can embrace and benefit from
So how do you establish these “organization needs”?
Well it’s as easy as asking your stakeholders – all of them. This means that not only do you need to understand what the management wants (actionable data which to base decisions on), but also what the rest of the organization can supply.
It would be a good idea if you could remember that you will need to perform this same process regularly, so any tools you use or documents you create, should keep time/date specific text to a minimum.
So rather than saying “How well would you rate the PMO’s ability to <pick a service and put here> in 2016?” I suggest “How well would you rate the PMO’s ability to <pick a service and put here> this past 6 months?”
How about the maturity level of the organization?
Gartner has tool called Program and Portfolio Management Maturity Model which is effective, but it may be overkill for some organizations. Instead, a facilitated workshop which includes the key players in the organization – not just management – held over a few sessions could a simpler approach. My experience is, that most people know what the organization will or will not be able to absorb and where the problem areas are.
Once the PMO is running, then the model could be introduced slowly to refine the services and provide input to other activities to lift the organization to the appropriate level.
Finally, some other insights from their research which I’m sure many of you can recognize:
- Approx 52% of the PMOs are not considered “an integral part of getting things done”
- PMOs are viewed as admins and too bureaucratic
- PMOs tend to have a good grip on the people, practices & processes and corporate relationships (politics?), but are struggling somewhat on financial management and technology
… and several others I will cover in upcoming articles including:
- types of PMOs
- creating a vision consensus
- challenges with right staffing
- the disconnect in the data PMOs provide to the management
By the way, in case you didn’t get a chance to attend, you can watch this one and others at www.gartnereventsondemand.com.
Excerpt from full report here: https://www.gartner.com/binaries/content/assets/events/keywords/ppm/ppmit9/gartner_program-and-portfolio-management-leadership-vision-for-2017.pdf
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