An Evolutionary PMO Improvement: Software with Services

The Sad News – PMO Failure Rate

The success rate for most project organizations (PMO’s) is not promising. According to Gartner, the majority of PMO’s fail within three years. There are a number of factors that contribute to this failure rate: poorly set up PMO’s, inadequate PMO leadership, weak governance, poor portfolio management, under-skilled project leaders, etc. Even when organizations have the best of intentions, they still may fail. Organizations even need to overcome the “seven deadly sins of project portfolio management“. To compound these problems even further, PMO’s may attempt to adopt expensive and complex software to help manage projects and the project portfolio thinking that the software will improve their success. Often it causes more noise and can become an expensive paperweight. The software rarely lives up to its promise, except in the most mature organizations with a high level of discipline.

To make matters even worse, PMO’s often lack dedicated resources to improve the efficiency of the PMO. Even if there are dedicated resources, they may not have the background needed to successfully implement project portfolio management (PPM). Many Project Management Offices are understandably focused on project and program management and as a result, have limited bandwidth to focus on process improvement. Furthermore, the PMO may not have an optimal mix of Project Managers at different levels of experience.

Unfortunately, even when Senior leaders realize the need for a better project management talent pool and more efficient PMO processes, their teams don’t have enough time to improve. Instead, they falsely hope of “getting there”. But for many PMO’s, they don’t “get there”, the PMO develops at too slow a rate to demonstrate the value that the organization really needs and after a certain period of time, the PMO is disbanded.

It doesn’t have to be this way. PMOs need the right software with services.

Holistic Solutions

Due to the challenges and obstacles that every company faces, PMO’s need holistic solutions, expert solutions that address the needs for better people, processes, and software. Very few companies have the internal expertise to set up a PMO that will grow and thrive, which is why outside help is critical for doing it right. In the past, companies would seek out a consulting firm for process help, a software company for PMO software, and possibly a third agency for project management support. The problem with this approach is that it is not integrated. People, processes, and software need to work in harmony with one another in a way that aligns with the organizational culture. The odds of successfully doing this with three separate companies is low.  New and developing PMO’s really need an integrated holistic solution from PMO experts in order to give them the best chance at long-term success. This is what we call ‘software with services’.

A New Approach – Software with Services

Don’t overspend on consulting help, software, or project resources. Get the optimal mix of help to ensure that your PMO thrives. The right help at the right time can accelerate PMO development and greatly increase the chance of success for your organization. Acuity PPM provides software with services across three dimensions: consulting services, project resources, and PMO software.

Consulting Services

Acuity PPM partners with Point B, a nationally recognized consulting firm with a specialty in strategy delivery to provide an array of PMO services. These consulting services are an integral part of our vision of software with services.

PMO Enablement: Stand-up or evolve your PMO to increase its effectiveness and ROI. Point B helps you design your PMO with the goal of evolving your PMO’s capabilities and structure that will meet your strategic, mission, revenue-producing or cost-cutting objectives.   We tailor our approach to your environment, determining the key characteristics and success factors needed to achieve your business objectives.  We identify gaps that exist between your current state and desired future state and the relative priority of actions needed to rapidly increase the PMO’s value. From there, we design a point-by-point action plan, timeline, execution steps and required resources to transform your PMO into the required “future-state” model.  Based on our extensive experience in developing PMOs, we offer you guidance on how to define a clear mission, vision and scope so your PMO stays focused on delivering organizational value well into the future.

PMO Analytics: Many companies struggle with project portfolio planning as they confront how to “do more with less”. For most PMO’s there’s no structured, rationalized, or objective approach for evaluating, prioritizing, and sequencing projects. Business impact substantially increases when leaders understand the business contribution of all projects, their relative strategic priorities, and how to make the difficult decisions when project conflicts inevitably arise. When the portfolio planning process utilizes project data coupled with sophisticated analytics to enable objective decision-making based on user defined strategic criteria and constraints, greater value is unlocked. Point B’s proven project portfolio planning methodology uses a unique set of analytic capabilities to rapidly visualize and optimize your PMO portfolio across a wide array of project drivers.

Interim PMO leadership: when an organization is growing and needs to scale operations, but does not have the right skilled resources to manage the more complex components of PMO and PPM operations, this is a signal that the company needs additional help. Even worse, when there is a critical leadership void in the PMO and needs to be filled to manage daily operations, companies turn to Point B for solid delivery of the PMO as well as operational improvements to PMO and PPM processes. Only  associates with the appropriate level of PMO and PPM experience are utilized.

PMO Managed Service: managed services are widely used for processes that are outside a company’s core competency or are more efficiently managed by a provider with expertise.  Point B takes this same approach to help clients run the most effective Project Management Offices possible.  Point B offers a turnkey PMO solution that leads to predictable and reliable delivery of your strategic initiatives. The benefits of a PMO managed service include: a consistent methodology and best practices, handling daily PMO operations, execution, and delivery in order to free up your resources to focus on your core business, rapidly scaling the size of the PMO up and down to provide the right resources when you need them.

Project Resources

Getting the right mix of people and skills is challenging to most companies. Having the right people on the right projects at the right time is a critical success factor for project delivery. Ramping project teams up or down is hard to do, but Acuity PPM has an extensive partner network of high-caliber Project Managers, Business Analysts, and other project experts through Expert Velocity. Don’t get caught without the right people with the right skills. Get the right resources with the level of expertise you need:

Project ResourcesProject Coordinator: manages project schedules, risks, and issues. Develops project communications, status reports, and emails and manages smaller work streams within a large project.

Business Analyst: aligns stakeholders on requirements and business needs, creates and documents current and future states, gathers stakeholder requirements and translates these into functional specifications.

Project Leader: provides direction and collaborates effectively with business leaders, project and technical teams; leads small to medium projects or leads work streams within large programs.

Program Leader: provides direction and collaborates effectively with senior leadership and project teams; leads medium to large complex programs and develops a complex program structure while providing strategic insight.

Executive Leader: leads the most complex initiatives and provides expertise and strategic insight to solve complex business problems and transformation initiatives; advises executives on strategic decisions and best practices.

Subject Matter Expertise: provides expertise and strategic insight in support of a specific project or program; provides oversight and leadership to transformational engagements.

Point B and Expert Velocity significantly complement the vision of software with services.

PMO Software

New and developing PMO’s do not need expensive PMO software to be successful. Acuity PPM was designed to meet the needs of 80% of today’s PMO’s (maturity levels 1-2) and our PMO software is specifically designed to help newer PMO’s conduct portfolio analysis and manage the portfolio roadmaps while tracking overall project performance. Acuity PPM is lightweight and easy to use at a low cost to answer fundamental questions:

  • What is our mix of projects (by investment strategy, project type, line of business, etc.)?
  • What does our strategic plan look like?
  • What is the overall health of the portfolio?
  • When are projects scheduled to be delivered?
  • What is the status of our projects?
  • Which projects are not aligned?

The Core Functionality of Acuity PPM’s Free Version

 

Portfolio timeline
Portfolio timeline

Project Tracking: Acuity PPM offers one place to track key project information and significantly reduces the need for spreadsheets.

Project Status Reports: Acuity PPM web-based status reports can be used for portfolio review meetings or other senior management reviews and are accessible on any device by any user, which significantly reduces the need for creating PowerPoint presentations.

Reporting: Reporting is a critical capability of a good portfolio management system. Acuity PPM provides a set of basic portfolio-level dashboards as well as integration with common data visualization tools.

Don’t wait. Contact us right away to learn more about how Acuity PPM’s software with services can benefit your organization.