IT PMO Panic?

It’s 3:30 on Thursday afternoon, and your CIO is waiting for the weekly report.  You’re cramming the last details into your spreadsheet, checking that the bar charts are accurate (it’s not, but it’s close), checking that your Gantt chart with milestones is clean (it’s not correct, but you wonder how close it is), reviewing the cost forecast (which you know is wrong, but you guess that across the portfolio it might be pretty close), and so on.  Another typical day in the PMO Director’s life.

Meanwhile, your CIO knows what to expect; a report that is already out of date, sourced from a number of stand-alone schedules, stored in a variety of unsecure spreadsheets, and a headache that everyone lives with.

Is it time for your PMO to panic?  Yup.

A Project Management Office exists to do three things:

  • Help Executives select and understand how projects will contribute to the organization’s goals,
  • Spot problems and fix them, or help Executives make tough decisions about them, and
  • Help the organization plan and do projects successfully.

IT PMO’s typically are the “cobbler’s kids”.  In an IT organization with loads of systems at hand, the PMO is forced to put up with islands of information, spreadsheets, reports and extracts from the finance system, and stand-alone schedules.  This is, of course, counter to everything an IT organization tries to deliver to their clients.  So, what are the technical components for a successful PMO?

  • Integrated Schedule Management;
  • Project-level Resource Management and Enterprise-level Resource Planning;
  • Cost Management for estimate, budget, commitments, incurred, actuals, accruals, holdbacks, and a variety of forecasts, along with contract management and change management;
  • Document Management for submittals, transmittals, reviews, and more;
  • Collaboration & Mobility with your own company and contractors;
  • Portfolio Selection;
  • Automated Processes; and,
  • Training and ongoing adoption strategies.

This requires an element of investment to get your PMO enabled, but with this you get tremendous beneftis.  Have a look at this business case research by Forrester on a part of the solution.

Over the next few “installations” in this series, I’m going to dive into each of these topics and provide more details about what each means, and why it is important.  Additionally, I’ll include some samples of what that looks like.