PPM Tools

This post has help us to review the different solutions provided by the big vendors of PMO industry.

We do not provide a closed or software solution, what we provide is a customized solution compose by processes, people and tools.

Tools, this was one of the things that appeared in the SWOT analysis we performed. After that analysis I asked Fran to look for the different tools that we need to learn about and add them as alternatives when answering RFPs. The win/loss review after one proposal we loose determined that one of the weaknesses of the proposal was an inadequate toolset.

The analysis performed by Fran is very good, now we are closed to finish all the documentation of the Solution.

The important thing again is place the solution on real proposals to see if the solution is very good or if it’s not adequate. That’s the way to see if we are competitive or not.

PMO effectiveness

We started the delivery assurance process on the whole portfolio where the initial objective was to know the status of the projects.

After we knew the general status and evolution of them, the next need at portfolio level was clear: now we can prioritize the projects and start opening relevant actions on the key projects.

Resources are limited, so enable actions for all projects is neither effective nor efficient.

We use an easy reporting scheme o it: Actions performed in this period,Actions not performed in this period,Actions to be performed in the next period.

Pareto law says something like this: with 20% of actions you can solve 80% of problems. I try to help on this.

How Project Managers are assigned

Usually, project managers are assigned to a project from the beginning to the end. This strategy has its advantages as continuity and strenght relationships with stakeholders.

However, there are other ways to assign project managers.

A program manager should consider assigning a more senior PM for the kick-off or initiation phase of a project to ensure a good beginning. Once the project is defined, the goals are approved and the baseline is established, you can execute the project with a more junior PM.

To perform the transition at the start point of the execution phase is something easy if you have all the information agreed from the initiation phase (project definition, baseline…).

Close projects is too a critical stage in projects, some projects needs a more senior profile to close the project and avoid the closing phase to be exceeded for a long time (with bad economic consequences for the project). The transition in this phase to a new PM is more difficult at this phase of the project, but an additional support to the junior PM can be enough to ensure a right close of the project.

Do you have any other strategy?

Project Office Manager Archetype

I have been researching information from different places about the role of the PMO in an organization.

This article simplifies the roles in 4 archetypes:
  • Scorekeeper,
  • Facilitator,
  • Quarterback,
  • Perfectionist.

Other point of view and a simplification that now, looking at the square, I see me jumping from one box to the other, depending of the project I am reviewing.

Taking into account the low maturity of the PMO, Really I have a leg as scorekeeper and other as facilitator.

My PMO does not work

The PMO creation approach is clear for me, I have read 2 books about this process and we are working on a new PMO. Nevertheless, now we are facing the change of an existing PMO that is not working properly. Thanks to Glen Alleman’s recommendation I bought this book: The Handbook of Program Management, James T. Brown

This book has a chapter named “Chaos to Clarity”, that has been very helpful for the approach we have used in our solution.

For the preparation of this solution the help of our account executive has been decisive, the knowledge of the client and its environment has been very helpful.

The definition we did about their business needs, their objectives, vision, and processes to change was very good and clear. This wise move, were exactly what we needed to get the customer listening our solution, they recognized that with the few information we had the vision of the problem was clear for us.

After that we showed our solution and they agree to work with it.

Why do you need a PMO?

Reading about the implementation of a PMO, first phase needed is to create the conditions for change. As part of it, there is the need o creating a sense of urgency and economic value.

Some general remarks to create this need:

  • Failures in projects (low trust, bad income…),
  • High time + energy consumption for upper-managers,
  • People is overloaded for long temp,
  • Do no create the number of people that upper-managers “do not want them as PM”,
  • Avoid mushroom management,

The main reason remarked in 2 sources is to build a PMO should be “to prevent large projects failures”.

As almost everything in a company, one of the key for a success starting of any idea, is that the idea grow up from direction, better if the idea is told by them :-)

Reading about all this issues I see that the preparation phase is going to be longer than I expected.

Why PMOs Implementations fails?

I have been reading about this issue becuase it’s important to learn where other failed in order to try to avoid it.

Mainly it’s due to different combinations of factors:

  • Understimating scope of organizational change needed,
  • lack of methodology while managing projects,
  • Insuficient time to develop competent proffesionals,
  • Bad timing,
  • Inadequate or insuficient change management process.

I will increase this list when I read more. If you know something else, please let me know.

Preparing PMO Approach

There are a lot of expectations in the creation of the PMO in our site. They want a PMO; they don’t know what it is and what not, but they want one.

In this scenario where expectations are so high, the first thing to do is to manage them.

At this time I think I need to prepare the field court.

The company where I work has a proven methodology and all people expect that we are only limit on work to implement it.

For me that’s an error, and I need to explain it carefully.

I see the construction od the PMO as an organizational change that will cover a lot of items of the site (people, processes…). This approach is the right one for me, the other things are tools that I need to use in the process.

As all changes, I need to create a movement:

  • Top-down: upper-managers,
  • Down-top: coaching & mentoring of people of team.

In any case, a good communication plan is mandatory.

I still need to mature this approach because change minds is not bread & crumbs, but first phase will be to prepare conditions for change.

Building a PMO

Build a PMO will be one of my new responsibilities during next months.

It’s not going to be easy but it’s a great challenge that I really need.

What would be the starting point for this PMO?

The starting point is that there are some good business reasons to create this PMO: local market, growth of the management team, coaching & mentoring needs…

My first deliverable? Initially I have to prepare the PMO charter with its all some components as mission, objectives, responsibilities and the roles that will compound this team (yes, I will have a team). Once I get the approval of my sponsor I will work on it, but the preparation of this Project Charter will conclude on January, I need vacations,

Perfect time to read some books I have already bought about PMOs,

Let´s see how it works…