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

Blog 07-04-2021

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
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 it’s 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
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 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 nobody 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-existent
  • 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
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 is 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.

Outcome-driven success

Outcome-driven success

Our products help you deliver successful change programmes and projects by always focusing on the overall business outcomes. Find out how our products can help you.

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