Every Project Matters

I’ve seen a lot of project management offices (PMOs) over the years and there has always been one problem that they all struggle to overcome. That’s the need to manage performance across all types of work – plan-driven (waterfall) projects, Agile initiatives, and hybrid approaches that combine elements of both. What this comes down to is defining the right PMO performance metrics (OKRs).

This need has never been greater. Recent research showed that all three approaches are in common use across organizations. If PMOs can’t track and manage performance across all ways of working, they only have a partial view of what’s happening. As a result of poor visibility, organizations see poorer decision-making, delays, and an inability to effectively plan future discretionary investments. All of which hurt the ability of organizations to deliver their strategic goals and objectives.

The situation is so bad that many PMOs have simply stopped trying to track other types of work. This has resulted in the growth of separate waterfall and Agile PMOs with only minimal alignment. Hybrid initiatives still end up falling through the cracks. Other organizations have limited the use of Agile for business-critical initiatives because of the lack of visibility. These aren’t solutions; they’re Band-Aids on a serious problem.

People Need to Work How They Want

In today’s world of global competition and rapid evolution, every dollar spent has to generate a return. Organizations must create an environment where people are able to work in the manner that they want. Consequently, employees will be more engaged, which in turn will make them more productive. That results in better business outcomes.

PMOs must be able to embrace that empowerment of project teams and adapt and adjust how they manage performance. Doing so creates an environment where all work approaches are supported without any loss of visibility or control. How do they do that? It comes down to measuring what matters.

The Right PMO Metrics

The historic barrier to PMOs being able to manage performance across different work methods is simple: a focus on the wrong metrics. It’s always going to be difficult to manage all work if you’re asking Agile teams for percents complete or plan-driven teams for story point velocity. After all, those metrics don’t make sense to those teams.

But here’s the thing. They don’t make sense for a PMO trying to improve the performance of project delivery across the organization, either. They’re comfort metrics. They don’t tell a PMO whether the project is on track to deliver on the goals and objectives that were the reason the work was approved. They just make the PMO feel like things are going well, when really, they might not be.

PMOs need to manage performance based on indicators of value – determining whether work is on track to make the required contribution to organizational goals. In order to achieve this, the organization must define success for the PMO in business terms, using OKRs (objectives and key results) or similar. And it requires a project portfolio management or PPM solution that can provide visibility into those measures.

An effective PPM solution like Sciforma will allow teams to work with the approaches and tools that suit them. Critically, it will then be able to integrate that data into a single view that provides insight into individual initiatives, and the overall portfolio. That will allow the PMO to measure performance against business OKRs, recommending adjustments where necessary. That way, work always aligns with priorities, regardless of how that work is delivered.

Give your PMO the ability to measure what matters: book a demo.


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