The team that wins the World Series one year might be on the bottom the next time. Likewise, a PMO that succeeds big in its first outing might flounder down the line, ultimately getting shut down. How do such things happen, and what can be done about it? In a post for HotPMO!, John McIntyre describes such a situation and prescribes a solution.
The Comeback Kids
When a PMO scores a big win in its early days, it is typically in the form of introducing new processes that solve a pressing business problem. Beyond that, they provide training to use the process and KPIs to measure effectiveness. Management at multiple levels might be so pleased with the PMO’s results that they start soliciting the PMO for numerous processes and services.
This is unfortunately where things can fall apart if the PMO is not careful. The PMO’s resources can become stretched too thin by the PMO’s new popularity, resulting in a bunch of half-hearted measures that do not truly solve anyone’s problems. Meanwhile, the processes that people enjoyed in the first place decay because they did not receive proper maintenance. Thus, the PMO becomes a victim of its own early success and heads toward failure.
McIntyre says that, to avoid these situations, PMOs must apply the same rigor to analyzing and prioritizing new potential PMO services that they do to project business cases. But another equally important thing he says PMOs must do is purge outdated processes. For instance, in an organization with mature processes, it may not be truly required to follow 14 precise tasks dictated in a process because the value of the process itself is already well understood. In such a case, layers of complexity can be peeled back to offer more freedom.
When it comes to scrutinizing and simplifying processes, McIntyre says to ask yourself these four things:
- If the PMO stops tracking this process, will the business suffer? (note, a small amount of suffering may well be acceptable when compared with the effort that would be saved within the PMO).
- Does the problem that this process was designed to fix still exist? (changes in personal and organisational maturity may well have removed the problem that the process was originally trying to solve).
- Who benefits from the process? (some processes that were originally beneficial may now actually be creating disbenefits due to the number of non-value adding steps).
- Who would shout if we stopped offering this service tomorrow? (it is not uncommon to find that the business would actually celebrate if you removed a particular process or ‘mandatory’ service!).
You can view the original post here: https://www.hotpmo.com/blog/pmo-process-purge