Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PMO Best Practices have never been effective enough for large enterprise transformation

I recently saw this: PMO Best Practices Are No Longer Good Enough. I had high hopes, but it identifies some issues - but fails to identify the real issue or the real solutions.

"... study after study concludes that investments in traditional PPM fail to deliver the
anticipated results ",

".. companies who are failing to realize the planned business value from project portfolios are facing three main problem areas – Annual Planning, Project Success Rates and Budget Utilization."

Failure to be clear about exactly what projects are doing - gaps, overlap, conflicts - as things change over time is the real issue. So yes "annual" vs continious is an issue and "success rate" are a problem - but more accurately tracking how quickly money is going down the drain, or identifying more money that can poured drain-wards isn't the answer

"... annual planning ...the business case for each investment often includes unreliable estimates. ... Unless those decisions are revisited throughout the year  ..."

This hints at the need for agile and continuous planning - but fails to recognise the need for agile managements and consider what information is really needed for continuous planning and management. As projects proceed they proceed from relatively vague understandings to very explicit undestanding - the real question are how is this knowledge captured and used.

"- ... Reliance on inadequate software tools is often the reason companies fail to successfully integrate investment planning and controls into the overall PPM lifecycle. Excel ... disconnected, difficult to govern and prone to hidden input errors; ERP ... great for finance teams not for PPM teams; Project Management Tools – strong at execution-oriented project and resource management capabilities ... "

Yes, but the issues lie above all of these. The issue in defining the details of scope and impact. The PPM tools/teams fail because the paradigm is flawed.

"... one thing is certain ... the days of “set it and forget it” are clearly over."

If only people got that it would be a start.

"... enterprise-focused PMO ... continuously evaluating the portfolio throughout the year.."

This will fail if PPM people continue to treat projects as black boxes and have no real ability to see with and across them to the details of the demands they address; what they deliver; and how they affect the business. They do this because PPM/PMO practice is based on a construction industry model which is a bad fit to business transfomation.

Dynamic planning requires dynamic understanding; and relies on dynamic management.

The issue isn't how to better ensure money is spent. The issue is how to better ensure that the set of projects as a whole produce the business outcome desire. This needs to start with an understanding that:
Projects are artificial constructs managed in ways unsuited to enterprise transformation (see
- Classical project management fails in enterprise transformation -
- Complex transformation requires better ways to manage complexity -

Fortunately using a combination of a set of disciplines Semantic Precision has developed solutions that address the real issues.The approach involved a confluence of methods from: project and portfolio management; solution design management; requirements management; business architecture; enterprise architecture.

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