The modern PMO delivers value through focus and alignment
Part four of “The Five Pillars of the Modern PMO” blog series
As organizations struggle to more rapidly respond to changing market conditions, the modern PMO has two options: become part of the solution or get sidelined.
According to Gartner senior research analyst Mbula Schoen, “As enterprises endeavor to innovate with a range of technologies and transform the business at speed, the PMO must evolve its service and function model to support these massive changes or risk being relegated to the sidelines.”
When there’s a shift in the business paradigm, companies are often faced with a challenge and an opportunity. A shifting marketplace can be seen as a threat to current revenue or an opportunity to emerge as a leader within a new paradigm. Employees are no different, and the PMO is a perfect example. As business cycles shorten and competitive threats abound, the PMO can opt to keep a low profile and see its influence slowly erode—or it can see the changing landscape as an opportunity to become more relevant than ever.
PMOs striving for the latter must become experts in ensuring that all projects deliver business value in a fast- changing environment. Asking the following questions regularly, and answering them with real-time, relevant data, can help you achieve this.
- Are we validating and adjusting our assumptions regularly?
In today’s app economy, where circumstances change quickly, planning must be a continuous exercise. The PMO should incorporate real-time modeling, optimization algorithms and collaboration tools to continuously ensure the right solutions are under development. This means monitoring developments in the marketplace, responding to the changing needs of customers and auditing internal circumstances that might impact the outcome. Projects should be adjusted regularly, and teams should be provided with a living delivery framework to guide them.
- Are we maintaining alignment across the board?
For maximum efficiency, PMOs must ensure alignment across the organization. All leaders, teams and projects must be pulling in the same direction. That means the strategic PMO is expanding its scope from the delivery of individual projects to the delivery of value to the organization. It’s ensuring alignment between team members and between teams. Moreover, it’s ensuring alignment between strategic investments and overarching corporate goals. Alignment supports the ultimate goal of the PMO: to solve business problems and guide the company toward a specific, positive outcome.
- Are we tracking to meet objectives?
Today’s PMO starts by defining successful outcomes, maps what needs to be done to meet them and tracks progress along the way. Project managers can create simple plans that track key milestones or detailed plans for more complex, multitiered initiatives. Goals are set at individual, team and organizational levels and monitored closely to ensure the project remains on track.
As a product release approaches, managers need to be hyperaware of outstanding issues and dependencies and ensure they’re being resolved. Trending capabilities monitor operations over the lifetime of the project and help PMOs predict success or failure. A project accurately identified as trending in the wrong direction early on means course corrections can be made long before the project nears completion. The trend is your friend.
- Is the project delivering the best value for the cost?
Project costs must always be captured and accounted for. As a project progresses, forecasts should be updated with aggregated accruals and new estimates to illustrate the real cost of the project against the original budget. This gives project managers visibility into the rate of project completion for financial analysis and chargeback allocations.
Performance metrics provide additional insight. Automated, fact-based feedback, including how people are actually working, can provide guidance for everything from individual planning increments to delivery of the overall portfolio.
Real-time financial forecasts combined with performance metrics provide executive management with the information they need to quickly make intelligent, data-driven business decisions and promote sound investment strategies.
The integrated CA Project & Portfolio Management and CA Agile Central solution provides all the tools necessary to facilitate both project execution and portfolio delivery, including enterprise program and project planning, estimating, budgeting, resource allocation, collaboration and time capture. For more information on how this combined solution benefits the modern PMO, visit the modern PMO page on www.ca.com
 Gartner, Seven Best Practices for a Highly Effective PMO. Schoen, M. March 10, 2016.