Establishing your Program Management Office isn’t a one-and-done event. The best way to ensure it delivers for your company is to perform a PMO assessment every few years. In this blog, we walk you through how you can assess your PMO.
Does it feel like your program management office (PMO) isn’t providing the value it should? Are you struggling with too much bureaucracy? Is the department not embracing Agile concepts sufficiently? Are you feeling push back from business groups and executive leadership? It might be time to assess your PMO.
A PMO refresh is appropriate for many organizations as companies grow and shift focus. It can be difficult to achieve this internally at times, as the space is continually evolving. PMOs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your company must tailor its PMO to best serve the organization and business units through change.
Now, more than ever, we’re seeing organizations reevaluating the current state of their PMO. They are asking questions like:
- Is it just overhead?
- Does it provide any value?
- Can the organization’s Agile, product and business groups run their own projects?
- Can departments manage their own portfolios?
- Are PMOs a thing of the past?
- Was an Enterprise PMO ever a good idea? Is it now?
If you find yourself asking any of these questions, it might be a good time to do a program management office assessment.
Assessing your PMO with an outside-looking-in perspective can help you identify gaps between your capabilities and create benchmarks for best practices. What may have once seemed like the right structure, scope and outputs for your PMO may no longer provide optimal value for your organization.
Let’s look at the steps to take to complete an effective assessment, so you can provide a business case to your leadership team for keeping and maintaining your PMO.
Getting Started Assessing Your PMO
A good place to begin your PMO assessment is by evaluating and documenting your existing PMO and peripheral functions alongside your portfolio manager and senior management. This would include:
- Project delivery and execution enhancements
- The structure of your PMO
- The purpose of your PMO
- Portfolio management practices, which are a set of criteria to aid in your company’s prioritization.
Theory and hearsay aren’t enough, and surveys alone don’t reveal all the facts, perceptions and emotions present. Spending time conducting one-on-one interviews with your business partners, IT teammates, and project managers is a great way to reveal more information. Customize questions by role, alignment and function to reveal succinct data points you can use to paint a picture of the current state.
Add to the mix a review of existing artifacts and project outputs to further bring that picture into focus. Other areas to consider are enterprise elements, speaking with business leaders and employees, and assessing your portfolio processes.
Compare Your PMO Assessment
Once you gather information about the current state of your PMO, take time to compare your findings to Gartner models and other industry PMO capability models. PMOs are not one-size-fits-all, so use your findings to determine what works for your organization.
When you assess your capabilities against these models and other emerging trends in PMO operations, it allows you and your team to create an ideal future state – or options for several potential future states.
Planning for the Future
After you land on what your ideal future state should look like, it’s time to put pen to paper and develop a roadmap that will bridge the identified gaps between your current and future states. Include the prioritization of activities, how to enable the adoption of new processes and tools and the value you expect to achieve along the way.
A good roadmap is actionable, with succinct tasks, flexible timing and value-add outcomes. It can be helpful to bucket actions into a) “quick hits,” b) short term and c) long term. You can rapidly and immediately complete a quick hit and start to provide a benefit. These may not be the highest priority or ROI efforts, but quickly seeing progress can help the effort gain traction and acceptance in the organization. Short-term and long-term actions may be wider-reaching and require more runway to implement.
Taking time to assess your PMO and define your desired future state enables you to make the case for the changes that will ultimately result in a better PMO. Your assessment and plan for the future can improve staff job satisfaction, career pathing, increased internal customer delivery results, increased reporting visibility and a better method for portfolio management – working on the right projects at the right time and the ability to cancel projects if the value isn’t proven out.