The value of a PMO – (2/2)

PMO picIn our previous article, The Value of a PMO – (Part 1/2), we discussed the definition of value and ways to capture / deliver the values from a PMO. Today, we will discuss ways you can measure the value of a PMO and how to communicate this.

 Measuring Value

You can say that you are adding value through improved performance in project delivery, but unless you really have a way to demonstrate it in practice, it becomes nothing more than mere words. So, how can you show it? Quick answer: By measuring it. Defining, selecting, tracking and controlling a set of key metrics, showing the variance across your – original state, baseline, current state, your progress, aspirational state, and target – is surely a way to do it. These key metrics are commonly referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs) and, as the name suggests, provide an indication of how successfully an individual / team / department / organization is operating. There are a number of KPIs that the PMO may want to measure, but the crucial message when selecting those is that it is better to have a few couple of meaningful ones than a lot of KPIs that are simply irrelevant. Again, just like with the perception of value, the definition and selection of the KPIs to be measured should not be an isolated decision of the PMO, but should be discussed and selected in partnership with their customer, the PMO’s sponsor. Most of the time, gathering of data for KPI-tracking can be time-consuming for PMO staff, so you should at least ensure that they are significant to your sponsor and aligned to your services, functions and PMO type.

pmo blog kpis

When it comes to KPIs, you need to KISS – keep it simple, stupid! It may be that your best indicator of success is a simple question: “Would you recommend the PMO?” After deciding which are the right KPIs for your PMO, you should ensure that these are continuously monitored and controlled, applying corrective actions where appropriate. Also, you can benchmark your own KPIs against those of your competition or best-in-class organizations. What are KPIs that you use to help your PMO measure value?

Communicating Value

Communicating to your stakeholders that value is being added is just as important as defining value itself. Not rarely PMOs are challenged and, most of the time, this is not because they are not adding value, but because they are not communicating that value. While it is true that PMOs are not marketeers, it is fundamental that PMOs maintain the momentum and continuously show their value, so that they build reliability, trust, and accountability. This includes not just reporting periodically on the progress of KPIs relating to project performance, but also on the effectiveness of the PMO itself, establishing regular checkpoints with the PMO Sponsor, and advertising the PMO’s achievements. The saying goes that “pic or didn’t happen,” so don’t be afraid to show your KPIs and celebrate success along the way. Communicating your value not just justifies why your PMO is critical to business, but also helps it sustain over time as a recognized source and enabler of value.

So…where to start? How to implement a PMO as an office delivering real value?

This is a difficult question and a whole article could be written about it! Perhaps the first thing is to recognize that PMOs are no silver bullets and that by simply having a PMO you will not solve all your problems. Bearing this in mind, you should understand from your stakeholders what are their concerns for the organization, where value can be unlocked, and set your vision for the PMO accordingly. Implementing a PMO from scratch can be a slow, challenging job, and you won’t see all the results immediately. Do not despair, however. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Same goes for a PMO implementation.

So, let us know: “What are your personal findings on the implementation of a PMO delivering real value?”

This article is a joint effort of Marisa Silva, PMO Analyst at Oxford University Press and Rick Bouter, PMO at the Capgemini University & Sogeti Labs and Capgemini Expert Connect member.

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