How a two-hour discovery session helped develop a high-performing program management office
A sizeable wholesale food distribution company, with 16 distribution centers across North America, needed to both streamline its annual planning processes and help prioritize IT requests coming in from its various business partners.
As a result, it spent a year upgrading its processes, improving and leveraging SharePoint and Power BI capabilities. Eventually, this led to the creation of a new project portfolio management (PPM) and reporting process.
However, its leaders knew the organization – which supplies natural, organic, specialty and fresh products to in-store and online grocers – should continue their forward-thinking mindset by considering ways to enhance their processes further.
Enter Centric: Introducing the Power of Discovery
The client tasked our Chicago team with performing a two-hour discovery session to help them determine how to move forward with process excellence and eventually develop a high-performing program management office (PMO).
The organization did a fantastic job of formulating a Power BI-based SharePoint portal for data intake and visualization. But they needed to brainstorm how to improve the process to scale within the enterprise and build other PMO capabilities to support their journey.
After learning about the client’s portfolio process approach, we realized its PMO still needed to grow in its maturity before it could scale. The current PMO had limited finances, time and resources. To scale, the company needed a full-time PMO staff that could support projects and think strategically about how to help all of the organization’s business partners.
Armed with this knowledge, we implemented the working session, where we shared a few approaches we had successfully implemented at different clients. We also shared ideas with its leaders on ways to make their current processes more effective while developing a high-performing PMO.
Lastly, to help make the jump from their current PMO to a future one, we provided the client with a PMO service template to help its leaders determine the means to develop a high-performing PMO. This template would help them think about their PMO holistically. For example, it asks questions such as: Which PMO activities should reside within the office of the PMO? Similarly, what should fit under strategic planning, operational project management or post-project?
This template, along with our discovery session, helped the company think about how to speed up its maturity in its journey to develop a high-performing PMO.
The Results: Seeing Areas for Improvement in the PMO
Because of our initial discovery session, the client’s leaders were able to identify some gaps within their current processes and PMO. They understood new ways of improving their processes. And they recognized the discovery process as a highly effective way for us to assess their current problem and provide a high-level hypothesis on how to resolve it — which they could then develop into initiatives as they see fit.
We challenged the client’s thinking around its current processes. We were even able to identify some other challenges the client is facing related to building a culture to drive alignment.
After meeting with the client over lunch to discuss their next steps, they asked to continue working with us as they build their high-performing PMO. Once it’s in place, the client will find itself with a seamless program and project management office that benefits everyone — but they would never have learned about how to get there without a quick discovery session to discuss its needs.