Increasing PMO Maturity Through Multiple Releases

The next release introduced cost management at both the project and portfolio planning levels. In this case, the focus is on both project and portfolio management, and program management is likely to be addressed in later releases.

Both of the above examples relate to the work of internal IT departments in the delivery of projects, programs and portfolios. While services organizations carry out the same processes, they may differ in the lower-level detail as to how they carry out the processes and staffing, utilize PPM software, and also, in the priorities they place on certain processes or groups of processes.

These processes could include storing of supplier information and selection criteria; the automated application of selection criteria against a project selection request to identify a match or mismatch; collection and analysis on use of suppliers for projects and programs, and the rates that were negotiated; and analysis of trends in supplier rates.

Tips for a Maturing PMO

Once you have determined the processes you want to improve and grouped the recommendations into a release, the following steps are crucial to ensuring the success of the process improvement project:

Thought Leadership: Create a roadmap and vision for the implementation of processes, organizational change and PPM software, an explanation of why we’re doing this, who it will benefit, and the desired ROI. Constantly communicate this roadmap, benefits and progress at three levels of the organization—project, program and portfolio).

Define: Clearly define the requirements and create an actionable scope manageable and achievable within 60-to-90 days. Scope-creep will derail your efforts as teams lose sight of the payoff. Frequent successes fuel positive PR for all internal audiences and maintain sponsorship.

Staffing: Set up three teams.

  • Implementation Team: Defines and implements processes and puts supporting standards, material and PPM software into place. This team will carry out each release, then hand off to the stabilization team and on-boarding teams and move to the next release.

  • Stabilization Team: Takes over from the implementation team to ensure that any process, people or technology issues in the release are addressed and have no impact on the implementation team undertaking the next release.

  • On-boarding Team: Trains all end users in the new processes, standards, supporting material and software being deployed within that release. Again, this is undertaken as a separate exercise so that it does not divert the implementation project resources away from the next release. Effective on-boarding will ensure that the process improvements and changes will be used throughout the organization (e.g., will raise the level of maturity in the deployed processes to Level 3—the “Responsive” level of maturity). As one release builds on the next, this team helps to ensure that the maturity level is raised across the entire process.

    Companies undertaking improvement initiatives often allocate their budget for a mixture of process, people and technology-related improvements. So, why not invest an additional five-to-10 percent into measurement to ensure these improvement projects are actually creating benefits for the organization?

    Coming up in part five of this series, Haydn Thomas and Julie Tilke take a look at the first two of the three leading formalized project management methodologies.

    Chris Craig-Jones is Global Solution Manager for CA Clarity PPM . He has more than 30 years of experience in IT and management.