February 3, 2016 | Matt Nichols
The Role of the PMO in a Software Organization – Part 2
This is the second part of a two-part blog post. You’ll find part one, focused on External Balancing, here.
External balancing is only half the battle, as ensuring balance within the software organization is also a critical component of implementation success.
Here are some of areas you need to consider with regard to internal balancing.
Project vs. Product Management
As defined in Herding Cats, "a Product is an entity provided to a user. It can be anything: a physical product that you hold in your hands, a software application, or a service that you are delivering. A Project is the series of activities to produce the defined outcome that turns into the Product."
It’s very common for younger software firms to focus on delivering product ‘on demand’ – in fact, it’s probably an essential part of their early development and growth. Transitioning from that mode of operation to a mature software-as-a-service (SaaS) organization can be difficult, but active planning and organizing along the way, combined with increased internal communication will help balance the delivery (see Communication vs. Delivery).
Partnership vs. Interference
'We're here to help you focus on doing what you do, so we all do our jobs better.'
We recently held our company annual kick off, and I used this quote to explain my vision for PMO. I see PMO as an internal services group managing internal financial activities related to implementation: tracking actual hours, cost and revenue, supporting external billings and deliverables.
It seems counter-intuitive to think you can add value by stepping out of the way, but the value lies in balancing the external framework with the internal. By acting as a glue of sorts between finance, sales, operations and services within the organization, we add value through support … but finding balance between groups requires dedication to communication without too much interference (or meetings).
Administration vs. Bureaucracy
An internal track lead recently told me, "I've never had all my projects on time before, but I've never had to attend to so many meetings."
I was ecstatic. This meant that the PMO was doing the right job executing. But, I had to ask if we had the right balance internally.
- Too often project management professionals focus on the output of their efforts, and not on their outcomes.
- The PMO of the future will give back to their organization through more predictable outcomes from better portfolio planning.
When you think about trying to create balance – the truth is that things are rarely, if ever, fully stable. There is usually more movement one way or the other. And a value-focused PMO recognizes the yin-yang – that sometimes things will be more one sided than the other -- and looks to continually provide balance internally and externally, helping everyone to be successful.