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  1. 1. “Forma, Storma, Norma, Performa and Churna” … Do You Know Them? The Evolution of the Georgia Tech Office Of Information Technology Project Management Office By Kimberly White, David Adcock and Hemalatha Manickavinayaham
  2. 2. Abstract The Georgia Tech Office of Information Technology presents lessons learned from the evolution of our virtual PMO to meet a strategic goal of 'relentlessly pursuing organizational effectiveness, to increase visibility into technology investments, and a "lite- weight" approach to gain operating efficiencies and adoption across the enterprise.
  3. 3. Life Cycle of Groups
  4. 4. Forma - Background
  5. 5. Why PMO? A PMO can help if any of the following describes your organization: • Unstructured mechanism to collect & report project status • Inconsistent PM practices • Projects get executed continually, few get finished as planned • Resource contention • Lack of project priorities • Lack of coordination & communication between IT & stakeholders
  6. 6. PMO Iterations • Lack of consistent executive support • Too much rigidity & heavy processes • Limited PM resources • Inconsistent practices within organization • Lack of organizational buy-in Past Lessons
  7. 7. Our Charge • To establish a Project Management Office for the Office of Information Technology which will develop common “lite-weight” processes and procedures for managing OIT project initiatives. • This group will be our interface point with Enterprise Project Management and Decision Support Group (DSG). • Provide recommendations to OIT senior leadership on the following areas: – group structure – project tracking mechanisms – metrics – communication vehicles – etc.
  8. 8. Storma – Integration of PM Process Within Organization
  9. 9. Here Comes the Storm 1. Introduction of a Stranger 3. Finding Common Ground • Utilized external professional to kick-start process • Removed focus from previous unsustained efforts • Acted as resource and reporting leader to help establish process • Sought consensus • Established common language • Acknowledged different skills/resources 2. Task Force Creation • Leveraged existing departmental PM talent • Obtained representation from all departments in initial effort 4. Culture Impact • Recognized concern over accountability • Built in flexibility • Perceived additional workload
  10. 10. Defining PMO – Services • Base services on mission & goals • Define scope of services clearly • Establish PMO implementation roadmap • Make clear distinction among project types & the process to be followed • Develop generic project request template for campus constituents • Publish a centralized PMO Web Page • Align PMO services with GT Strategic Roadmap • Don’t overlook Executive Leadership needs and wants • Don’t omit non-PM resources (e.g. Web & PM Tools) • Don’t require time reporting if it’s not part of the culture
  11. 11. Defining PMO – Structure • Assess the organization’s readiness for a PMO • Create a structure to fit the organization, its needs, budget and staffing • Make sure structure supports goals and objectives • Select easy to use tools to enhance buy-in and adoption • Provide continuous guidance on the process, tools and templates • Recognize collaboration and efficient use of resources • Beware of processes/procedures that don’t add value • Define processes which discourage silo work • Remember, a PM tool is not a solution • Don’t use too many tools • Don’t forget to include plans for continuous assessment & improvement
  12. 12. Defining PMO – Outcomes To provide a consistent approach to identify, prioritize and successfully execute a portfolio of IT initiatives and projects. Our goals: • Improve delivery of service though project undertakings • Facilitate communications with stakeholders to improve awareness • Enhance decision making on the OIT portfolio by increasing visibility into project benefits and impacts • Educate and support the implementation of project management Mission / Goals
  13. 13. Norma –Accomplishments
  14. 14. Accomplishments Since our launch on July 21, 2011 we have:  Project Repository Data Dictionary  Project Repository  Project Thresholds  Weekly PM Review Sessions  Mission Statement  PMO Guidelines  PMO Reporting Metrics  Templates  GT Project Request  Project Status Reporting  Project Mgmt. Review  Budget Template  Decision Priority Matrix  Artifacts Checklist  Communication  Department Update & Briefing  Reporting Frequency  Web Presence
  15. 15. Our Project Selection Process Champion Functional / Technical Discovery and Project Scoping Change Management / Governance Committee Review Project Request Information to facilitate Project Selection Process Discovery Finding Budget Estimates & Resources Reporting Level defined for the project Project Decision Matrix and Artifacts Checklists Completion Resources to support the Project OIT Project Management Team Project Request Intake Project Request Maturation Project Request Prioritization and Approval Project Approval Recommendations
  16. 16. Lessons from Norma • Identify PMO Change Agents • Solicit organizational support & identify qualified staff • Define and communicate value proposition to stakeholders • Articulate clear mission and goals • Involve all units in the definition process • Start with basics, improve as you learn • Set regular meeting(s) for reporting • Encourage cross-functional communication & collaboration • Avoid rigid and/or heavy processes • Don’t allow executive support to wane over time • Don’t expect immediate adoption; allow time
  17. 17. Performa – PMO Maturity
  18. 18. Lessons from Performa • Surveyed ~90 OIT staff members and campus business partners • 51 Respondents • Key things measured: – Service Delivery – Communications – Decision-Making – Transparency – Lite-Weight Process – PMO Awareness – PMO Value Assess PMO Effectiveness – Measurements
  19. 19. Survey Demographics
  20. 20. Survey Demographics
  21. 21. What’s Going Well & What’s Not? • Lite-weight PM processes • Project repository effectiveness • Increased transparency with internal and external customers • Enhanced decision-making • Increased awareness of OIT projects • Perceived value achieved by PMO • Focus on setting project prioritization • Facilitate interactions with project stakeholders • Complete and adopt guidelines • Visibility into resource utilization • Provide basic PM mentoring & training Positives Opportunities
  22. 22. Survey Results
  23. 23. Survey Results (cont’d)
  24. 24. Survey Results (cont’d)
  25. 25. Survey Results (Cont’d)
  26. 26. Survey Results (Cont’d)
  27. 27. Churna – Risk Factors
  28. 28. Risk Factors for Churn • Accidental Project Managers • Inconsistent PMO Task Force attendance • Raised the bar on PMO processes • Consensus about Guidelines • Growth & demand challenges with limited PM resources • Questions about PMO value and impact
  29. 29. Summary
  30. 30. Summary • Strong and ongoing executive support is critical • Understand specific needs & culture of your organization • Define success factors and align processes • No one size fits all; be flexible • Solicit stakeholder involvement from the beginning • Communicate value-add & assess regularly • Evaluate pain points in the process & keep improving • Develop framework and templates • Have a central PMO web site accessible to campus to enhance communication and transparency
  31. 31. Contacts  Kim White –  Hema Manickavinayaham –  David Adcock –  GT PMO website –
  32. 32. Acknowledgements  Jim O’Connor – OIT CIO  Lori Sundal, David Leonard, Herb Baines – OIT Directors  OIT PMO Task Force Pam Buffington, Eric Buckhalt, Greg Philips – OIT Noel Moreno – Campus Services Raj Vuchatu - GTRI
  33. 33. “Forma, Storma, Norma, Performa and Churna” … Do You Know Them? The Evolution of the Georgia Tech Office Of Information Technology Project Management Office By Kimberly White, David Adcock and Hemalatha Manickavinayaham

Editor's Notes

  • Background of Early OIT (Office of Information Technology) PMO starts and stops
    Current Version of OIT’s “Lite Weight” Virtual PMO
    Strong Executive Commitment
    Alignment to GT EPMO (Enterprise Project Management Office)
    Inclusion of all Directorates (Task Force Formation)
    Consensus on Vision/Mission/Objectives
    Value on Team Flexibility
    Regular Review Meetings (cancel as the exception)
    Guidelines & Transparency (and Impact)
    Evolution (Resetting the PMO Baseline)
    Appointed Directorate
    Hiring Commitment for PMs
    Inclusion of Business Partners in PMO
    Raising the Baseline (checklist requirement & Project Request Form)
    PMO Maturity Evaluation
    What’s Next
    Relationship with STIC (Strategic Technology Investment Committee), TEC (Technology Experts Council) and Approval Processes
    PMO Road Map
    PM Tool Implementation
  • We used the Tuckman Model of team formation as the basis to evaluate and discuss lessons learned as the GT OIT PMO evolved into its current state. Hence, our presentation title origin, except because of our virtual PMO, we made a conscious decision not to adjourn. For us, Churna represents risks to the PMO. The virtual OIT PMO established a task force which meets bi-weekly to ensure we make strategic and ongoing adjustments to deal with the evitable “Churn” in IT organizations.

    The virtual PMO consists of a group OIT project managers, directors, associate directors, service managers and campus partners.
  • Background: The original Planning and Programs Office was staffed with a team of project managers in a single organization, PMO 1.0. Budget cuts in the early 2000’s ended this department with most of its staff placed directly in 5 major IT departments. With this move, project management practices began to develop to meet the needs of the individual IT departments. Management reports took on multiple forms. Attempts to develop consistent management reports, lead to PMO version 2x to 3x, with each venture ending when the champion for those styles left the organization. Today we are in PMO 4.5 and have been sustaining our effort for over 2 years.
  • What did we learn from versions 1.0 – 3.x? Most importantly, strong and consistent Executive sponsorship is a must. In prior PMO efforts, each time the sponsor or primary champion left the organization the PMO died a slow or fast death. The speed of the failed PMO’s death occurred proportionally to the weight of the process defined.

    The process for managing the projects was too much of a burden than to execute the project and the process was not flexible.

    Because PM resources were managed in different departments, Inconsistent practices evolved. Executive reporting was difficult and time-consuming. Finally, there was a general lack of buy-in within the rank and file. Few believed that any PMO would last because of the past.

    Moving forward, a strong emphasis was placed on the PMO Task Force to define lite-weight processes and to take the best practices for each department to build the virtual PMO. The CIO and PMO executive sponsor was determined and outlined a charge for the group, setting a clear and consistent expectation for the new PMO.
  • The current virtual PMO was set as a Task force 2 years before and we were given a charge by our OIT senior leadership to come up with a consistent, very flexible process that is as light as possible. Here are some of the outcomes of our charge.

    Established IT PMO guidelines as baseline to improve consistency
    Streamlined metrics to provide better control
    Shaped project team perception and customer expectations to surface project issues earlier
    Set regular meeting schedule
  • Any organizational change in an institution would always kick start a storm as we are changing the status quo and hence “Here comes our Storm”:
    In order to minimize the impact of the storm we brought in a new outside resource who had the PM skill sets that was not affiliated with any of the current OIT departments to kick-start the process. This helped us to have a fresh start by removing the focus from our earlier failed efforts
    We created the task force with representation not only from every OIT department but also with representation from our Campus Business Partners that closely work with OIT.
    We went through a long period of brainstorming to find common ground on items like
    Light Vs Heavy process
    Using PMBOK guidelines Vs being agile and flexible
    How to accommodate various departments need but still define a flexible consistent process
    What elements should be captured in the PMO’s central Project Repository
    At the end of all the above brainstorming came the consensus and along with that came some Cultural Challenges
    Who should be accountable for tracking the process alignment in projects and the central project repository itself
    Making sure that the process defined is not perceived as additional workload along with what has been done to track projects currently
    Hence we managed to build in as much flexibility as we could to make sure that the defined process could accommodate current working model but still provide consistency
  • So coming out of the storm, this slide outlines some of the lessons learned while we defined our PMO services.
    Our lessons learned is structured in such a way that we have:
    Do’s that any institution defining PMO services needs to pay special attention to and make sure they have given thought to these points.
    Don’ts list a few warning that the institution defining PMO services should avoid.
    Some of the key lessons to mention are –
    To define the scope of services clearly so that the boundaries are well identified (Ex: Are we providing PMO service only to IT departments or entire campus?)
    Build flexibility by differentiating project types and the corresponding process to be followed. Not all projects may need a full fledged Project Plan or Risk Management Plan
    Have generic a Project Intake form that can be filled by all campus customers and as well be used by all OIT departments to scope and prioritize projects.
    Have a centralized PMO Web Page that is accessible to everybody in the campus.
  • The above slide captures some of the learning discovered while defining the structure of the PMO. Our lessons learned is structured in such a way that we have:
    Do’s for any institution defining PMO services need to pay special attention to and make sure that they have given thought to these points.
    Don’ts list a few warnings the institution should avoid.

    Some of the key lessons to mention are –
    Assess the Organization needs and fit a PMO structure to meet those needs. If the major problem is not having consistent process within IT department, first focus on that before providing PM services to entire campus
    Make sure the structure align with the Mission and Goals
    Make conscious efforts to remove processes/procedures that does not add value. We had lots of data elements that provided little to no value-add. We eliminated and reduced many of them in our current process.
    Discourage silo work and encourage collaboration.
    A PM tool is not a solution to the PMO issues. Remember , A fool with a tool is still a fool!
    Make plans for continuous assessments and improvements.
  • Coming out of Storming, our key outcome was establishing the Mission and Goals for our PMO. We had various iterations of brainstorming before we could agree on the above defined Mission and Goals. After evaluating various services a PMO might provide, we agreed upon the above Mission and Goals as the blueprint for our PMO Implementation Roadmap.
  • The above slide explains the accomplishments from the Norming Phase. Some of the key accomplishments were:

    Standard Central Project Repository
    Mission Statement
    Project Thresholds
    PMO Guidelines
    PMR Weekly Metrics and Review
    Web Presence
    Continuous Communication in various forums

  • One of the key results from our Norming Phase was establishing a Project Selection Process:
    Using a centralized GT Project Request form, the project Champion /Sponsor project submits a project request for intake to the appropriate department within OIT
    The request form is reviewed by the department and discussions happen between functional and IT resources. If the project scope is not well defined a discovery process is initiated to clarify the scope definition.
    Once the scope is well defined, the project request goes through an Governance Review.
    Using the Project Decision Metrics defined by Virtual PMO the OIT team and the functional users fill in the Project Priority Information.
    Governance Committee takes all these inputs, reviews, evaluates and compares against all other project requests to approve, reject or request more information.
    If it is determined the initiative warrants change in the way campus constituents do business, then a Change Management team is involved to manage stakeholder expectations.
    The Governance Committee for each department within OIT could be different depending on the campus constituents they serve.
  • When a project is initiated, the PM and project owner decide the appropriate reporting level in the project request form. Guidance is provided as shown in the project reporting threshold table (found in the PMO Guidelines document).

    The following attributes are reviewed:
    Funding Source
    Level of work effort
    Staff resources
    Impact on current business processes
    CIO, CTO or Executive Leadership Team discretion

    Once the reporting level is established, the PM should identify the project artifacts that will be created and maintained during the project life cycle, as outlined in the Artifacts Table.
    Each reporting level has some flexibility to meet the needs of the project size and effort. At a minimum, all projects must have a project request form which provide a high level overview, including background, goals & objectives, deliverables, risk and mitigation strategy, assumptions, dependencies, key milestones & timeline and estimated budget.
    The checklist provides guidance for the artifacts that are required, recommended or optional for each reporting level.
  • Here are the lessons we learned from the Norming Phase. Our lessons learned is structured to outline:
    Do’s that any institution defining PMO services need to pay special attention to and make sure thought is given to these points.
    Don’ts list a few warning the PMO should avoid.

    Some of the key points to keep in mind while in the Norming Phase are:
    Achieving and Maintaining buy-in – As process and adoption improve, never let the executive support to wane over time
    Cultural Change will be slow. Be Patient – Understand the unique culture of your environment and provide space and time for adoption
    Make sure to enable flexibility in the process. Stay away from rigid requirements
    Make sure that you have right PMO agent in each department to spread the word and help struggling teams with adoption
    Keep communicating time and time again the value proposition to the stakeholders
    As said in storming, start with clear mission and goals
  • With the passage of Forming, Storming and Norming stages, we have been practicing under our defined guidelines for the past 2 years. We felt it is time to access our value proposition, identify any gaps and come up with corrective actions. We surveyed around 90 OIT staff and campus business partners to evaluate the performance of our Virtual PMO.

    We had 51 respondents. The key things measured were primarily based on the Mission and Goals of our PMO. The key areas measured have been listed in the slide above.
  • This slide shows the survey participants‘ department affiliation. We received feedback from most of the OIT departments and Campus Partners.
  • This slide shows the primary job role of the survey participants. The majority of the respondents came from Application Support and Application Management areas. This is the audience we wanted to serve, provide value add and ease the burden of project management. The positive results of the survey reinforces that we have in-fact achieved our mission and goals.
  • To summarize the overall survey results:
    We listed the items where we received more 80% combined responses of “Yes” or “Somewhat Yes” under the Positives heading.
    Some feedback identified future Opportunities that the Virtual PMO will evaluate.

    On the Positives side, overall majority of the participants felt the PMO has defined a Light-weight process, established effective mechanisms for project tracking, increased transparency and enhanced decision making. These were our key major goals of the Virtual PMO and we had come in flying colors in all of these.

    As for Opportunities, most participants felt the Virtual PMO needs to address project prioritization, resource utilization and PM training/mentoring in that order.

    These results signify that we have achieved a major milestone in our process journey and there is more work to do in the future.
  • The survey results to evaluate our PMO Maturity shows that
    Vast Majority of the survey participants feel that our PMO tools and templates defined in our guidelines are “Lite-Weight”
    The “Lite-Weight” was one of the major goals of our Virtual PMO and the above survey results indicates that we have achieved for vast majority of the constituents
    Only 50% of those surveyed believed that the PMO has helped to improve delivery of services.
    39% of the survey participants got confused with the question “Has PMO Helped Improved the Delivery of Services?” because “Service Delivery” means many different aspects within our each departments. Some attributed this to operational work, some to infrastructure and so forth. This result has allowed us to identify a gap that we do not have a common vocabulary of Service Catalogue. Currently we have an initiative to define this and we hope once we have this in place we would be able to bridge this gap.

  • The survey result to evaluate whether the Virtual PMO has enhanced transparency within OIT and as with the campus partners show very similar results stating that more than 80% of our participants feel that Virtual PMO has played a key role in enhancing transparency within OIT and with the campus partners.

    This is evident as we have our regular weekly PMR (Project Monitoring Review) meetings and have invited our Campus Partners to these meetings. We do see full house participation in all the weekly PMR both from within OIT and Campus Partners. This exhibits that they see value in these meetings and get very vital information on all the projects that are getting executed across OIT.
  • Our survey results show around 74% of the participants feel the Virtual PMO has helped them to improve their decision making on projects. Transparency and awareness provided through our weekly PMR meetings have helped department managers understand resource contentions and have helped them to better plan for the projects in the pipeline. However one of our next steps in our PMO journey is establish a standard mechanism that would aid our campus customers to plan their projects for the upcoming year which would in-turn enable us to build a portfolio and prioritize projects with the inputs from campus customers.

    75% of the survey participants felt that they were better informed about OIT Projects compared to the earlier versions of the PMO. This is a major victory for us considering the prior iterations and failure associated with those versions. The 17% that said “Not Applicable” were new employees who were not part of the previous PMO iterations.
  • As you can see above 86% felt value in having a PMO and that is a major victory considering our past PMOs history. There is still 14% that are not convinced on the value of the PMO. This signifies that there is more work to do to identify the root cause for this belief.
  • Most participants in our survey feel our Virtual PMO’s most significant impact has been in the area of increasing Project Transparency and Visibility. This has also been double confirmed by the fact from the earlier slide that more than 80% felt that the project transparency has been increased within OIT and with Campus Business Partners since the formation of Virtual PMO.

    The second runner-up has been Improving Team and Stakeholder Communication which is also one of our important PMO Goals. The Virtual PMO and the PMR forums has provided a pathway for cross functional communications on projects and identifying/addressing issues earlier in the project life cycle.
  • As mentioned earlier, “Churn” represents risks and challenges for the virtual PMO. The OIT PMO task force watches out for these threats and works to address them so the PMO does not fall back into the Storming stage.

    Accidental PMs are typically technical service or application managers and staff members who have an interest in and perform project management duties. The issue is when the accidental PM’s primary duties require their attention, the project management role transfers to limited number of full time PMs who are already tasked with multiple, high visibility or high priority projects. The PMO task force was faced with inconsistent attendance for similar reasons. Ground rules needed to be set when the Task Force revisited issues that were thought settled in one meeting, only to discover an absent member did not agree. We suffered from 2 steps forward, 10 steps back syndrome.

    Another threat that could create Churn is a process change request when the CIO raised the bar and expectations for the PMO. Example: increasing or lowering project reporting thresholds which would mean additional requirements on some projects. The PMO task force has to review the requests and determine how to address them without too much disruption to the existing process and impact on adoption within teams.

    Growth and demand on limited PM resources and services is a risk that highlights the value and impact that the PMO has had within OIT and campus. The OIT PMO has had a strong influence on some of the processes and templates used by the campus Enterprise PMO. The EPMO adopted our project request and budget estimate forms. Recently, another organization requested consultation to develop and charter their PMO. OIT’s PMO worked with this organization to build a PMO that fit the goals of their organization, building on OIT’s PMO best practices and customizing processes, procedures and templates as needs.

    Bottom line: some churn is good, but it has to be managed to ensure the PMO continues to improve and move forward.
  • As the question about value and ROI for PMOs is often raised by higher education institutions, recent survey results support our belief the virtual OIT PMO provides value and impact within OIT and to our campus business partners. Survey results identified areas that offer opportunities for additional growth and services, and point to key service impacts, increased transparency and visibility into OIT projects, health and issues, and improved communications with our stakeholders and teams.

    In summary, the virtual OIT PMO continues to evolve and build best practices. We strongly believe the keys to a sustainable and successful PMO are:
    Strong, visible and ongoing executive sponsorship
    Understanding your organization’s specific needs and culture
    Building lite-weight processes that are flexible, and
    Regularly communicating the value and impact on projects to your stakeholders and teams.

    Lastly, the growing demand for OIT PMO team services is strong evidence of its value and relevance on our campus.