So how does the PMO build a compelling case for investment in a PPM tool?
The finance, HR and sales teams focused on this when they prepared their business cases -providing value through actionable insights that will drive the business forward.
it’s not about how PMO could save time or resource, or how the project managers will submit their data in the right way – it’s not even about providing more information.
it’s about how insights into early warnings about potential project failure can be surfaced, highlighted and quantified in strategic terms;
About how the impact of skills gaps across the organisation to implement change can be identified and addressed early based on different portfolio scenarios.
It’s about being forward-looking. Then we need to have that conversation again about how spreadsheets are just not going to cut it any more.
Maybe it’s because before I moved into PMO, I spent 15 years as a business analyst working with operations functions like finance, sales, and marketing.
I was usually brought in by senior executives, not the functions themselves.
I listened to their frustrations, their questions, their business problems. I took time to understand their markets, the environments they operated within and their strategic goals.
Then I went out to the functions, to understand how they worked, what data they already had, and how we could bring all the aspects together to ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THAT THE SENIOR EXECUTIVES HAD.
It was always driven by the questions. I called it “working backwards”.
- What business problem are we trying to solve?
- What will have the biggest impact on stakeholders?
- What will drive the organisation in this direction?
Before we go any further, some words of caution…
If the success of core PMO activities involve consistency of process, terminology, roles and responsibilities – and this hasn’t yet been achieved or isn’t working effectively, then these issues will only be magnified once a PPM tool is introduced.
PPM tools are NOT the magic bullet that will solve all your process-related problems.
In the same way that we are now discussing what is and isn’t suitable for Robotics Process Automation or RPA, we need to discuss what is and isn’t ready for a PPM tool.
Technology provides a way to enhance and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a process or activity. But they have to be the right processes, processes that are ready for automation.
If poor or inefficient business processes aren’t working well already, why do you think they will work better once technology is involved?
This is an infographic I put together to illustrate the steps that need to be taken BEFORE diving into the market for PPM tools.
Step 1 is being honest about the drivers for change, and how poor processes will NOT be fixed by a tool. About taking a look at what you’ve already got in place, understanding what is and isn’t working well and addressing those before adding the complexity of a PPM tool.
The other points on the infographic highlight the importance of identifying WHO needs to be involved, and to plan change management activities to bring them along on the journey; Thinking about WHEN to introduce the solution, that best fits the organisation as a whole; The impact of the HOW; if its just PMO working on it, if senior management don’t champion the cause, if time isn’t devoted to understanding new ways of working – does that really promote success?
Only then should you start thinking about which PPM tool could work best for your organisation.