PMO Continuous Improvement

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1 1.0 Purpose The Project Management Office (PMO) is committed to eliminating the status quo. The goal is to develop an environment where the team is encouraged to continuously improve what we do and how we do it. This is not the responsibility of a committee; it is a concept to approach as individuals. People matter, Process supports and Organizations mature. Core to that maturity are the concepts of project management as embodied in the Project Management Institutes (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), specifically the 9 Knowledge Areas: 1. Project Integration Management 2. Project Scope Management 3. Project Time Management 4. Project Cost Management 5. Project Quality Management 6. Project Human Resource Management 7. Project Communications Management 8. Project Risk Management 9. Project Procurement Management Process Supports People Matter Organizations Mature The purpose of this document is to outline the strategy for creating an environment that encourages each team member to grow and the PMO to mature. The first section will give a general overview of the PMO s approach to improvement. The remaining sections will focus on: People Process Organization 2.0 General Approach The strength of a PMO is comprised of more than the processes and standards it produces. Any continuous improvement effort must also include strengthening the people and the organization. The PMO s iterative approach to continuous improvement accounts for that realization and is applied to all improvement efforts. The steps, based on Deming s improvement cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act, are described below. Page 1 of 7

2 Define Assess Align Create Plan Do Pilot Feedback Rollout Act Check Analyze Adjust Measure Verify 2.1 Plan The Plan step establishes the objectives and the means used to improve. The four pieces of Plan include Define, Assess, Align and Create. Define the objectives of the organization in relationship to the area being improved. Objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Identify what and how the results will be measured. Assess the current capabilities, existing processes and templates, and industry standards. Identify gaps; what to incorporate; level of improvement attainable; impact on the team, business and organization; and the expected gain. It is important to ask: 1. Are we doing it right already? 2. Will changing it buy us anything? 3. Is there business value to what we are doing? Align direction and expectations with PMCoE, CMMI, company directives, and other Progress Project Management organizations. Create the collateral required to implement the improvement and the deployment plan. This may be a training plan, hiring strategy, process, template, or other artifact. 2.2 Do Implement the change. For improvements that impact more than a few individuals it is necessary to Pilot the change and obtain Feedback before full Rollout of the change. For other types of change, such as individual training, Do means make it happen. Pilot the change with a control group to verify feasibility and find defects. Feedback from the pilot group is expected and necessary to adjust the change before full implementation. Rollout the change based on the deployment plan. 2.3 Check Page 2 of 7

3 Once the improvement has been given sufficient time to settle, verify that it achieved the intended results. Measure the results and the impact to the team, business and organization. Verify the findings against the objectives to determine if the change achieved the improvement intended. 2.4 Act Based on the results of checking the improvement, corrective actions may be needed. First Analyze and then Adjust the strategy. Analyze the difference between the objectives and the results to determine the cause for the shortcomings. Identify minor adjustments and items that require another iteration top accomplish. Adjust the change where appropriate. By repeatedly applying this approach to maturity, the APMO will continue to become a team that works effectively and efficiently; is consistent across the organization; is flexibility; and continues to grow and improve. Page 3 of 7

4 3.0 People The APMO is only as effective as its people. It is to the benefit of <client> and the company that individuals continue to grow in their abilities and knowledge. In order to provide project managers with the right opportunities to mature in their profession, it is necessary to assess where they are and track their growth and achievements. The PMCoE has established a Training Academy and criteria for advancing to more complex projects. The PMO will utilize and mirror this approach. 3.1 Tracking The PMO has developed a spreadsheet for tracking capabilities, competencies and projects managed for each project manager. This stores the results of the Self Assessment (described below) and a count of each type of project the individual has managed. This spreadsheet can be expanded to include tracking of training and other items as necessary. 3.2 Self Assessment The PMO has developed a self assessment worksheet to measure the project managers abilities and competencies. The assessment contains four sheets. PM Functions measures the strength of the project manager in the execution of project manager responsibilities. Competencies measures the project manager s competencies in areas like Critical Thinking, Project Leadership, Results Focus, Business Focus and Self Control. Summary generates an average rating based on the 9 PMBOK Knowledge Areas and the PM Competencies. PMBOK Mapping maps each of the project management functions to the PMI PMBOK Knowledge Areas. This mapping is used to produce the summary table. On an annual basis, each project manager is expected to complete the self assessment to determine areas of strength and weakness. The results are used to identify potential mentors and to analyze training needs. 3.3 Training Plan Each team member is responsible for creating a personalized training plan (template to be developed). This plan will be reviewed with their manager and appropriate growth opportunities, both training and experience, will be sought. 3.4 Internal Training Progress already has several successful project management related internal training venues. The PMO On Boarding process, PMCoE, Flight Path, and CMMI are examples of existing internal training utilized by the PMO. On Boarding As new members join the team, they are walked through the processes and introduced to the environment. This initial mentoring is performed by a single individual. In order to ensure this practice continues long term, it is important to identify and train others to fill this role. PMCoE training The PMCoE has created the Training Academy that includes training courses and webinar material. IT PM Certification / Flight Path <client> has created a Project Management Flight Path that identifies the training elements for project management processes, tools and techniques. This certification path consists of Skills Foundations (blue), Skills Refinement (yellow) and Certification (green). Page 4 of 7

5 CMMI The Capability Maturity Model Integration focuses more on the development processes than the project management aspects of projects, but there are areas of overlap. The CMMI publishes information on Risk, Resource Management and other topics. As the PMO and CMMI work closer together, the ownership of this information will pass to the PMO. 3.5 External Training In the event that internal training is not available or does not meet the level of knowledge necessary, external training will be considered. If it is a widespread need or if the topic is one for which the entire team needs to be in sync, an instructor may be brought on site to minimize costs and impact to projects. When individuals attend external training, they are expected to bring that knowledge back to the team. They may be asked to fill the role of Subject Matter Expert (Champion) on the topic. 3.6 Peer Reviews Peer reviews serve two purposes: 1) Increase the quality of the deliverable and 2) Offer mentoring opportunities between team members. The PMO currently has an informal peer review model. This could be enhanced by making the exercise mandatory for key deliverables (i.e. Statement of Work, Project Management Plan, Project Schedule, etc.) and developing a peer review checklist for each. The checklist would ensure that the standard is followed and the content is as expected. Project managers may also ask for an informal review of their project and allow a team mate to inspect other aspects of the project such as the financials, schedule, risks, issues and communications. 3.7 Mentoring The project managers within the PMO come from a variety of backgrounds and experience. That diversity is a strength that offers expertise in multiple areas. Mentoring enables the transfer of this knowledge to the rest of the team. Project managers that are new to the team are assigned a mentor to bring them up to speed on the environment and the PM role. Ongoing mentoring is informal with team mates assisting each other in their areas of expertise. 4.0 Process The APMO strives to continuously define and refine their processes and ensure that they are adhered to. 4.1 PM Process Improvement Project management is an evolving practice. Although the core tenets remain consistent, the methods, templates and processes are subject to change. Ideas for improving the way projects are managed can originate from any member of the <client> Project Management community. Suggested improvements are reviewed by the PMO Managers. Ideas selected for incorporation are prioritized and scheduled for a process release. An individual or, for larger efforts, a task force is assigned to create and implement the change following the approach documented in section 2.0 General Approach. Final approval of the change is determined by the PMO Managers. Page 5 of 7

6 4.2 Project Review A Project Review is a more formal examination of a project to ensure the processes are being adhered to; identify potential risks; document areas for improvement; and identify best practices and process improvements. Reviews are performed using checklists (to be developed) that are aligned with existing processes and expectations. Where one of the main purposes of an audit is to identify non-compliance, reviews are intended to facilitate a discussion on what the intent of the process is and how they are fulfilling that intent for the given project. The result of a project review may include: Actions necessary to align the project management practices with the existing processes. Process improvement recommendations and best practices to pass to the <client>. Lessons learned to store in the Knowledge Repository. 4.3 Metrics The PMO has defined metrics to help measure the success of both projects and the PMO. 4.4 SharePoint SharePoint is the tool of choice for the distribution of the project management processes and knowledge. In addition to the processes and templates, a WIKI library has been initiated to store lessons learned and topical information. 5.0 Organization In addition to the People and Processes, the PMO as an organization must continue to mature. The objective is to raise the collective ability of the team through the use of Champions, the PM Forum and the PM Round Table. 5.1 Champions In order to quickly obtain expertise within the organization on multiple topics, Champions will be identified (2 per area) to cover: 9 PMI Knowledge Areas Business Areas Applications Tools (ex. Primavera, SharePoint, etc.) The Champion will be responsible for: 1. Fully understanding the assigned topic 2. Mentoring and answering questions 3. Preparing and presenting training 5.2 PM Forum The PM Forum is a quarterly meeting of all project managers, regardless of department, in which PM topics, best practices, organizational updates and other information is distributed. 5.3 PM Round Table The purpose of the PM Round Table is to raise awareness and share knowledge among all Project Managers of: Active projects and their purposes Potential conflicts in resources and systems Overlap of purposes in projects Lessons learned and best practices Page 6 of 7

7 It is intended to be an informal, organic discussion of equals through which people may offer advice, request input and share war stories Page 7 of 7

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