I have spent the past 15 years of my career studying and working with Project Management Offices. I know there’s many in the industry who really don’t like PMOs and would rather stay away from them. Avoiding them means you’re walking away from a significant portion of the IT industry. PMOs serve a valuable function in many organizations as they work to align the projects with the strategic needs of the company. Well they should be making the strategic alignment anyways.

My issue is the number of PMOs who have lost sign of (or never saw) what’s truly important!   Wake up!  Our sponsors never succeeded in their business as a result of some funky gantt chart or project plan!  Our sponsors succeed when we lead our project teams to deliver valuable products to help them succeed!

As I’ve been planning to break free and do my own thing for some time, I’ve been working on coming up with a model to help me quickly evaluate a PMO.  I would like to propose a model to measure the effectiveness of a PMO.   The idea is to provide a measure of how close the PMO is to providing value in the eyes of the customer.   It’s not a complex model but I believe it would be useful in quickly evaluating a PMO.  You will think there’s nothing really new in here and you’re right.  It’s my view of what needs to be brought together from different domains to assess a PMO.

There are three main tenants to the model:

Flow

How does work move through you project teams to your customer?  Is delivering product to your customer like one of those big buckets of water dropping a torrent on kids at a water park?   Or is it more like the water slide with one person at a time shooting their way to the bottom?

Process

 Is your PMO one of the those who holds up PMBOK as the bible and strikes down people for not following it?  Or is your process a framework and continually evolving based on the experiences of your people?

Product

When you build product where do you place the greatest focus?   Are you focused on ensuring the project succeeds?  Or are you focused on what your customer needs?

That’s the top level of my model.  In the next few days I’ll post my next entry which is to drill into flow further and talk about the measures which make up flow.

Let me know your thoughts.  It’s not much to go on yet, but I’m hoping I’ve started to paint a picture of my model.  In the next couple days I’m going to introduce it at Agile Coach Camp Canada … I’m hoping others are intrigued enough to help me work the model further, and provide me feedback.

June 24/12 – Update from Agile Coach Camp Canada 2012 – I presented the model and got some great feedback from the participants. I’m working on documenting the results and will have it posted soon!  Thanks to everyone who participated!

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