ITM Platform has just launched a self-assessment tool aimed at any organization that may have doubts about their project governance.
Under the title "Do you have what it takes to run your PMO?", this self-assessment tool is aimed at companies that are considering starting a new Project Management Office, as well as companies that already have one, but they perceive difficulties in the definition of their functions.
The test analyzes the current situation of the organization in three axes: organization, talent and environmental conditions. By crossing maturity into these three factors, we identify the moment the organization is in and we can provide recommendations on how to move forward.
The test is launched with the intention of encouraging reflection within the organizations of the sector. For this reason, we encourage all participants to share the test with the rest of their organization so they can compare their results, discuss discrepancies, and delve into the motivations and challenges of project governance.
Participants' responses will be used in aggregate form to study the status of the project manager community and to continue our mission of democratizing project management.
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ITM Platform is specifically designed to support multi-project organizations: our client base ranges from small consultants to large corporations, such as Grupo Lala, the first manufacturer of dairy products in Mexico, or Spire Healthcare, the second largest private healthcare provider in the United Kingdom.
Why do they choose us? They say that among all the tools that allow both planning and executing projects and managing portfolios, it is not easy to find solutions that are useful for both project managers and PMO directors at the same time in the same environment.
So when someone asks us if we can help them get their Project Management Office up and running, the answer comes as natural as the smile you give an old friend. In this article we discuss the main reasons why ITM Platform is a great ally to support the activities of a PMO.
1. Capture your organization
Any organization can reflect the structure of their teams in a very short time. Whether it's a functional organizational structure based on departments, a purely project-based structure, or a matrix-type intermediate structure, the first step for your organization to start managing your ITM Platform projects is to map which department, project or area of competence belongs to each member.
In fact, flexibility is achieved by combining two criteria:
Organizational units, comparable to traditional departments
Working groups, which allow cross-grouping. For example, you can create project teams that have a certain permanence character. These groups can also be used to bring experts together by competencies so that project and PMO managers can easily assign them to specialized tasks and groups.
Once you have reflected the departments and functional units, you can continue defining the details that will allow ITM Platform to control the costs and progress of your projects in real time:
Hourly rates: How much do your team members charge per hour? How much do external consultants charge? What is the overhead of a workgroup compared to a technician? By specifying the fees for each type of expert, ITM Platform allows you to reflect the actual costs of your projects with the desired level of detail.
2. Capture your processes
ITM Platform allows you to capture any methodology you are using in your organization for project management. Although the software is intended to capture the components, processes and groups recommended in standards such as PMBOK or Prince2, especially when it comes to project integration management, it is not necessary to strictly follow these manuals to properly manage the projects. The focus of the tool is to provide a flexible technological service that allows the capture of all relevant information and capture the process flows that exist in each organization.
3. Connect to your teams
ITM Platform empowers all project teams, from the highest level director to the young talented new arrivals.
Management: Those who are interested in seeing key metrics such as the degree of progress of the projects by each program, the level of risk exposure of the projects, or the composition of costs per manpower according to the provider can use the customizable scorecards and reports.
PMO portfolio managers, program managers and PMO directors
The people that connect the company's strategy to day-to-day project management are those that most directly benefit from the ITM Platform. Let us see some different aspects:
In situations with cross-cutting projects shared by experts and analysts from different functional areas or departments, it is common practice for one of the PMO director's main attributions to be to avoid conflicts when using shared resources: professionals in high demand due to them being very qualified and are irreplaceable in their specialty. Conflicts for shared resources are the cause of delay in 42% of large cross-sectional projects.To avoid such conflicts, ITM Platform allows you to immediately identify over-allocation of all resources in the organization.
The ITM Platform methodological tools for defining business objectives and linking them to project execution scenarios are one of the aspects most valued by those who manage project programs.
Aggregated project data allows you to carry out a continuous evaluation of your portfolio with the required periodicity. From the moment that your entire project team is using the same tool to plan and execute projects to carry out portfolio tracking, you can say goodbye to tedious periodic portfolio evaluations that stretch over months. It will be sufficient to extract data from ITM Platform to discuss with your team.
The possibility of combining predictive projects with agile methodologies allows different relationships to coexist between customers the development of products and results within a single unified portfolio based on shared financial management and resources.To top it off, project managers benefit from a user experience optimized for the integration of projects from menus that are always visible and easy to navigate.
Analysts and team members
Team members with no planning and control responsibilities should only enter the progress data of their tasks on the ITM Platform. For this, they have different auxiliary interfaces that save time and increase their productivity:
Mobile App on Android and MacOS. Report the time worked on a task. It is a fundamental support tool for those who are out and about or working remotely.
The ITM Platform teambot. The integration of ITM Platform with Slack is designed to aid personal productivity, as it allows each team member to track the tasks in which they are involved and report progress with simple commands such as “/itmplatform list tasks”
In addition, software development teams working with JIRA for issue management can connect these with their ITM Platform projects to manage their portfolio from their preferred environment.
4. Align project management and portfolio planning
Project management software can be divided into three broad sections: task managers and teams; project planners; and portfolio managers. Few tools can find the balance between these three areas. This is where ITM Platform stands out precisely because our obsession is to optimize the return of the projects from the first minute, with little to no barriers of entry.
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One of the most frequent needs facing organizations that are looking to launch a PMO is the centralization of information and knowledge. When your e-mail begins to be used as a repository of documentation, or when there is no homogeneity between the sources of information of different projects, it is possible that the time has come to consider the existence of a structure that supports the operations of the organization.
This type of PMO has been compared to a weather station, since the unification of processes and flows of information allows the increase of data and objective criteria to evaluate in which direction the projects and the equipment are moving.
By serving as a center for unification of knowledge, the PMO begins by assisting the management of the company by providing data and information that assist the company in decision making.
This is achieved in the confidence of the management of the company, the acquisition of new skills and the possibility of direct decision-making. The end result is to convert one support project management into another with a control or manager profile. This other type of PMO will be developed in another article.
Functions developed by the PMO as a support tool
Teaching and training, promotion of attitudes based on adequate project management, under direct supervision.
Transmission of information to the management of the company, so that it is the one that makes the executive decisions.
Search for techniques to reduce costs.
Centralization of management services in the department of project management or PMO, emphasizing the management savings that this entails.
Empowerment of those who have been designated as Project Managers, who must be trained in project management but also allow sufficient freedom to properly develop their skills.
Application and evolution of the support PMO
Supporting PMOs are sometimes geared towards an internal permanent improvement service. This is based on empowerment and the acquisition of responsibilities on the part of heads departments within the company under the instruction and monitoring of the PMO. The objective is that, after a period of training, the managers of the different departments of the company acquire new skills in project management or update the ones they already have, doing their work practically without the help of the PMO. This will allow the PMO to focus on other functional areas and to reorient itself from the mere work support, towards a more strategic integration.
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For a project-based organization, setting up a PMO is equivalent to parenthood. It’s just not enough to wake up early to go to work, eat your sandwiches diligently in front of your screen and be a loyal friend. From the moment you embark on this new ship, it’s a whole new level at which you will need to keep ahead of events, create new habits, and be always ready to respond to an emergency. For me, the key to start the process with the right foot forward is to know yourself as well as you can.
Organizations can use the wisdom of self-knowledge in smart ways. Let’s have a look at factors that are helpful indicators of maturity.
Know thy maturity, they say
The degree of maturity of an organization is strongly correlated to the complexity of the PMO model that it is likely to implement
Lack of clear strategy. Projects are not always properly aligned with the objectives of the organization.
Lack of quantitative evaluation. In this scenario it's impossible to obtain clear indicators of the state of each project, identify the causes of any problems and search for areas of improvement. In addition, measures should be taken to improve the efficiency of the company.
Ideas, projects and business areas are not prioritized.
Companies that have a medium level maturity may show the following characteristics:
Ability to prioritize projects.
Some degree of alignment between projects and the overall objectives of the company.
Metrics to quantify the results of high level projects.
Resources are planned prior to implementing a project.
A company with a high degree of maturity has the following features:
Integration of the company’s work and tasks in projects and programs.
All work is goal oriented. Each task or project is working towards the general objectives of the company.
Standardized measures for the results of each project are performed. This way you can monitor both the progress and status of each project and the impact that the various risks and corrective measures may pose to each of them.
There are effective systems in place to allow quick and flexible communication among team members in the various tasks and projects.
Work systems can incorporate agile and classic methodologies that help maximize efforts.
Projects conform to international standards, ensuring quality and allows smooth implementation in all locations the company is present.
Software options combine Specific and advanced solutions with simple and direct tools so that workers can optimize the use of their time and be more productive.
Implementing a PMO
1. Justification and initiation. Once company executives are aware of the benefits, your organization might be in a good place to start setting up a PMO.
A PMO can contribute clear objectives and compliance metrics, identify possible deviations and define corrective measures. Decide how much your PMO will take up, build your information streams and draw up a goal-driven plan.
2. Planning. What are some of the steps needed to implement the new project management policy?
Seamless communication with the board of directors and with customers to establish the scope, objectives of the company and therefore decide the projects to be undertaken. These communication channels should be structured and maintained throughout project implementation.
Choose an organization system for the company, project management methodologies and a governance model.
Recruit your project management staff. Your crew may combine specific project management training with an open mind that allows continuous training throughout the project to meet the needs which may arise during work.
3. Execution. Measurement and monitoring frameworks are an important component of project implementation that can easily benefit from the centralized functions and the homogenization of a PMO. Project managers position will be strongly supported with the enhanced communication between all organization stakeholders.
At ITM Platform we can help in the process of creating your PMO. With our platform, user onboarding and technological deployment are seamless: our customers start using our solution in as little as one week. You will be able to focus on what really matters: defining the internal procedures that allow you to improve your performance.
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