Value Management and PMOs

I’ve been working on an initiative called “Value Delivery,” which will incorporate value management into our various PMO methods, tools, etc.  These activities are often listed as typical PMO functions, but this really only honored in the breach.  Value management never seems to take off given a PMO’s traditional emphasis on implementing project management methods, tools, training, etc.

In our approach, we will ensure that value management has its own identity, especially when it comes to training.  While value and benefit management is baked into the various program and portfolio standards around, it isn’t part of the typical project manager’s skill set.  Rolling out value management separately should emphasize the organizational and personal changes required to be successful.

What is value management’s objective? To ensure that execution remains focused on delivering against executives’s and stakeholder expectations. How does value management happen? Maybe the best way to illustrate is to briefly lay out the lifecycle we’re using below:

  1. Value Discovery: Establish a performance baseline
  2. Value Realization: Identify required process improvements and KPIs
  3. Value Optimization: Review and steer benefit attainment
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6 Responses

  1. Paul

    Three things…

    1
    HBR have a sidebar this issue on the conflict between top level mgt (the money) and junior staff (users.) How do you find the right balance when the sponsor/sc only weighs in for an hour a month? Doesn’t their voice get overwhelmed by the many voices demanding their needs be met on a day to day basis?

    What’s a project manager to do? Disappoint the stakehodlers who have veto authority, or disappoint he sponsor, who is getting useed to over-runs…

    2
    The Business Analyst role is important in managing value. They are the ones who deal in the detailed requirements; what is in and what is out.

    Should they be accountable for this as well as responsible? How can this be made to happen and what does this do to the tradtional pm role?

    3.
    Some agile devlopment and requirements techniques address this as part of the process. How can they be embedded into all project types?

    Your thoughts?

    Regards
    Craig

  2. Hi Craig,
    The problem you address in “thing” 1″ — my son is a Cat in the Hat addict so I couldn’t resist — is why alignment around strategy is so critical. You can’t have everyone pulling the same way if strategy isn’t appropriately cascaded and internalized. My colleague Jonathan Becher has great thoughts on this topic regularly at alignment.wordpress.com.

    I hear what you’re saying about the business analyst. My take is that this points out how early a BA must be in the loop. A lot of the reasons that value/benefits are so opaque is that they aren’t baselined up front.

    Hmmm… I’m not sure that the rigor I have in mind for value/benefits management is there in SCRUM. For example, where there any concrete traceability from a delivered and operating feature back to the a business case? Sure we can talk about a “prioritized backlog” that the product owner is responsible for. But how is that prioritized? How are the benefits generated traced back to the backlog?

    Best,
    Paul

  3. Speaking of things,

    Thanks for pointing me at Jonathan’s blog.

    The scrum/requirements thing – I guess mapping requirements back to the business case is a generic problem. I do think scrum has some answers.

    A bunch of the rhetoric that goes with role and process definition is about specifically tying the product owner to value management as one of their main kpis.

    Another is the ranking of requirements and the many releases – which gives sponsors the ability to call quits on investment earlier, or to extend if they see more value coming through.

    Lastly, if you pick up ‘user stories’ as the requirements form, each one has to have some sort of value statement to assist in the ranking.

    Naturally, execution plays a substantial role in how much these practices contribute.

  4. I didn’t mean to say there was nothing in agile, I just don’t see that there is anything all that special about it w/r/t value management. Just about every methodology expect formal ties among requirements, process, value and value statement.

    However, I definitely agree that agile gives one the change to validate the developing product much earlier. As long as the value baseline(s) is in place, then course corrections based on projected value are much easier.

  5. Fair enough.

    Have you seen this site?

    http://www.seussville.com

  6. Craig…thanks for the tip. We’re about to migrate my son to a “big boy” computer. He’ll love that site, anything w/ a Grinch game is a winner!

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