Tout your winners

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

PMOs too often get painted as the dour “project police”.  Our willingness to deliver results without demanding attention and praise is one of the more attractive character traits of project management culture.  But as noted in Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin’s post on The Million-Dollar Question: What’s the Value of a PMO?, delivering results quietly can be a trap:

[O]nce the systems for executing strategy through well-run projects are in place, it’s tempting to think you can rest on your laurels. But, no such luck. When project and program management is working well, it’s invisible: nothing bad happens. And the PMO becomes, apparently, a line item of overhead.

Jeannette notes that many PMO leaders shy away from marketing their PMO after it has been established.  During the PMO project itself, we all seem to understand the importance of stakeholder management and communications.  But when we become a function, we forget that lesson or think it unseemly, inappropriate, etc.

I’m not suggesting we crassly broadcast our successes.  Perhaps “narrowcasting” is the better idea — a discreet word with the CIO about identifying a poorly-priced deal ripe for re-negotiation, a walkthrough of high and low profit projects with a sales manager, etc.

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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