Have you only built half your PMO?

Getting “IT” right in an organisation is becoming progressively more difficult. As it becomes easier and easier to procure solutions thanks to cloud services and user configurable apps, so the decision taking becomes harder. Unlike at home, where we are happy to spend some time playing with apps on our smartphone and then abandon them; in a commercial environment wasting time on IT solutions that deliver no benefit is a business risk. You are wasting money and your competitor who gets “IT” right is not.

PMI’s recent Pulse of the Profession states: “It bears repeating that low-performing organizations are wasting almost 10 times more money on projects and programs due to poor requirements management than their high-performing counterparts — about 10 percent of every dollar spent compared to 1 percent”.

In many organisations, the group challenged with selecting and commissioning new IT solutions is the PMO (Project or Program Management Office).

The trouble is, from the perspective of many business leaders, the PMOs are expert at landing the plane, but they sometimes land at the wrong airport.

This is a symptom of PMOs spending too much effort on project management and not enough on investment management.

Project management is all about delivering the “goal” within time and cost constraints. Investment management is all about deciding what that goal should be.

To make your PMO expert in investment management needs a business analysis mindset and not a project management mindset. Selecting initiatives from a portfolio, developing business cases and formulating programs are all techniques to identify and manage strategic requirements to a goal. Realising your goal through a project means managing those requirements down to the detailed level.

The best PMOs have a balance of business analysis and project management competencies. Their processes, tools and templates cover both the analysis and the management tasks.

So if you want your PMO to always land on the right runway, make sure that it gives sufficient thought to the business analysis need.