PMO Maturity – Is your PMO a Cost centre or a Profit Centre?

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PMO Maturity & the Project Failure Landscape

Over the last 20+ years I’ve tracked the overall competency of organisations to deliver projects successfully and to sum it up we are still basically treading water, so I started to take a keen interest in PMO Maturity.  According to the Standish Chaos Report of 2013, only 10% of large projects (meaning projects of $10m labour content) were deemed successful, with 90% challenged in some way to the point that 38% fail.  Other notable stats include;

  • 85% of change projects deliver sub-optimal results
  • Over $1 trillion is lost in undelivered / unrealised value
  • 1 in 5 organisations cannot manage change effectively
  • Very few organisations understand or practice PMO or PPM maturity audits and planning
  • The ROI of project spend is often unknown
Project failure landscape

Project failure landscape

Low Maturity PMOs can’t handle complexity

I stumbled over a useful guide published at the Australian PMI Conference in July 2012.  It really resonated with me as I have worked with a wide range of clients in 20+ years.  It tells a very simple but telling truth – if the maturity of your PMO Capability is low, you simply can’t handle complex projects and performance and delivery effectiveness drops off very quickly.  However, if you are a higher / high maturity PMO Capability, you can handle much more complex projects and maintain a higher level of delivery and performance.

PMO & Project Complexity Vs Performance

PMO & Project Complexity Vs Performance

We don’t have time to measure how bad we are – We JFDI !

During my career I worked with one of the worlds largest Defence Contractors and they invested heavily in the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Maturity Model for Systems and Requirements Engineering, the journey from Level 1 to Level 5 took them 7 years (the average is 6.3 years) and established a very highly effective and mature approach to complex systems development.  There was no way they could run projects using JFDI, you simply can’t do that over 42 sites with 100,000 engineers.  So why are we seeing more JFDI and “hero project management” in large companies and on large programmes?

My contention is people think its too complex and takes too long to assess PMO Maturity, readiness and outcomes, but there are more agile ways of doing this, but the ultimate truth in any business is to understand its self and here I quote Socrates…….

Know thyself is the beginning of wisdom

Know thyself is the beginning of wisdom

As PMO practitioners we have a duty to understand where our PMO strengths and weakness reside and to put in place plans to plug those gaps and improve over time.  Such investment is initially is seen as a cost (investment for the more enlightened) but as incremental gains are made in various competencies that make up the PMO, the PMO will change from being a cost centre to a profit centre, ergo, the PMO is operating at a high level of maturity and deliver “more with the same”, realise business change and benefits sooner, deliver projects more profitably or ahead of schedule etc….

PMO from cost to profit centre

PMO from cost to profit centre

PMO Maturity Audits & Reporting Made Easy

Lord Kelvin sums it up quite well, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.

So if you join a PMO and no body wants to (or is too afraid to) admit they don’t know the maturity level of their PMO, then you can expect the JFDI model to be in full operation and all the symptoms that persist in a low maturity PMO, namely;

  • Hero / fire fighting project management
  • Poor change control & communication
  • Absenteeism & high staff turn over
  • Blame game culture
  • Lack of ownership & accountability
  • Confusion on roles and responsibilities
  • No time to think about self improvement, maturity planning is non-existant
  • And last but not least – failed projects, poor delivery & low value add to BAU

In response to this, Bestoutcome developed a series of Apps that can help the PMO Practitioner quickly and consistently assess readiness and outcomes of key / critical programmes as well as the maturity of the PMO.

PMO Audit Apps overview

PMO Audit Apps overview

MaturityPoint allows you to configure any PMO maturity assessment using preconfigured templates or your own PMO competency scoring frameworks.  In a matter of minutes you can assess the maturity of any business capability, product, service, process or department in your business.

PMO Maturity App

PMO Maturity App

With RiskPoint us answer a set of 36 best practice questions to quickly reach a baseline of the risk associated with achieving your desired program or change outcomes, along with corrective actions.

Outcome Audit App

Outcome Audit App

With ReadinessPoint you can quantify project readiness for any given change programme and generates prioritized and best practice corrective actions in a comprehensive one touch PDF report.

Readiness Audit App

Readiness Audit App

Conclusions

Bestoutcome are changing the way we think about PMO maturity, business change and transformation projects.  With the use of simple, easy to use best practice Apps, the PMO can quickly baseline key projects, competency & maturity with minimal investment .  Don’t be fooled, improving your PMO maturity still takes time but with these tools in your bag, you have some additional best practice levers to kickstart your journey towards transforming your PMO from a cost centre into a profit centre.

If you want to learn more about these apps, contact us to arrange a dedicated onsite workshop where we will run a FREE readiness, outcome and PMO Maturity assessment with your PMO with a follow on 3 month FREE trial.  

Enquiries: info@bestoutcome.com  +44 1753 885864   http://www.bestoutcome.com

About Bestoutcome

Bestoutcome specialises in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) software and services, always focusing on the overall outcome to ensure successful business change. Our approach is based on delivering specific business outcomes within a uniquely transparent, risk managed and open framework. This is achieved by using highly experienced consultants combined with PM3, a client configurable Programme Management Office (PMO) software and reporting toolset, allied to an outcome-driven project management (ODPM) methodology.  Bestoutcome’s starting point is always the client’s ultimate business goal and we never lose sight of this. Bestoutcome’s timesheet software, PM3time is used in many private and public sector organisations for automating timesheet capture and reporting processes.  Bestoutcome has completed a significant range of change management assignments for large organisations operating in sectors such as Finance, Manufacturing, Energy, Retail, Public Sector, Insurance and Hospitality.  Bestoutcome is ISO27001 Security Certified and our PM3 product range is available to Public Sector clients via the UK Government Digital Market Place.

 

 

David Walton
About the author
David Walton

I am David Walton, Programme,Project and Portfolio Management specialist and director of Bestoutcome here in the UK. We make the PMO tools PM3, PM3time and PM3change, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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