By Cherie Chance & Scott Major 

Implementations of project management offices or project management governance often have limited success due to a poor understanding not only of where the organization is starting but also of what they are trying to achieve with the implementation. The Management Solutions’ Project Management (PM) Assessment and Recommendation Process was developed to address this problem. The process takes input from key stakeholders and effectively documents the current state of PM maturity in the organization. The state of PM in an organization is often over or underestimated by upper management. The process identifies current areas of strengths as well as weaknesses so the starting point and issues are understood by all stakeholders.

Identifies the desired results of the implementation. 

The process aggregates information across stakeholders and identifies the key results desired as a result of the implementation. This will allow appropriate tailoring of recommended solutions to address key needs.

Prioritize implementation steps. 

The process will identify the results which will address the primary changes needed as a result of stakeholder evaluation. This will allow the development of an implementation plan which will provide the most impactful results on the front end.

Forecast and track the anticipated ROI on the PM initiative. 

The return, or value of PM, can be difficult to assess. The process uses a projection of future state value as identified by the stakeholders compared against the current state value to determine the return. The return is periodically compared against the investment to date to validate ROI.

Project Management Maturity Assessment.

The objective of the PM Maturity Assessment is to provide an accurate depiction of the organization’s current and desired states of standardized project management maturity. This information is obtained through a series of questions about the current and desired role of the PM organization or governance in a number of specific areas. The results are compiled in a report and current, desired, and best practice states are compared. This allows the implementation team to have a clear picture of the goals of the implementation. Every organization will have a specific desired, or target, state based on the needs of that organization. Not all organizations need or want, every PM capability and this process will help the stakeholders come to an agreement on what success looks like.

The PM Maturity Assessment includes the following:

Identifying the key stakeholders of the project management initiative. This should include the appropriate decision-makers that represent the opinions of all stakeholders associated with the implementation effort.

Allow each stakeholder to take a PM Maturity survey. In general, the surveys are taken independently, identified only by the role in the organization (PM, Lead, etc). This allows all stakeholders to have a voice and prevents the domination of the discussion by particular groups or individuals. This survey assesses the current state PM maturity in the organization as well as the target state. The surveys deal with competence, strategic, environmental, functional, and methodological areas. A weight can be assigned by role to reflect the key participants.

Aggregate results and present them to stakeholders for discussion. A facilitator will work with the group to understand the collective responses and reach agreement on the current and target states

Reassess the PM Maturity at various milestones during the implementation, and compare the results to previous assessments to determine progress or changes.

Below is an example of the output available:

Project Management Functional Assessment

The PM Functional Assessment identifies and prioritizes the specific PM benefits desired by the stakeholders. This allows the implementation to balance the functions and services to be implemented with the expected benefit and prioritize implementation to achieve the maximum results in the shortest time.

The PM Functional Assessment includes the following:

Selection and prioritization of specific desired PMO benefits by the Stakeholders as part of the initial questionnaire. Map the desired benefits to specific PM functions/services which would be required to fulfill each expected benefit identified in the survey. The results are then aggregated to identify and prioritize the most required functions. Based on the number of expected benefits that are identified consideration should be given to recommending a phased approach.

A clear communication of each expected benefit and required PMO function/service should be supplied to the customer, as well as, a draft of the phased approach if it exists. The expected benefits should correlate with the targeted maturity level, if they do not that gap should be addressed by Management Solutions and agreed upon by the client.

Implementation Roadmap

The results of the PM Maturity Assessment and the Functional Assessment are compiled and evaluated and a recommended implementation roadmap is developed. This roadmap considers the target PM state desired, along with the prioritized specific benefits identified, as well as logical interactions between implementation elements. This allows the most needed elements to be implemented early while ensuring the entire implementation is considered and planned in an efficient sequence.

Determination of ROI

To identify the returned value of the PM initiative, there are two approaches that can be used. Existing research can be used to predict the expected improvement in project metrics, and a more detailed process can be followed to measure success as the initiative is implemented.

As an initial assessment, research shows that as an organization matures, certain efficiencies can be expected. The results of the PM Maturity Assessment can be used to predict antedated impacts to project performance between the existing state and target state. This can be used to determine if the implementation is likely to achieve the desired improvement. The graph below shows the general change in cost and schedule index as an organization matures. These numbers can be used in conjunction with the current profit margins to predict improvements in profits at the target state.

To identify and monitor the ROI as the initiative progresses, a baseline should be developed at completion, and cost and schedule results should be compared to initial project baselines. At key milestones of the implementation and periodic points after the implementation, the results of the current system should be calculated and compared to the baseline to quantify and monitor improvement in performance.