We believe successful project, program, or PMO management depends on balancing the conflicting requirements of managing within the constraints of time, cost, and scope to deliver ”
When projects or programs fail, the performing organization is affected because some aspect of its strategic objectives will not be delivered as planned, scarce resources will be wasted, and individuals and groups (stakeholders) who had expected some benefit from the outcome of the project will be negatively impacted.
We believe successful project, program, or PMO management depends on balancing the conflicting requirements of managing within the constraints of time, cost, and scope to deliver the defined strategic benefits to the performing organization through a temporary organizational structure (value delivery). At the same time, the needs and expectations of the project’s stakeholders must be managed (relationship management) within an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity (risk management)
The interrelatedness of the 3 elements of success and the importance of stakeholders to the achievement of this success which is depicted in the diagram below. We consider each of the elements is essential for a project, program or portfolio to be perceived as successful by its stakeholders, but none of them can be clearly defined in isolation to the others, nor can one stand alone as more important than any other.
Delivering value through managing the schedule, budget, scope or quality, and the realization of business and organizational benefits is not just about conformance to the project or program plan.
Delivering value requires managing relationships and managing risks by ensuring that the expectations of all stakeholders are met with regard to what is delivered as well as when and how. It is important for us to understand how stakeholders perceive value and then to align management of the project or program and the performance metrics to the expectations generated from these perceptions, or to negotiate within the relationships to align expectations with feasible outcomes. The concept of balancing all aspects without dominance of any one aspect is the starting point to an understanding of how we can add value to an organization.
We ensure that the project objectives are fully aligned. It plays an important role in evaluating the project managers’ performance and assists in determining their career path within the organization. In order to ensure overall performance, we base the appraisal process not only on budget, time, and scope, but also on realizing the benefits.
Our Performance Evaluation
Our contribution to organizational performance involves in control, setting rules, and proving its authority but is also expected to show flexibility and adaptability. When projects run smoothly and as planned, the meetings are perceived as inefficient and a waste of time, leading to frustrated clients who must redundantly provide project status information through multiple venues.
We work with clients to perform critical analysis and be seen as problem solvers. Our staff is considered adaptable and able to “hit the ground running” on any project where their involvement is required.
We also have a social role: encouraging communication, knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned to share across the organization. Often our staff members must use negotiation skills in order to resolve conflicts escalated to their level, mostly related to the use of shared resources or opposing stakeholder interests.
Beside regular reports on the status of the projects and its components, we also report regularly on its own activity and results to communicate and demonstrate its contribution and impact to the business.
It is critical, therefore, as we understand what the executive team values and how it can be delivered as different types of departments solve different types of problems, therefore, determining organizational objectives that are to be pursued as part of our implementation and functions to be performed by the PMO is the first step in planning the implementation
We follow a clear charter and strong sponsorship within the organization, especially in weak matrices where manager’s report to the different lines of business. Our place in the client’s organization is clear with the responsibilities and limits of authority well defined and communicated by the sponsor. We are empowered by program management to act on its behalf in order to achieve the goals established. Our charter is the document which formalizes this empowerment and establishes the PMO objectives.
In order to derive the objectives and measures for success, our stakeholder analysis is performed with the participation of the:
- Program governance board
- Portfolio managers
- Business unit managers
- Functional managers
- Project managers
- Project controllers, etc.
Our contribution to the project’s performance could materialize in the amount of benefits realized, improvements in gross margin compared to internal benchmarks, reduction of time in the project’s life cycle, more effective resource utilization rates, unused risk contingencies, reduction in non-conformance costs, reduction in audit non-conformities, increased client satisfaction levels, more streamlined processes and less bureaucracy, etc. Not having a PMO in place would result in inconsistent reporting, errors that are due to incorrect project data, and unaddressed program risks.
Our staff also performs administrative tasks in gathering status data from managers and consolidating them, but it also ready to resolve escalations or step forward when difficulties in projects require it to do so. We micromanage but also to draw the big picture for upper management perusal. It creates links between managers, with management and stakeholders, and with functional managers across the organization and outside the organizations when partners or subcontractors are involved.