Expanding beyond team/social collaboration to business collaboration
The term “collaboration” has become one of the primary hot topics for businesses and analysts throughout the industry lately. At its most basic level, “collaboration” simply means “working with others in a coordinated fashion toward a common goal.” But few actually attempt to define what it really means in the context of business and PPM.
This is a question that has been posed many times and answered many times. Yet, we continue to see PMOs failing very often. Does it mean that the answers that have been presented are incorrect? Not necessarily. In fact, most answers surrounding metrics and value are relevant but don't address the question of "fit". The metrics that make sense for one business may not make sense for another.
At the end of the day it is about demonstrating value to the business as a whole. A successful PMO is a PMO that is focused on business value and helps the C-suite succeed in its strategic objectives. Daptiv's four-part PMO Success Webinar series explores this in more detail. The goal of the webinar series is to provide real-world insights on how PMOs can become strategic assets to the business.
Early this week we announced the launch of our upcoming PMO Success Webinars for 2012, aimed at offering real-world guidance on how to build and run a successful Project Management Office. This free educational series will provide insights and perspectives from PMO Directors and Consultants at organizations running successful PMOs as well as Daptiv’s professional services team.
According to research performed by industry analysts such as Project Management Institute (PMI), the Gartner Group, and Forrester Research, 25% of all PMOs closed within one year and 50% closed within two years. Clearly, PMOs face significant challenges within their organizations. On the other hand, the need to successfully complete projects has never been greater. Most companies recognize that projects are a major vehicle by which companies grow, improve and meet their business objectives. The need to plan, monitor, and execute projects has never been greater. Companies decide to setup PMOs to do just that but they often fail to get the desired results from them. Daptiv’s PMO Success Webinar Series will shed light on how companies can prevent the fall of PMOs and instead turn them into a strategic asset.
People and organizations all over the world continue to embrace and adopt "Lean Management Principles" in their work. What started with Edward Deming in the 1950s and later found its way into the Toyota Production System has now made inroads into software development. You will notice that IT organizations and software development teams often talk about "Lean" software development or "Kanban" as it pertains to how they work. It is therefore essential that today's Project Management Office (PMO) understand this old new way of project execution in order to stay relevant in today's business climate.
Before we go any further, let us first understand what Lean is all about and whether PMOs should embrace this concept as well. Lean in a nutshell, is a set of tools that help in the identification and elimination of waste. As waste is eliminated, quality improves, consequently, reducing time and cost of production. While elimination of waste can seem to be a simple subject, it is often easier said than done. Organizations often have a difficulty classifying a process or activity as waste and often tend to be conservative when identifying/defining waste. Toyota defines Lean as the reduction of three types of waste:
Inconsistency/Unevenness as it pertains to flow of work
A quick trip to Wikipedia yields the following definition for resource leveling: ‘a project management technique used to examine unbalance use of resources (usually people or equipment) over time, and for resolving over-allocations or conflicts.' In other words, through resource leveling we can ensure that the project schedule is reasonable and realistic from a resource perspective - that the people or equipment needed to execute the work will be available when and where they are needed.
Sounds simple? The reality is that resource leveling needs to take multiple factors into account and can be anything but simple. And, like anything else that's really complicated, most of us are looking for better tools to help us accomplish the task. That's when the question about automatic resource leveling comes up.
While some project scheduling tools provide a process to see if resources are overloaded, others also provide a function that will recalculate the schedule to eliminate any overloads. As exciting as it may sound, in practice, it's common to see that managers either never use it or even if they do, they don't use the resulting schedule without making a lot of other adjustments. Why? Because even though automatic resource leveling can quickly ‘resolve' overloads, it typically does it by delaying tasks until the resource is available. What it cannot do is account for human or project variables; all it does is throw some simple numbers. The solution uses elementary level math to solve a calculus-worthy problem.
What's in a name? As far as PMOs are concerned, it matters quite a bit. Standard parlance maintains that PMO stands for Project Management Office. Back in the days when the PMO literally ran a single project or program, the name was fine. But over time the PMO has evolved. Its scope of work has increased manifolds- first, it performs its core responsibility- to run all projects, next it sets up a methodology, and finally serves as a center for strategic portfolio planning. The charter of the PMO has now evolved to a point where the acronym bears little relevance to its traditional meaning.
To begin with, there is this notion that the new strategic PMO can be run by a good project or program manager. Indeed, most PMO Directors that I've met come from the project management ranks. While many perform admirably, their first inclination is to enforce methodology discipline - the death knell of many a PMO. Without a solid business background PMs are often ill prepared to handle the strategic trade-offs of the portfolio selection and planning process. Portfolio management is in essence a business process requiring strategy and operations expertise. In fact, analyzing competing business priorities does not require PM skills at all. It requires keen facilitation skills to handle the contentious debates that crop up between VPs arguing for their pet projects. Furthermore, a solid understanding of what makes a company tick while holding business stakeholders accountable for business cases.