Thursday, January 3, 2013

Purview and Sucess of PMO(Program Management Office)

I have been following some discussions on what should be the right structure of a Program Management Office (PMO), whether the organization culture and leadership has a decisive impact on success of PMO or not etc. There have been multiple views and perspectives.

 Why and Where the perception starts to break
While I agree to the point that the success of a PMO vastly depends on the way the company leadership perceives it, but at the same time, the question is why many leadership starts the PMO group with lot of enthusiasm and then it loses the steam. Is the leadership going wrong here? I think it is YES and NO both. YES because they cannot measure the ROI in the right fashion ( Let us be honest that PMO is cost to organizations and there is no formula about what's the optimal cost for it), hence, pretty often the initial fizzle dies out when the running becomes smooth and the value is not felt anymore. At the same time they are NOT right due to the fact the perception with which PMO is setup itself is faulty, hence they do not get the right value what an organized entity of high-caliber managers can really deliver.
Root Problem
The fundamental problem in the very fast moving world is to break the traditional shackles of looking PMO as an organization to manage only scope, schedule and budget.  In this way, the commonality becomes prevalent and the organizations lose the edge to the competitors. The PMO organizations need to evolve from traditional Metrics monitoring and reporter model to Strategic Influencers and Differentiators category.
The vision for future

To move to that Leaders quadrant, now the enterprises and PMO group within that has to widen their view encompassing the next set of differentiators of not only delivering right, but deliver with great quality to ensure repeat business, satisfy the customers. At the same time execute with efficiency to bring cost savings to enterprise. In management terms,  operating margin and profitability should be high to enjoy shareholders /Venture Capitalists loyalty and further investments which can fuel the next wave of growth. In order to do that Enterprises need to adopt or bring in the pace of innovation, create evolving knowledge management framework, reduce the layers of communication between end customer and execution teams etc. Only then, the leadership will be able to realize the benefit of enhanced productivity, reduced cost and optimal quality. At the same time, the PMO organization will be providing the right structure to engage the multi-polar entities of Engineering /Delivery Organization, Salesforce , R&D or Innovation councils etc. If the salesforce gets at their fingertips the value differentiators they can demonstrate and engage the customers, the business of organization grows and as long as revenue with right margin continues to grow I have no doubt that the leadership will perceive the value of a PMO organizations. 

Engage and Change
While the saying is easy, putting this to action requires Leadership buy-in because we are talking about integrating and setting up of centrally monitoring unit of different groups like Engineering Execution and Delivery Management, Innovation and R&D management, Quality management etc. It will create the visibility of execution quality to the Salesforce and breaking the shields between each group/stakeholders requires bold decisions and smart implementers. Change is never easy and change is best accepted when communicated rightly by the leadership with the value creation for each one involved in it. As long as there is an "inclusive and engaging" agenda to convince the employee about "what's in it for me by doing what's in it for the enterprise" the change will be successful. This change will bring in gradual paradigm shift of PMO functions and responsibilities will across organizations.

Mobile Projects Delivery model

Even though the size of the mobile projects are small in terms of effort and cost, the challenges are plenty due to multiple touch-points.  Multiple challenges like establishing the ROI, filtering the diverse user need, lack of established model ( Delivery as well as Finance), Training/ramp-up model, optimal threshold for resource mix (I call it P-cube or People Proficiency Pyramid), Risk model, dependency establishment, fast pace evolving technology etc raises eyebrow to IT offices about how to go forward with the projects. People are sure they have to embark on the journey, but uncertainty creates a backward pull force.

I have been exposed to multiple clients and their needs, have been following the evolution of this space, involved in the Business Analysis and setup of Mobile CoEs. By virtue of it, I have drawn up the following model (just a snapshot given below) to amalgamate the multiple challenges on the left hand-side, the considerations the BA needs to analyse while working with the enterprise to finalize the requirement and the delivery model boosted by Agile methodology, backed by a robust KM and resourcing framework to deliver values to the end customer.

For further details, feel free to contact me (at)

Contact me for detailed templates on the following. You would save time and money and get a jumpstart on your journey.

1. Project Plan (interweaved with dependencies)
2. Risk Planning,
3. Detailed Dependency sheets comprising different workflows from different Business Areas ( e.g. Enterprise Approvals, Dashboard, Workflow management, Field force automation, Insurance, Healthcare, Airlines, Utilities, Self-service etc.).
4. Release Plan and Iteration plans for mobile projects.
5. User Story Cards with Story points (estimated)

Note : Usage of the picture and model is restricted. Please contact me before reproduction of the same.