Each group of users who touch your Project Management Office (PMO) have different requirements. This isn’t new (or even news) – it’s the case for any division that offers services and a supportive function within the business.
The challenge with having multiple customer groups like this is that they most likely all define value in a different way. Each group – whether that’s a group of 300 or a group of 1 – will value something specific about the work you do in the PMO.
First, Let’s Define Value
In order to establish how to show the value of the team, first you should work out what each of these individuals or groups feels is important to them.
- Senior managers might value your clear reporting dashboards.
- Senior project managers might value the personal coaching on offer.
- Project managers might be grateful for the governance and process support from your team.
- Project co-ordinators might appreciate your huge library of project document templates.
- The executive team might value the clarity that your portfolio management brings to their decision-making process.
Each of these groups will define ‘value’ in a different way but it won’t take many probing questions to work out what that is.
Compare Your Services To What Customers Say Is Important
So your internal customers are saying that project governance is a key service that they value above all else? How good are you at that, really?
Take an honest look at whether you are best in class at the services your customers say they value. Pinpoint where you do things well and consider how you could expand that.
Then appraise your processes where you feel you have got improvements to make. Pull together a plan to achieve those improvements.
It’s important to note that you can still add value to the organization even if you think you have some way to go to improve. Maturity tends to come from incremental growth rather than leaps and bounds, and you can still be seen to deliver a great service at the same time as improving that service.
That – the improvement – is where we are going with all this. If you can improve the services that people say deliver value, you can show them how you are improving your value proposition. They love the dashboards? Make them better, clearer, linked to more data. They love the coaching? Train your coaches, offer more coaching slots for project managers.
By targeting your PMO development and the addition of new services to the functions that your customers value the most, they will see how you are delivering real, valuable, improvements.
Make It Look Valuable
A bit of PR never went amiss! Think about how you want your PMO to be perceived in the business.
You probably have a complex database to look after, that holds all the resources, projects, priorities and everything else that is input into your project management tools every day. You no doubt have experts on the team who can weave formulae into beautiful spreadsheets with their eyes closed. These are useful functions, and crucial team members, but that’s not how to explain business value to your stakeholders.
Business value is not a spreadsheet: it’s the information that allows the exec team to make the right decisions about a new product launch.
Business value is not a database: it’s the system of prioritization that ensures the right projects get bounced to the top of the queue to deliver benefits in this financial year.
Your customers won’t attach the ‘value’ label to your behind the scenes work as much as they do the outputs and outcomes they do value you for. Where you can, minimize the importance of the tasks that aren’t perceived to be high value. This isn’t to say don’t do them. It simply means that there are some tasks where you should be seeking PR and others that can be a single line in an activity report. Talk to your customers about the things you know they believe are important.
Of course, there will be some people who need to know the detail of how the PMO functions. It’s no good your director thinking that the 15,000 line spreadsheet was created with a simple click when it took an analyst all afternoon. But your average internal customer won’t care and won’t see the value in these ‘under the hood’ tasks.
But what if all they care about is dashboards and templates and you want to introduce more functions?
By showing the business value you have achieved and delivered in the areas where you currently function, you’re making it easier to ‘sell’ the investment in the PMO for more services. Once they know that you can deliver great customer service, valuable management information, streamlined processes and more they will be keen for more of everything!
Keep The Conversation Going
People’s perceptions of what is valuable change over time. Talk to your PMO customers often. Make it your mission to understand what they want from you and, beyond this, what you can do to make their lives easier (because they won’t always know what they want).
By knowing where you are today and where you want to be, you can plan the journey of your PMO where you continually deliver improving services for the people you support. This is the best way to show the value that you offer the business day to day, and ongoing.