At PM Answers we are experts in the management of projects, programmes, setting up of PMOs and the creation of process definitions.
By their very definition projects are different to the everyday business most organisations undertake. Projects allow the introduction of change; they are finite in time; and usually involve personnel of various disciplines. Projects that are undertaken may have similarities to other projects however, each project is unique; and all projects involve an element of risk.
At PM Answers we fully understand the variables that make up a project and can help in the decision making process to allow an organisation to make the appropriate choices when issues arise during planning, tracking and managing a project.
When engaged on a project as project managers, we will see through the project over its full lifecycle, through requirements gathering with the client, business case development, estimation, risk assessment, product definition, planning, tracking, change management, resource management liaison, test, defect resolution to delivery and the support phase.
Programme management is often seen as a more senior role to that of project management. It often requires the management of suites of projects that fall within a corporate strategy. Therefore in addition to the skill-set employed by the project manager, a programme manager must maintain a portfolio of projects and be mindful of how those projects fulfil the goals of the overall corporate strategy.
At PM Answers we understand the business drivers that define the programme that makes a portfolio of projects necessary. We work at all levels of an organisation from CEO/CTO to project manager, engineer and architect to ensure the right balance and delivery of a programme of work to meet the business needs.
Project Management Office (PMO)
Often critical to the successful delivery of projects is the PMO. In practice different organisations have varying definitions as to the role of the PMO.
Some see it as the support office for projects. The staff within the PMO often take the role of project co-ordinators. These individuals will work closely with the project and programme managers, helping to maintain plans, chase actions and maintain minutes.
Other organisations see the PMO as the office that holds the process definition against which the company will develop its projects and programmes. Often, therefore, the PMO will not only help orchestrate the definition of a process definition but also oversee the adoption of the process definition in the organisation through the employment of quality audits on active projects.
However, many organisations combine the roles described above in a single PMO, when this is the case, it is important that no conflict of interest materializes between those project coordinators actively on projects and those quality auditors, auditing the projects. At PM Answers we can help set up a PMO infrastructure that allows for an efficient PMO in your organisation helping to deliver the projects that meet your business needs in a more cost effective manor.
A Process Definition is the corporate set of procedures that define how the individual aspects of a project are run. They will often cover the “how to” aspects of projects usually overlapping with Prince 2 style “Themes” of Business Case, Organisation, Quality, Plans, Risk, Change and Progress. In our experience we have seen the adoption of a Process Definition within a company. Not only does this reduce the uncertainty associated with running of projects, but acts as a reference point for all staff, specially new starters. This brings a level of control not only to projects but to the organisation as a whole. Examples of areas that can be covered are below.
We have also seen that the adoption of a Process Definition, together with the appropriate level of monitoring, allows organisations to progress more easily through the maturity levels associated with CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) – this helps organisations determine how well process activities are being implemented in an organisation against CMMI best practice.
At PM Answers we can help develop a Process Definition that fits your organisation. This would encompass a series of documents, flows, processes and templates, that would meet the key process areas your organisation needs to meet to make projects deliver more successfully. An example of on area for process definition, Business Case development, can be found on our resource page.
Typical examples of the areas we would cover in developing a Process Definition would be:
- Project Lifecycles
- Business Case
- Statement of Work Authoring/Negotiating
- Configuration Procedures
- Requirements Management
- Quality Assurance
- Project Management
- Product Engineering
- Working With Partners/Suppliers
- Defect Management
- Change Control