Getting Your Project Management Office Off the Ground

Determine Your Organizational Maturity

The PMO needs to demonstrate clear and tangible value in a relatively short period of time. It is important, therefore, to set up a process that quickly measures the PMO value to the enterprise. To do this, a baseline must be established. Steps to establishing a baseline include assessing your organization’s capabilities against industry-standard best practices, such as those defined by the PMI’s PPM/PMO framework.

Record your level of maturity in each of these process areas using a capability scale from 1 – 4 (active, efficient, responsive and business driven). (These maturity levels will be detailed more in a later article in this series). Once your maturity level has been measured against the most important PMI processes, develop a “target” maturity level (again using the 1-4 scale for each process area) so your progress can be quantified.

If the organization is at a lower level of maturity, there may be little or no accurate data available from which to establish a baseline. In many cases, organizations simply do not know how much it costs to complete a project. If this is true in your situation, there are ways to overcome a possible lack of information. For instance, you can seek out historical data points, such as the length of projects and the number of developers who worked on these projects, to help extrapolate a cost estimate and a baseline from which to measure future successes.

Simply measuring total project cost may make it difficult to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison. However, there are ways of normalizing data so that such a comparison can be made. For example, the following metrics will provide a more accurate representation from which to compare costs between projects:

  • Cost per use case
  • Cost per function point
  • Cost per thousand lines of code (KLOC)
  • Resource utilization (percent of a developer’s time utilized/optimized)
  • Defect rates

    Establish a Measurement Plan

    As mentioned above, it is important to measure the positive impact the PMO is having on the organization. This will ensure that the PMO maintains the executive sponsorship it needs to effect organizational change. For this reason, the PMO should institute a measurement plan that defines key metrics for determining the organization’s progress against the established baseline.

    If you used a maturity analysis based upon the PMI framework to establish your baseline, use this same maturity model to measure your progress at periodic intervals. Some of the measurements cited above, such as “cost per use case” and “cost per function point,” should also be measured to gauge progress and calculate ROI.

    Develop a PMO Rollout Plan

    Next you must develop a rollout plan for establishing your PMO. A high performing PMO does not take form overnight and requires a phased approach to ensure incremental value. I’ll be reviewing the best practices for a step-by-step approach to executing a PMO in my next article in the series, Implementing a PMO Into Your Organization.

    For more on Project Management go to Project Manager

    George Hunte is a solutions manager in the IT Governance practice of CA. Hunte develops service solutions that focus on customer satisfaction, developing intellectual capital and expanding the capabilities of the CA delivery team in the PPM space. Hunte has over 14 years of experience in software engineering.