The PMO provides Organise the business for PPM a layer above the project management process, focusing on selecting the best group of programmes, defining them in terms of their constituent projects and providing an infrastructure whereby projects can be run successfully while leaving the job of delivery to the project management community. The focus of the PMO is to coordinate and communicate on all programmes and projects in the enterprise, as well as to be the knowledge centre see Figure 9 with regard to training, leadership, mentoring, best practice, project governance standards, and so on that supports managers in the implementation of the tasks and work packages required to achieve successful project completion.
This relationship is designed to help the business to identify the precise measures that need to be taken in order to turn strategic goals into reality, as well as to determine the key performance indicators that show whether goals are being met. At the heart of a PMO is its relationship with the PPMT, the aim being to enable the business to coordinate and integrate complex multi-project initiatives across an entire enterprise.
This partnership between the PMO and the PPMT is there to empower the executive decision making stream with the necessary information to help prioritise and balance project initiatives, justify decisions, measure risk vs return and allocate resources in a way that maximises their impact on the business. One of the main issues when implementing a PPM process is that different layers of management within the business have their own territorial issues and perspectives.
Project Portfolio Management Tools & Techniques
As stated earlier, the PPMT consists of executives and senior postholders who are charged with responsibility for making all key decisions that affect the project portfolio. As can be seen from Figure 11, the PMO provides the bridge that joins the operational stream with the strategic stream. In effect a PMO is an information repository that provides the visibility needed to understand the health of ongoing projects and the potential impact of planned projects — and ensures that all projects are evaluated in the same manner.
The PMO provides the information required for decision making and ensures that the decisions are being carried out. PMOs are becoming a standard feature within many organisations and are viewed as the operational centre supporting any project within the business.
The Complete Guide to Project Portfolio Management
Has access to company strategy, goals and vision, which will become key objectives at the programme, project and work package levels. Manages the project selection and prioritisation process and has responsibility for managing the project pipeline. Project managers and project teams will use this level to set up and manage projects either independently or as part of a programme.
Gives visibility of individual tasks and work packages, that is, the component parts of the project. Sarbanes-Oxley requires, for example, visibility of key strategic metrics that support alignment with organisational performance management, as well as operational statements linked to dynamic business and project plans that can highlight anomalies and provide workflow to ensure awareness and action.
In essence, legislation like SarbanesOxley ultimately demands that corporate executives be responsible for establishing, maintaining and implementing sound internal governance controls and procedures. Sarbanes-Oxley has therefore been a catalyst for the development of the discipline of information technology governance Organise the business for PPM since the early s, which has now spilled over into other parts of the business, with demands for greater project accountability.
Project governance standards form a subset of corporate governance standards. The rising interest in them within PPM is not only due to compliance initiatives as stated above, but also acknowledges that projects can easily get out of control and profoundly affect the performance of an organisation. The project governance process is essentially about building an accountability framework to encourage best practice behaviour in the project delivery process.
It is designed to embed accountability and provide a balanced approach to understanding where, when, and why a project has failed, gone out of control or not been delivered according to plan. We discuss many of the important elements of good project governance throughout the book. You will see that many of the project governance elements outlined above will find their way into the PPM process as it is rolled out.
In order for the project management process to deliver, it needs to be supplied with the relevant tools, assets, budget and resources. When supplied and armed with the relevant tools to do the job, the project management process needs to be held accountable for its delivery. As we will discuss later in this section, milestone management forms the base structure of this contract. All businesses need to provide credible evidence that their management of resources, programmes and projects is in line with regulatory requirements and project governance standards.
Over recent years there has been Organise the business for PPM a rapid development of the techniques and processes needed to fulfil this information compliance and governance requirement.
What Do PPM Tools Do And How Can They Help You?
Large blue chip enterprises have implemented planning and resourcing capabilities which tie in to year-end reporting and financial systems, helping measure past performance. The consensus of opinion is that this reporting one to three months after a project has ended is not good enough. The glaring hole in this approach is the lack of visibility of project activities at the coal face as they happen. Gaining and managing the visibility of the rapidly changing environment of a project is the key to implementing a PPM process. Moreover, executives are also focused on how this accountability and project governance are translated and detailed throughout the organisation.
The PPM project governance process needs to be tied into a relevant role based structure in order to ensure that information is easily rolled up and down the business, linking the executive and operational levels.
This is designed to give business managers and decision makers a far more accurate and up-to-date view of their information and of the business. Communication and visibility are at the heart of a successful project governance process, enabling the business to maintain a consistent view of the project portfolio throughout the length and breadth of the organisation.
Also, it is 45 Project Portfolio Management 46 essential that the relevant stakeholders are made accountable for their role within the project delivery process. Understanding the strategy at all levels of the organisation is essential because even simple and seemingly non-strategic decisions are affected. Managers at all levels of the organisation need to use strategic objectives as a guide for ongoing operational decisions. A clear line of communication helps define the expected outcomes and answers.
Too often executives are not only horrified to find that projects are not doing what they want them to do, but they are also unable to interrogate systems and processes that will give them a single version of the truth. This is essential to increase awareness of milestones and also the importance of achieving them both with senior management and with team members. Milestones underpin the delivery of products, services and benefits to an organisation.
Their visibility to management is in relation to project and programme control, not just for project based staff but also for the business stakeholders such as account managers, directors and the board.
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Milestone management is central to controlling what the business has agreed to deliver both internally and to customers; however, the reporting of milestones, as with any other reporting, can be cumbersome when attempted at different levels in the management hierarchy. It is therefore critical to deploy a PPM process that make these milestones visible to all Organise the business for PPM levels of management, embodied within a single integrated system and sourced from a single database.
For example, let us say that one of the high-level objectives is to increase the customer base. This can be broken down into multiple capabilities, for example, CRM system improvements, customer segmentation and a promotion scheme. These high-level capabilities can be broken down into programmes and the multiple projects that make up the CRM programme, for example, to upgrade software IT Department , market research Marketing Department , customer loyalty campaign Sales and Marketing Department , and so on.
Progress against milestones needs to be monitored within a single integrated system, and full support throughout all levels of the business should be given to project changes that will enable milestones to be achieved. This single integrated system and process remedies governance and accountability very easily because it provides for one version of the truth and a single point of entry. The system and processes need to be designed to make project information consistent, current and complete, and also to ensure that staff work only within this single solution and according to clearly defined processes, eliminating the time it takes to move between applications and manage multiple workflows.
Rather than solely managing project delivery from the task upwards, as with many traditional project management processes, it is essential to set a governance-style contract, that is, to agree milestones with the project managers that distils accountability from the top down. In other words, as we outlined earlier, on the one hand, project managers are accountable for their deliverables, while on the other, executives are accountable for ensuring that they provide the necessary resources and elements to achieve these deliverables.
Moreover, it is essential that executives and the project manager alike are able to see in real time whether projects are on time, why have they been moved and who moved them, and the impact that this has on the business as a whole. One of the primary advantages of this framework is that it helps participants at the negotiating table to separate the map from the territory and safeguard against decisions that may be short-sighted or that may be driven by the individual that wields the largest proverbial hammer. It ensures that business leaders are better able to spot project redundancies, resource appropriately, and understand budget allocation and spend, as well as keeping close tabs on project progress.
A critical component of the successful deployment of PPM is ensuring that the relevant project information is visible to relevant people at the right time. Role based visibility is a major feature of most PPM software today; it offers metrics, alerting, drill-down and management capabilities to help the organisation as a whole monitor and understand project information in a simple format relevant to the role of each of the individual stakeholders.
This method of distributing project data to a large and diverse set of roles within the business is typically outputted through a software dashboard interface, condensing large volumes of information, either to show the big picture or to present multiple dimensions simultaneously. Deploying role based visibility ensures that business leaders are better able to spot project redundancies, resource projects appropriately, and understand budget allocation and spend, as well as keeping close tabs on project progress and how it impacts on the bottom line.
But what is most important about role based visibility is the ability to deliver this information in real time and on demand from a centralised data source see section 3. Role based visibility is a fast and effective means of integrating the strategic with the operational and providing a practical means of real-time opportunity detection. It is simply not enough for the business to manage its projects at any one given level; visibility and responsibilities have to be distributed throughout the organisation. All types of roles must be able to view highlevel data and also be able to quickly drill down into the details of a project.
Dashboards provide automated reporting and built-in notifications, meaning programme and project managers spend less time manually managing project documents and data and more time managing the delivery process.
Dashboards give team members instant assess to project tasks, workloads and activities and enable them to input timesheet and expense information. A role based approach to PPM deployment is designed to bring rich and complex information direct to the desktop in a simple format relevant to the roles of key project coordinators and stakeholders.
In effect, not tailoring the process around a role based approach makes it virtually impossible to accelerate the time between getting information, understanding that information and, most importantly, acting on it. Where once executives and business leaders had to wait days or even weeks, with a role based approach to PPM the business is able to produce project performance reports, financial forecasting and resourcing needs in real time.
Not only do business leaders need to be able to predict the future shape of their markets, but they need access to real-time information that can enable the enterprise to be agile enough to cope with the sudden onset of unforeseeable business changes as well as unexpected opportunities.
Much has been written about the real-time enterprise. The idea is to get relevant information into the hands of decision-makers as soon as possible. Yet people still have many project failures. Real-time information is therefore critical to anyone who manages complex, enterprise-wide, multi-project environments requiring quick decisions throughout all the levels of the business.
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For example, how quickly is your business able to make the following decisions? As we will explain later, spreadsheets are one of the mostly widely used but also widely abused applications and notoriously inaccurate and problematic when it comes to planning, resourcing and compiling management information. The reality is that data resides within a variety of domains which are physically as well as digitally scattered across wide areas of the enterprise. Rarely do these departments base their interpretations on the same data source, inhibiting not only the speed of decision making but more importantly its quality and accuracy.
What emerge are isolated knowledge centres, little empires that are usually the preserve of middle managers, inaccessible to executives and team managers alike. Communication is therefore a roadblock between layers of management, preventing the business as a whole from detecting early warnings and opportunity signals.
The PPM process levers the real-time component by making corporate, programme and project milestones visible to operational and seniors managers alike and updates these automatically as activity within the business takes place. At the operational level this also enables key personnel, such as resource and project managers, to track changes in real time see section 3.
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PPM utilises the real-time component via role based dashboards to ensure all stakeholders are informed as quickly as possible of events that are relevant to them. Role based technology is used to ensure stakeholders have the means to get appropriate information when it suits them and in formats they can use see section 3. A key component of PPM is access to a single, reliable data source that is updated from all areas of the business in real time. Access to a single data source ensures not only that no significant business event goes unnoticed by managers upstream and downstream within the business, but that there is also one single version of the truth see this section.
PPM utilises the real-time component by providing the business with the ability to execute end-to-end project processes against set corporate strategies and objectives. As well as enabling the business to communicate Organise the business for PPM in real time, project based information at every level delivers compelling value to customers and stakeholders both external and internal to the business.
As we have frequently stated one of the primary problems many businesses face is their inability to communicate and report project information upstream and downstream through layers of management. While top management are aware of strategic goals, most staff down the hierarchy typically have an alternative vision and little or no understanding of their obligation to support these goals because accurate information is simply not communicated.
In effect the organisation builds, defines and displays information based on different interpretations of the strategy. The issue is compounded by reporting infrastructures that are typically fragmented, incomplete or linked to particular functions, with no means of centralising data into a coherent and meaningful system that management can trust.
The result is that executives are spending days and weeks manually assembling project reports with data that is too often dangerously outdated by the time it reaches them.