Measuring PMO Metrics

If the original title sounds a bit awkward — Measuring PMO Metrics — it does at least makes an important point about any performance management effort.  From the original paper:

“How will you measure the measurements?” Several financial and process measures depended on an internal SAP IT Project Controlling solution that provided for baseline, actual, and forecast budget and schedules. This tool was not fully implemented in the regions.

I liked the parallel with Juvenal’s phrase “Who will guard the guardians?”  Availability and acceptance of metrics both are keys to the success of a performance management initiative.  For example, if the data or calculations in a key report are unreliable, incomplete, or inaccurate, then the report goes unused or is discredited.  Furthermore, PMOs don’t always have the incentive to drive such issues to closure.  It is often in their short-term interest — especially if they’re change resistors — for opaque reports and unreliable data to remain so (they can then say “I told you so”).

It was evident that the PMO would need to accommodate this constraint. The PMOs agreed on two metrics to track the progress of the Project Controlling solution rollout: Project Controlling rollout progress (number of projects/countries using the controlling solution) and percentage of measured projects using the solution. Furthermore, the root cause was addressed as well once the PMO took a more direct role in the solution’s implementation.

In our case, adding Project Controlling rollout progress criteria to our PMO metrics mitigated the risks noted above.  Regions that rolled out quickly could more easily collect financial and schedule data (and could testify to the good and the bad of the controlling solution).  Regions that did not adopt quickly would have to apologize for their data and come up with workarounds for data collection.  Slow adoption also highlighted potential transformation issues — e.g., the resistance noted above — and provided us with a lever to drive changes.

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