Team members: the foundation for project management success

As a PMO manager, team manager, or project manager responsible for delivering results, you understand the complexity of project management. It demands seamless collaboration, coordination, and communication among all stakeholders to succeed.

In this post, we delve into the vital role Team Members also play in achieving the expected outcomes. 

By offering free Team Member licenses, ITM Platform is fostering a collaborative environment where Project Managers can engage all team members to focus on delivering the best project outcome rather than worrying about the cost.

The participation of team members encompasses several essential aspects:

  • Work execution
  • Time management
  • Progress reporting

Let’s break them down.

Work execution

Team members are the backbone of a project as the ultimate workforce that make outcomes possible. Three key dimensions impact the success of their efforts:

  • When team members feel a sense of belonging, they are more motivated and committed to delivering high-quality work.
  • Clear communication and collaboration with project managers, other team members, and stakeholders help ensure everyone works towards a common goal.

    Team Members’ access to the PPM tool provides them with an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts, leading to a more collaborative and inclusive approach to project management. 
  • Realistic view of progress: Team members provide a down-to-earth vision of the actual project status, which allows project managers to identify risks and address any issues early on.

By ensuring that these three aspects are in place, project managers can create a positive and productive work environment that leads to successful outcomes.

The PPM workforce pyramid: Team members are the foundation of project success

Time management 

Team members are pivotal to project time management, both in the effort estimates and the actuals. Why this matters:

  • Task effort estimation helps forecast schedules, resources, and costs, allowing project managers to make informed decisions. This is essential for both waterfall and agile projects to stay on track and within budget, and ensures mid and long-term resource availability.
  • Effort estimation is a continuous learning process that helps project managers to improve their accuracy over time

    Task managers and project managers can learn from past experiences and refine their estimation techniques by comparing initial estimations with actuals. Through regular practice, effort estimation becomes a valuable tool for project success, helping managers to stay on top of schedules, resources, and costs.
  • The accuracy of time reporting by team members plays a crucial role in determining the cost, both in terms of time and money, of individual tasks and the overall project.

    While timesheets can be a burden to complete, ITM Platform has a user-friendly interface that makes the process quick and painless. Team members will be able to see the benefits of accurate effort reporting, without feeling weighed down by the task of completing timesheets.
All-in-one timesheet that allows reporting progress and collaboration with comments

Progress reporting

Project progress report and status, especially in waterfall projects, is based on the progress of each task. That's why task progress reporting is essential.

  • Team members can act as task managers and provide accurate progress reports for realistic project tracking. Their involvement leads to informed decisions and a successful project outcome.
  • Without task managers’ participation, project managers are left to rely on their own assumptions about the current status of the project. This can result in unrealistic progress reporting and incorrect decision-making. 

    Project managers simply cannot stay on top of the details of every single task, and they need the involvement of team members to get an accurate picture of what is happening. 

The input of the Team Members is essential so that the project manager has accurate information about the status of their project. Otherwise, progress will be unrealistic.

In conclusion, Team members provide valuable insights into time management, opportunity cost, communication, shared vision, and project progress. 

By offering Team Member licenses for free, ITM Platform is making project management more accessible and inclusive. Take advantage of this opportunity and utilize free Team Member licenses to improve your project management today!

OKRs: From Strategy to Results

OKRs are a management tool designed to align work with strategy.

Between strategic planning and the execution of day-to-day activities are several hierarchical levels and a multitude of people transmitting ideas among each other. OKRs ensure that the finished result is reflective of the initial plan.

OKRs integrate into an intermediate level of the management model. In the context of an organization, they fill the tiers between strategic objectives and the activities that ultimately implement them.

OKRs are the drive belt between strategy and daily activity

OKRs are based on an objective and several key associated results. Expressed in a standardized model:

[Verb] [Subject]
                [Key Result]

Let’s look at a concrete example:

Increase Productivity
                Packages packaged
                                Average of 12/hour in the first semester
                                Average of 14/hour
in the second semester
                Calls answered
                                8 operator/day in the first semester
                                9 operator/day
in the second semester

The activities are responsible for the key results and, ultimately, the realization of the strategic objectives.


OKRs solve any disconnect between strategies and their execution. They are also an effective motivational tool because they offer a purpose to daily activity.

We often do as we are commanded. But how often have we felt that we do not know why? OKRs ensure that daily tasks are both defined and explained.

According to Gallup, teams with committed staff have 21% higher productivity that those without.

  • Only 30% of workers understand their global strategy
  • Less than 50% understand how their work adds value
  • Only 13% of workers are committed to their work

OKRs help teams understand the purpose of their work.

Technology accelerates the distribution and tracking of work, but it does not explain why it is required.

How OKRs are built

Let’s remind ourselves of the structure of an OKR:

[Verb] [Subject]
                [Key Result]

Those organizations that are accustomed to traditional management models may find it helpful to use a Canvas to arrive at the definition of their OKRs.

The following example built by the ITM Platform team serves as a helpful basis:

You can download this OKR Canvas in PDF or Excel formats

The following are some proven steps for generating OKRs with or without a canvas:

  1. Start the process from the top, working downwards.
  2. Define your objectives.
  3. Anticipate each key result’s overall impact
  4. Establish action plans for each outcome.

OKRs should be circular. Information should not only propagate down from objectives to activities. Information should feed back to the company’s management.

The third point suggests that action plans should be ready when results are not achieved or exceeded. Action should remain closely tied to the initially conceived plan. Improvising offers worse results.

For example, what if we only generated three customer leads from a Google Adwords campaign for which five were hoped for?

Without a plan for this eventuality, it might be tempting to increase the Adwords budget and adjust the OKRs that depend on it. This might involve reducing the ambition of their objectives or postponing their results.

Anticipate scenarios in which activities do not deliver their expected results.

If we plan for these scenarios, we can strategize more effectively. We might consider that Adwords might not be the best option. We might consider that the market is not responding well to the product and that structural changes are required.

Best Practices when using OKRs

Like all business management practices, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Using the same measures may have the opposite effect in different organizations. Don’t try and stuff yourself into a shirt that doesn’t fit!

The following best practices cover aspects that need to be adapted for each case:

  • Period. In general, OKR’s are quarterly. This is a short enough term to execute actions and still see measurable results. Some organizations may prefer biannual deadlines if results can not be yielded sooner. Start-ups may iterate over shorter, perhaps monthly, periods.
  • Number of targets. The standard number is between three and five simultaneous targets. The general rule is not to have too many.
  • Key results per objective. As before, do not be excessive. If four key results are to be achieved, the objective can probably be divided into two.
  • Revisions. Just because an objective has been set with a certain periodicity does not mean that results cannot be measured over shorter periods. Course corrections can be made. Be careful not to overreact. Some metrics will require time to materialize accurately.
  • Visibility. By their nature, OKRs are public and shared. The motivational sense would be lost if not.
  • High impact. Choose the OKRs that will have the most significant impact on your organization. Aim for those that have the highest ratio of benefit to cost.
  • Feedback mechanisms. The results of one set of OKRs must be considered when planning the following set. Establish a mechanism by which planning and outcomes can communicate.

Goals vs. OKR vs. KPIs

They look alike, but they are not the same. Objectives, OKRs, and KPIs (Key Process Indicators) are related but serve different purposes.

A single sentence

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-placed)

Delivers a result
It is a management unit

Non-measurable target

Measurable results
Quantifiable data

Requires data source

High periodicity

Measure daily operations
Increase sales by 20% in DecemberIncrease sales with 10 new customers, Q1 30% cross-sellingMonthly income

As shown in the table above, all three are hierarchically related. In turn, objectives define the OKRs, and KPIs measure the key indicators in the overall running of the business.

Common mistakes when implementing OKRs

Using OKRs does not guarantee success. While it is an intuitive mechanism, bad practices can cause them to fail.

The most common risks are:

  • Do not overpromise and raise expectations above what can reasonably be attained. Do not sell OKRs are a solution to all your problems but as an effective management tool.
  • Speed up the process more than your organization can assimilate. Do not hurry.
  • Abuse their use. OKRs are a tool with a purpose. A hammer is a tool for driving nails, but not every problem is a nail. Not every management problem can be solved using OKRs.
  • Absent leadership. OKRs are a way of implementing a strategy. Without a leader, the rest of the organization will let them dilute.
  • Lack of adaptation. Following a guide to the letter is a risk. Prepare to adapt to your reality.

OKRs and project management

There is a threefold link between OKRs and projects:

  • Use projects as a mechanism for the materialization of OKRs
  • Use OKRs as a control mechanism for long-term projects
  • Use OKRs as a portfolio management control mechanism

Projects as a mechanism for the materialization of OKRs

Remember the hierarchy between OKRs and the activities that will materialize them.

Activities will often be complex and will require a team. What is the best tool to manage complex and multidisciplinary work? Projects, of course!

OKRs as a control mechanism for long-term projects

In year-on-year projects, OKRs can be an exciting tool to control their results.

We already know about agile methodologies and their benefits for iterative management. The reality is that it is not always advisable or even possible, especially when the expected result is known.

One of the biggest problems long-term projects present is the effect of distance. Some results are only seen at the point of delivery. This is where OKRs can be invaluable.

You can use OKRs as a control measure with deadlines that suit your project’s duration and the key results that you expect at intermediate stages.

OKR as a portfolio management control mechanism

Any project office (PMO) wants to improve its management indicators. This may not be on a project-by-project basis but across the organization itself. As with any company with revenue and customers, a PMO should have indicators of success that quantify productivity, image, or efficiency.

Related reading: Strategic alignment: selecting higher value projects.

Let us look at an example:

Increase on-time deliveries
                Reduction of non-productive hours
                                10% in the first semester
in the second semester
                Reduction of unavailability of resources
                                Less than 10 days per month in the first semester
                                Less than 7 days per month
in the second semester

Thus, the PMO – and more generally, project portfolio management – of your organization can find great benefits with the use of OKRs.


  • OKRs are an excellent tool for strategy implementation.
  • There are methodologies to build them; you do not need to start from scratch.
  • There are excellent best practices for implementing them.
  • There is no universal recipe. You need to adapt the methodology to your company.
  • OKRs are an ideal complement to project portfolio management.

How to make remote work a success

Companies all over the world are making their operations work remotely for the first time. If you work in an industry where teamwork is crucial, a sudden request to work from home doesn't have to be a strain on you or your team. There are unique opportunities and challenges that come with working outside of a traditional office.

Here we define what remote teams are, explore advantages and disadvantages and how to successfully work from home.


First, what are remote teams?

The best way to understand remote teams is to think of them as small groups of people who are committed to achieving specific company objectives. They often work for the same company and answer to the same boss but live in different cities or even countries. You can also think of remote teams as being similar to virtual ones. The reason for this is because both deal with very similar opportunities and challenges. However the difference is that virtual team members answer to different managers while working together on the same project.


Advantages to working from home

Many people are discovering that working from home is a great advantage, and companies are inclined to agree. Hiring a contractor over an employee, and using that employee to build a virtual team for projects, is advantageous in a number of ways:

    • Improvements in employee work/life balance
    • Little to no travel time
    • Flexible work hours
    • Project collaboration and file sharing is easy now
    • Overall increase in employee productivity
    • Employee satisfaction
    • Easier to attain and retain top talent

While it is apparent that pulling in virtual workers for a team project is a great idea, it’s also important to make sure the business avoids the following possible overall pitfalls. If these issues are successfully deterred, then working from home in a team project works well.


Embracing the “disadvantages”

Most companies worry a remote team could take a lot of time and effort to get started because all team members must learn to effectively communicate and get to know one another. However, this shouldn’t be seen as “lost time”. In fact, this is far more beneficial to the company than anything else.

Since communication amongst remote teams is often dispersed across longer periods of time, team members learn to communicate deliberately. The result is employees with better communication skills and stronger unity. Remote teams are also capable of developing stronger bonds with one another because they learn to connect with one another on deeper levels.

Another common fear managers have when using remote teams is that team members aren’t synchronized due to their different time zones and work schedules. What many don’t realize is that this is actually a positive factor. Since consistent communication is difficult to maintain, it puts pressure on workers to complete work on time in order for the next to begin. This will prevent future delays or confusion.


Making remote work a success

Setting up a remote team is the first step but once you have it up-and-running you’ve got to know how to make it successful. There are a few things you need to keep in mind during the start-up phase and all throughout the rest of its development:

1. On-boarding
Home cannot be forced upon member of your team: whoever prefers a detached, professional collaboration with no soft commitment will eventually have their way; but on the corporate side it should encouraged and tied closely to corporate culture and values, to a strong branding and to on-boarding. Based on how this process pans out, both employees and consultants can either feel important contributors to the organizations or just another fly on the wall.

Supportive communication has an enormous importance. How well you welcome and integrate members into the team, make requests for feedback or encourage spontaneous interactions are fundamental elements leadership should consider. It’s important to advocate autonomous work while keeping track of progress.

For that reason, the integration of collaboration tools and project management technology is particularly relevant in the project leader portfolio. A potential tool to help facilate this process is ITM Platform Teambot. This is an app for Slack that enables our user base to review their current projects and tasks, report hours, track progress and interact within the platform without ever leaving Slack’s IRC-type chat interface.

Combining the collaborative power of Slack with the PPM capabilities of ITM Platform is a great example of keeping all project members on the same page, multiplying team interactions and ensuring that project planning and execution are strictly aligned.

ITM Platform Teambot with Slack

2. Stay Focused
When you work from home, losing focus is more of an issue than in an office. No matter how dedicated a worker is to a project, staying on task might become challenging. Avoid this situation by remaining highly professional when it comes to work. Becoming exceptionally organized, and understanding your role on the team. This will help you maintain focus and stay on task with the project, because you will avoid being frustrated with lack of understanding.

3. Be Flexible
Today’s virtual world runs on a global scale. Be mindful of the cultural differences and communication barriers that you may encounter. Anyone who has been on a virtual team understands this issue. While the project is in the planning stages, remain professional. Speak on a professional level, and use textbook English in all written communication. It is important to do this to avoid as many misunderstandings as possible. As the project moves forward, make sure communication barriers are broken down by asking for clarification when necessary. Most businesses will appreciate a question over having to redo a portion of a project due to a misunderstanding.

4. Make sure you have the right tools
All project team members must have access to the right technology to do the job, such as survey tools or company passwords. Remote projects depend on this access almost exclusively to get projects finished. Often, businesses will set up secure passwords for each team member. This way, if a team member becomes dishonest and acts in an unethical manner, the company will know where the breach happened. Be sure to keep your security information secret, only use it to work on projects, and never act in a way that would cause anyone to question your integrity. Make remote team projects work by acting as you would if you were sitting in an office with a boss breathing over your shoulder.

Avoid messy digital communications. Emails, though important, is becoming a thing of the past when it comes to organizing and communicating with your team. With different time zones and locations, continuous email chains become difficult to manage. Maintain productivity by taking advantage of amazing project management softwares such as ITM Platform. This way, you can prioritize what’s best for your business, control project tasks and financials, and use real-time information to report how projects are performing.

5. Connect with your team
Lastly, you should think about ways to reach out and strengthen staff relationships. Oftentimes, remote teams organize staff retreats or even meetups for those who live nearby. If these aren’t possibilities then think about creating fun social media groups via twitter or facebook. This allows co-workers to share funny memes, gifs or videos; all simple ideas to help strengthen the bond amongst remote teams. Why not a virtual happy hour?

If you’re interested in creating your own remote team or successfully managing the one you currently have, sign up for a free trial with ITM Platform. Our team is here to support you every step of the way.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


How much are we investing? Financial factors to consider in project and portfolio management

Tracking expenditure and revenue flows answers one of the burning ques­tions of every board: “How much are we actually investing in our projects?”. This question often crops up when we are talking about internal, IT or transforma­tive projects. The planning and follow-up model should be agreed with the finance di­rectorate and business units, so that project managers understand the pa­rameters for action, how they should monitor budgets and use of resources.

The PMO should issue clear instruc­tions on:

  1. Which cost elements to monitor, especially in terms of hours and pur­chasing.
  2. How to incorporate external su­ppliers: hours or deliverables.
  3. Which metrics to use: hours, cost, profit, earned value, progress etc.
  4. How frequently to measure each parameter.
  5. Standardized periods for reporting working hours.
  6. Measuring income and profit mar­gins.

In the following sections we analyze these topics in greater depth, highli­ghting their integration into ITM Plat­form whenever possible.

Cost of working hours

If you require oversight of the esti­mated hours, actual hours worked and their cost, the module of stan­dard costs and provider rates must be defined. Carrying out the definition in collaboration with the finance and HR departments will ensure that the project’s financial management is line with the organization’s policies and procedures. ITM Platform offers a module to establi­sh the standard cost from an abstract level down to the most detailed one:

      • General: hourly cost of any task. Useful in the conceptual phase of the project.
      • Internal and external: whether you use your own people or out­side contractors this allows you to define the hourly cost in a generic fashion.
      • Cost per professional profile: allows you to define the standard cost of the internal personnel for each profile, within different time­frame.
      • Provider rates: similarly, provider rates can be fed into the system, allowing you to compare costs per person and per provider.

Purchases and acquisitions

Purchasing is one of the key activities in any company. When managed properly it enables easier planning and follow up of cash flow. Normally, purchase management is in­corporated in the early stages of matu­rity, typically before monitoring working hours. Nonetheless, it is important that projects synchronize their purchasing with the organization’s financial mana­gement, so that both are in agreement. The purchase flow is a kind of workflow and it must be linked to a procedure pre­viously agreed with the financial and purchasing directorates, ensuring that each project’s purchasing is in line with purchasing practices in general.In addition, budget accounts grouping purchases must be used homoge­neously.


Similarly to purchasing, the classification and time management of the project revenues should be synchronized with the organization´s regular financial procedures. The system will then be able to create reliable margins and client profitablity.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


Strategic alignment: Selecting the most valuable project portfolio for your business

Choosing which projects to invest in is a strategic decision to be taken based on objective data. In this article, we explore the problem of subjectivity and analyze the solution that allows management to make decisions based on a business plan, in a rigorous and transparent way.


The Problem

In businesses where the source of income comes from making projects for clients, it is easy to decide which ones are to be put in place: (usually) those of greater profitability. And in some cases, all, if sufficient resources are available.

However, internal projects, such as those of transformation, tend to not offer such an obvious criterion as their value to the business is less evident and often more subjective to anticipate.

The fact that an expected value is subjective does not mean that its effects are not going to be real. It means that the benefits are hard to predict, and investment decisions can be based on perceptions.

This is a challenge that managing directors have always tried to address. The most used resource as a solution has been that of the "business case", which requires promoters to express the profitability or value contribution of their initiative in measurable terms, either in sales increase or in cost reduction.

The main difficulty presented by the business case is the human factor: a promoter of an initiative that has a strong motivation to give positive figures and show that their idea is profitable. Though it is desirable to have intrapreneurs on your team it is essential to validate their figures through a homogenous and and objective process.

The second difficulty of requesting profitability to internal projects arises from each promoter having limited vision to their area of competence, defending their plot without considering the overall vision. In turn, management considers these business cases as if they had been generated with the same criteria, which is not usually the case. Each promoter applies with different degree of ingenuity the data to the same template.

The issue at hand is knowing when to recognize, in an objective fashion, what initiatives will bring more value to the business when the projects deliver their expected benefits.



The Approach

When it comes to value, it is not always possible to apply a purely financial standard via project profitability based on forecasts in isolation and in comparison of each other.

  • The value contribution of a project to a strategic plan may be broader than profitability, even if the savings or earnings have been realistically calculated. For example, a process automation project can throw modest savings, but positively influence a priority target of customer quality perception.
  • Strategic project planning should not consider initiatives in isolation, as the result of the set may be greater than the sum of the parties. It is common for the result of some projects to enable others, and its set to offer strategic value. This is why program and portfolio management exceeds project management.

The strategic management of projects lies in the competence of the management and must be facilitated by the Project Management Office (PMO) to the extent that their objectives are the maximization of value and not only the transversal coordination.

Thus, the strategic planning approach to the composition of the project portfolio should consider two main elements:

  1. A strategic plan that exposes the objectives of the Organization
  2. A list of project proposals (initiatives)

With these two elements, we can prioritize initiatives that will order them from higher to lower value, generating an orderly list of approved projects (portfolio backlog).

Strategic management of project portfolios

A great advantage that offers prioritization of projects by value is that it supports applying resource constraints as a cut-line to its output. If we have a list ordered by value and – for example-a budgetary limitation, we will be able to establish the approval of projects based on those that contribute more value and that are within the available budget.


The Process

Once we have the two main elements (objectives and demand), we can start two classification processes that can run in parallel or go in sequence. What is important is to isolate each other to ensure objectivity and ease of adaptation to the general standard.

Process 1: Prioritization of Objectives

Participants: Board of Directors
Objective: To put some objectives in front of others, with specific weight of each one on the total.

Sometimes strategic plans already specify priorities, but in others they do not give explicit weight by objective. For example, how much more important is "to grow in sales by 20%" than "to increase operating efficiency by 15%"?

There are several techniques that can be employed to achieve a table like the one above. From something as simple as an agreement amongst the Board of Directors to the most sophisticated such as an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The latter could be considered more rigourous, though its execution could be simple if you have a Pairwise Comparison Tool, like the one provided by ITM Platform.

This simple table will generate an orderly and quantified list of objectives.

As an added feature, ITM Platform calculates a "consistency ratio" that indicates how logical and objective the prioritization is. In this article, you will find an explanation of how this index is calculated.

It is possible to make different sets of the same objectives through scenarios, and even use different objectives for different programs. The reality is complex and there is not always a single combination or scenario.

Process 2: Contribution of project value to objectives

Participants: The Project committee and promoters

Objective: To determine how much each project contributes to each objective

Ignoring for now the relevance of each objective on the strategic plan, this step will assign a weight to the contribution of each initiative to each objective. This weight will be translated to a number base on 100, but if you use ITM Platform you can also use the comparison by pairs previously used or use a qualitative methodology based on ideograms such as the image (Harvey balls), providing a visual support.

Process 3: Analysis of the optimal selection of the Portfolio

The two previous phases provide the necessary parameters for the system to calculate the value of each project, based on 100 and depending on the value of each objective.

List of initiatives orders by value

If money wasn't a problem, then we would probably carry out all “reasonable" projects. But in a real organization, the resources available are finite and the previous list of initiatives is not enough to make a good selection of project portfolios.

Thus, it is not only enough to select the most valuable projects, but it is also necessary to filter those that fall within the constraints, be it economic, technical and human resources, or temporary.

In this article, we will use the available budget as an example of a main constraint because this is the most frequent case. Imagine that we should select a portfolio of projects that does not exceed $900.000. Taking the previous list into account, the "New Star Product" ($ 1.5 M) exceeds that amount and also provides a similar value to other more economical projects.

So, with the data we have, we choose the combination of projects that are closer to the available budget: a total of $885.400 and a value of 61% accumulated in three projects.

With this selection achieve the given criteria. But note that the efficient central border graph is indicating the selection is not optimal (value/cost) and that there are better combinations: similar value for less money or greater value for the same sum.

And, indeed, with a portfolio of a total of $528.840 we achieved a contribution of value very similar for 35% less in cost.

If you are interested in understanding how the calculation scheme is made,

Download the guide here.


It is possible to apply rigorous standards in the selection of a portfolio of projects, basing the selection on the value they bring to the business strategy.
Key points to consider:

  • A separation of work between the management team that defines and prioritizes objectives, and the teams that analyze the benefits by project.
  • A process sponsored by management requiring rigorous standards when making investment decisions and implementing transparency between teams.
  • An integrative platform that combines information and exposes the results.

If you want to know more about the management of organizations by projects, download the white paper, where you will learn to:
- Connect management of your Organization with that of projects
- Manage portfolio of projects to create competitive advantage
- Agile Portfolio Management


Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


6 elements to consider when defining a PMO framework

Everyone´s starting point is different, but we can all agree you need a steady foundation when building anything and your PMO´s framework is no exception. It should be clear and shared by the entire organization. We’ll guide you through planning, implementing and disseminating your PMO. Whether you´re familiar with ITM Platform or not, our examples are a ¨one-size-fits-all¨. This design assists in  highlighting situations that you may encounter along the way and applicable to most cases.

So, let´s dive in to the 6 essential elements you need to consider in order launch your PMO framework.


Download the eBook: How to set up a sustainable PMO with ITM Platform


1. Project types

First, decide what kind of projects you’re running; the type of project will also govern its lifespan.
As you implement (or relaunch) the PMO it’s a good moment to reflect on the variety of projects in the portfolio and possibly take time to redesign them. A PMO can also manage operations if they consist of specific tasks that are assigned to different teams. Managing projects and operations together from the PMO is especially useful when the resources and clients involved are the same.

This is the case with software development projects, or products that require maintenance by the same team that developed the original project. The Kanban methodology is useful for managing services because it offers an organized structure in which you can see the status of tasks at a glance. More importantly it allows you to limit the flow of work according to your resources.

The service concept is also incorporated into ITM Platform – you can create entities for the sole purpose of managing operations.


2. Workflows

A workflow allows you to map out all the possible statuses that a project goes through. Make sure it is based on the business’s procedures – don’t be tempted to invent statuses that do not reflect the reality of the company.
The workflow is defined by two main components:

  1. The changing status of a project
    For example, we can decide that when the status of a project is designated as ‘draft’ that can only be changed to ‘started’ or ‘discarded’.
  2. The conditions for changing the status and who is authorized to grant permission for that change.
    Make the conditions for changing statuses as simple as possible; you can always increase the complexity later, and you may even find that there is no need to do so.

A word of advice: do not replace the work of defining organizational procedures with a workflow. The workflow should be a conveyor belt, not a control mechanism.


3. Priorities

It's very easy to configure the different degrees of priority, but the work of a PMO starts way before this: you have to agree what each priority means. It should be extremely clear what “high priority” or “medium priority” means. Obviously, medium is higher than high, but does that mean that you shouldn’t start with the medium priority ones until the high priority ones are finished? Should we put twice as many resources into high priority versus medium priority?

The PMO should know the actions associated with each priority and make this clear to everyone else so that the organization makes homogenous decisions.


4. Risks

Good project management is in essence risk management and a PMO ensures that this function happens consistently throughout the decision-making process.
The formula impact x probability = exposure level is only useful if it leads to consistent decisions by project managers.

Identifying risks is a tricky business as it’s often subjective and affected by personal bias. The PMO standardizes procedures using criteria and tools approved by the board, backed by the project managers.


5. Waterfall or agile methodologies?

Both of these methodologies can co-exist in one integrated portfolio as long as the PMO establishes criteria to decide on the appropriate methodology for each project.
Some organizations make all decisions – waterfall or agile – based on politics. This kind of decision making can lead to patchy results.
If your organization decides on agile methodologies for all projects – while at the same time demanding medium and long-term deadlines – the methodology probably hasn't been chosen on the basis of solid criteria.

To determine which methodology to use the PMO should ask:

  •  Is the result of the project relatively uncertain or are we well aware of the outcomes?
  •  Is the project subject to deadlines which govern the date of deliverables or is a short-term vision of all the tasks enough?
  • Are sponsors and clients willing to have continual involvement in the project without knowing the final outcome? Or will they happy to be less involved and just accept the final outcome?


If your organization decides on agile methodologies for all projects – while at the same time demanding medium and long-term deadlines – the methodology probably hasn’t been chosen based on solid criteria.


6. Project templates

One of the major benefits of a PMO is that it allows you to capitalize on knowledge accumulated from previous projects. Be sure to put mechanisms in place to recover the lessons that have been learned. That way the know how isn’t lost when the project ends but can be applied later on.
Creating project-specific templates means the contents can be re-used in future projects. Another benefit of templates is to re-use frequently used structures just by changing dates and figures. It’s similar to those cooking programs when the chef says ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’.

A good PMO ensures that the knowledge stays within an organization, and not only at the level of the individuals involved.

This online PMO & Organization Self-Assessment can help you get started and analyze your organization.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox