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The PMO Methodology \\ The Steps to Value Generation

PMO Value RingAt the beginning of March I went along to an APM PMOSIG event in London. It was a session by Americo Pinto – a PMO thought leader and researcher who comes from Brazil.
I’ve seen Americo’s name popping up in places – his research papers, some Linkedin posts, bumped into him at the PMO Symposium, and finally with his work on PMO Tools and something called the PMO Value Ring.

What is it?

Essentially the PMO Value Ring is a methodology for setting up, refreshing, maturing or getting more out of a permanent PMO structure in a delivery organisation.
The value part of it is about the PMO providing value to the organisation by being a ‘service provider’.
There are eight steps which have been devised following a research project of top PMO managers and leaders as to what are the best practices when it comes to creating a PMO.
You’re free to use the methodology yourself – you can follow the information available herethe full slideset from the session is also widely available too. There is also an online tool you can use (but there are some limitations to it – see later in this article)
Here are the eight steps:

Where it starts, makes sense

Which is trying to understand what the organisation actually wants from the PMO so the first step is about trying to understand what the stakeholders of the PMO would like to see – what benefits they would expect to get from the PMO.
Remember, this method is based on research so what you see here are options from the research.
What you’re looking at below are the top benefits that a stakeholder could expect to receive, see etc from a PMO (click to make the image bigger): PMO benefitsThe idea of the tool and method is that you would ask your main stakeholders what their top benefits are. They would pick from this list. This is step one.
Remember, this method is based on research so what you see here are options from the research. If you use the online tool that means you can’t add any other options – they are derived from the research and that’s it.
Once a PMO has a decent idea about the main benefits required by the stakeholders – step two in the PMO Value Ring is that you can choose the right services to offer which will help deliver these benefits to the stakeholders.
Below are the top services from the research – and more crucially, these are the services which link directly to the benefits: PMO servicesAgain, you’re probably thinking there are a few missing – I pointed out, “where’s the governance related ones?”
Well those services didn’t come out as top services in the research – nor do they link or relate to the top benefits required by the stakeholders.

What next?

If you’re able to enter what the benefits are for each stakeholder into the tool (you can use the tool to store all the stakeholder details and send out an email which then allows them to choose their top benefits), based on the research, at the other end it’ll spit out what the most important benefits are across all the stakeholders.
So far so simple.
The system will then pull out the main services – and it’ll also be able to show you how much value will be generated over time by each of the services. So I guess, you want to make a big impact, it’ll tell you which service will generate high value for your stakeholders in the shortest amount of time:
PMO Value Ring

Sounds great doesn’t it?

These are the first two steps that make a lot of sense in terms of how a PMO might lay the foundations – but as you can see, this particular tool is research based, and that’s research from a couple of years ago – hence you’re not seeing some likely services like the governance one I pointed out.
The rest of the steps are less straightforward.
For example, there is some guidance on the processes you might then start-up based on the services you’re offering – but this is the premier access to the tool. And that’s a lot of money.
Also the bit that got me particularly excited (I know, got to get out more!), step five about evaluating your team, I was expecting some wonderful competency framework that we could look at, instead this is a do-it-yourself area of the tool. There isn’t anything really there.
The steps further on in the methodology about financial returns and getting to the part about the value generation of the PMO are difficult – but then again you’re probably expect them to be (have a look at the full slideset it goes into some detail here)

So to conclude

Bottom line for me is – I don’t think you need this tool, but I think the methodology (or steps in it) are a welcomed addition to the PMO knowledge for the community. I also think that a lot of people are probably already doing these steps so this methodology acts as a reminder or a little shove to perhaps think about reviewing where you are with it.
We’ve always said that PMOs vary from organisation to organisation and this makes it difficult to provide a one-size fits all approach to setting PMOs up – yet as this session has shown – there are so many things that are the same – the benefits of a PMO, the services, the metrics – it’s just that we use only some of them or provide a PMO for only a sub section of the benefits shown here.
One thing that this session drove home for me is we need a world where both good up-to-date research AND practitioner knowledge and experience are combined – and we need lots of it – in different sectors, different benefits-led PMOs, different cultures and different maturity levels to name a few. Now if Americo’s intention was to use the tool for that…
PMO Value Ring

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