Learned lessons, SubProjects

Imagine a big company where they have a huge PMO with a large amount of projects. Some group of PMs feel that they are doing good projects but they are not getting enough profit in these projects. Why? mainly because the resources they can hire are limited in the market and because there is a lot of quality/risk/communication management that makes the executions slow and cut the final profit they can take.

In this scenario the PMO is under pressure becuase these lobby of PMs wants to change the methodology of the projects in order to be more competitive. After all this pressure, the PMO give up to these requests and they decide not to change the Project Management methodology; they prefer to make it wider including a new type of projects under different conditions and that cover the requests claimed by this lobby of PMs.

They decide to call these projects SubProjects. Now a PM can execute projects with easy conditions that provides them a better profit, being able to offer projects with a lower cost than the competence. The expectations are huge and there is not need so much time to convince the clients to execute projects with this new innovative model.

The orders of new projects start to arrive and the clients feels very confortable with this model that will allow them to have deliverables in a better way. The risk? No problem, the conditions are risky but the market is growing up quickly and it’s able to assume these conditions. The competence is doing the same so I’m not going to be less competitive than others.

PM starts to hire people that don’t have the enough knowledge to execute the projects, integrating them in groups where there are some experienced people. It’s supposed that the experience of a some people is going to feed the absence of experience of the majority, so everything seems to be right.

On the other hand, the procedures about how to control the deliverables of the projects are minimized and the projects have not to communicate the status of the budget to the PMO each week, it can be done each 6 months; they don’t need to perform peer reviews ; they don’t have to evaluate the risk management plan… this allows the PM concentrates in the execution and don’t loose time in reports. This is the competitive advantage that PM sees and he feels very proud about how is doing business.

The projects are being executed and the confidence in the evolution is good: the model cannot fail. Suddenly some time later, when clients start to see the final deliverables of their projects, they check that the product they hired is not as they expected. They are not satisfied and they are not agree in the payment of the project price.

This situation is not good and the PM decides to complete the project deliverables with other resources of other projects. This fact allows them to complete the firsts projects but makes the other projects to be delayed from the first day of the execution.

In this situation, PMO starts to see that things are not going right and starts to advice to PM about the problems they are provoking. PM are overloaded and they only have time to save their inmediate problems.

The problems continue growing up and the PM have not more margin to resolve their problems: they cannot deliver the projects to the customers and they continue accumulating cost/delay in their accounts.

As the situation is critical for the company, the PMO starts to help PM with some amount of money to try to finish some projects. This measure is not enough and the situation continues being the same.

What can PMO do?

PMO now is thinking in taking all the cost accumulated by PMs in order to resolve the problems with their customers and recover the trust in their company. Nevertheless these SubProjects will be transformed in regular projects in order to execute them with the PM methodology applied in the company that so much credibility has provided to the firm.

To be continued…

Birth of the CMM

In the mid 1980’s software had become an increasingly larger part of weapons systems and many products.

The U.S. DoD was strongly dissatisfied with the outcomes of weapons development projects. This gave rise to the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and the first Capability Maturity Model (CMM) funded by the DoD.
As consequence of all of this, the first CMM (CMM v1.0) was developed for software and released in August 1990.

Since I’m working with our internal process framework, based in specific practices of the CMMI, I have discovered that making pressure on different Process Areas, reviewing and improving them, we are removing a lot of non necessary work that was supposed to be done.

To improve these areas, we review it each month and create actions to improve those that are not as ‘green’ light.

one of the key points?

The addition in the Specific Process Areas of check list questions that provoke the people think about if they detect any corrective or preventive action.

What the clients expect from our service?

We are providing IT services at application level to our customers.

This has been the typical IT Service where earned value has always measure with the # of resolved items divided between # hours charged to the budget.

After to do a big internal work on the resources to point their attention on the business I have been able to enable some kind of information in the monthly reports.

Since some time ago, I have added to these reports (I still cannot remove the numbers) the added value to the business: calendar with their business events related to applications supported by us, which business processes have been improved with our preventive actions, a list of new improvements with their business added value…

the feedback…?

Mainly the change has been seen as positive by the proactive sense of it. But from this point, the reaction to this change in our service support has been different.

The positive: they understand the positive effect of this methods to their business and understand that the cost at large term is low for them due to the continuous adaptation to their business without a big investment. They mentioned they are happy to see real vigilance on their processes.

The negative: they only see over cost, they only want we work on corrective actions.

Then, has this new information change the vision of the service by the customer?

No, their objectives continue being the same, but the added value has been a general increase in the level of confidence in our relationship.

As if that’s nothing!