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Goal Setting for PMO Teams


We often get asked about metrics and measures for the PMO.

You might already be aware of the Inside PMO Report we have which is focused on this subject.

There’s a difference between the metrics and measures that the PMO contributes to – such as project success rates and the ones which focus on how well the PMO services are received by the organisation. There is one other area too that tends to get overlooked, and that’s the metrics and measures of the PMO team itself – is the team meeting the objectives and goals of the organisation.

There is a specific goal system that can be used: OKRs (that’s objectives and key results to you and me) have been popular with tech start-ups for years and they seem to have hit the mainstream with more and more organisations adopting the OKR approach to goal and direction setting. OKRs aren’t just for Silicon Valley, they can be a great tool for PMOs to clearly define what they and the portfolios they support are setting out to achieve – and how the goals of the PMO align with the goals of the organisation.

Do you know your KRs from your KPIs? Are your goals likely to have people saying O-wow!… or simply O-dear? John McIntyre from HotPMO helped us explore what OKRs are and how they can be used to align and accelerate PMO performance. Login to see the session; the deck, the writeup and the insights:

The Polls

PMO Poll

The Video Session

The Deck

Goal Setting PMO

The Write Up

John wrote a brilliant write up about the session over on his website, check it out: Write Up

Some Insights

We always have a lot of chat and interaction on the sessions – there’s some nuggets thrown in there from the PMO Flashmobbers; some observations and sharing of experiences. Here’s what we’ve got from this session:

  1. It’s actually quite hard to come up with objectives that considered to be inspirational and ‘moonshot’ in nature. We tend to fall back on old favourites like improving customer satisfaction or improving our services to help projects be more successful. Time to get the creative juices flowing…
  2. Some shared objectives from the evening included:
    1. We want to have active 2-way communication with project teams to help them deliver on project goals.
    2. To implement a PPM Tool that will provide great resource and project insights to enable even better decisions.
    3. A PMO that creates relevant, engaging & creative comms channels.
    4. To help the organisation deliver projects with less energy and less adrenalin.
    5. An ambitious POO that drives the value of our projects and programmes for the organisation.
    6. Increase the speed and success of our projects.
  3. “Formal Objectives are often set on an annual basis. Then these get overridden with weekly/monthly objectives to “fight the fires of the day”. At the end of the year, you’ve fought 20 fires… but failed to meet the original objectives that were set at the start of the year. The key point to achieving objectives is that people need to be equipped and enabled to meet them.”
  4. “It helps if the team sets them (objectives), and then gets excited about what they can do to achieve them.”
  5. “We use VSEM (Vision, Strategy, Execution, and Metrics) in our company. same principle”
  6. “I’ve recently put together a Service Catalogue where the success metrics tied back to the OKRs”
  7. “The company I work at uses a tool in which the CEO sets his OKRs at the beginning of the year and then his directs set their OKRs and ensure they align and then their directs set theirs etc – all the way through the organisation. There’s full transparency so it’s great to be able to look up anyone and see what their OKRs for the year are. Very useful when you’re trying to appeal to a stakeholder or meet someone for the first time before collaborating on something.”
  8. “Focus on direction of travel, not just the destination. Moving in the right direction is a great aim for every day/week/quarter.”
  9. “Every aeroplane sets off with an agreed Objective (“Land in Paris”) and a Key Result (“100% passenger survival”), and a General Direction of Travel… but they all have to adjust track along the way to deal with other traffic / priorities / unexpected weather. This is no different… we don’t need to have a 100% solid plan Day One. So long as it is Directionally Correct.”
  10. “Our business objective is “embracing innovative ways of working to improve service delivery and the operations of the council”. The PMO can assist this by supporting change projects.”
  11. “Great session John. I would suggest adding in a third element of ‘values’ alongside the objective and key results. The values would be the alignment on how you go about achieving the key results. As an added bonus you would then have a triangle – and everyone loves a triangle :)”
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