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Data, What is it Good for?

Data is fundamental to any organisation and adding value to the organisation should be top of the PMO goals. In this session, PMO Conference speaker, Peter Macey takes us through the fundamentals and the focus for PMO practitioners is on understanding the data you have in your control, the impacts of it and how to use it in a meaningful way.

This session discusses:

  • What is accurate and good-quality data.
  • Why linking good data adds value and insight
  • Having a central data view that can be sliced in many ways, helps inform the organisation.
  • Why having disparate data sources is not ideal and why there should be one source of the truth.
  • How data should be freely available to process in whatever way required.
  • Why your process should define how you work, not your tooling solutions.

The session invites you to think more broadly about the data aspects of the PMO role and how that impacts the role of the PMO and the service it provides.

Conference Session

Presentation Deck

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Overview of the Session

Written by conference reporter – Graham Gunn

Data and information are perhaps the most basic or fundamental component of the PMO’s non-human resources, yet effectively organising, compiling, evaluating and assessing data/information is often seen as the “Cinderella” of PMO activities.  This presentation, however, indicated how logical, structured approaches to evaluating data quality and its subsequent processing and integration can create crucial information and insight to assist the grander roles of the PMO and indeed decision making at board level.

Following very useful reminders of some definitions of data parameters and qualities (no matter how long we’ve been in the business, it’s always good to be refreshed about the meanings of terms we habitually use), Peter takes the example of how data related to risks, issues, milestones and dependencies can be linked to generate information which holds value and insight to the “big picture” of what is happening to our project, portfolio or program, and in particular, helps to identify what elements are potentially most problematic and which therefore may need urgent attention.

The process described begins with the “5 box” model for risk scoring – a multiple of impact and likelihood.



Of course, this provides a relative score rather than a quantitative score therefore all the subsequent processes for generating risk/issue impact profiles, and various other metrics (I thought that milestone delivery and earned value metrics were particularly interesting), indicate how the performance of different aspects of a project or programme compare, or how the overall project or programme is doing in relation to the plan.  But such information can obviously be extremely useful when it comes to planning, resource management, financing, etc.

A key feature of the kind of data management system Peter describes is that it can be viewed by any part or function of the project or programme organisation (“sliced” is the term used) in a way that provides the particular information or reports they may need.

Consequently, a key requirement is that all data (programmatic, HR, finance, technological, etc.) is held and managed centrally.  Moreover, that this data should be standardised, complete, accurate and comprehensive. In the absence of such a corporate-wide data/information management system, Peter suggests that the PMO should figure out what data it needs and how to get it.

I am reminded of a situation we faced in a complex engineering project, where the people in the various engineering disciplines were totally focussed (quite rightly so) on their design details, performance testing, failure analysis, etc., and paid little attention to budgets, milestones, change order status, or even the logical storage of critical technical information.  The PMO had to goad, help and prod the engineers for such information and then create a data structure for it.  This work was not in the budget but we did it anyway otherwise we would not have been able to generate accurate reports to the programme board, or to rapidly respond with “life-saving” data in times of crisis.  

About Peter

Founder,, Planning and Reporting Consultant and Director of Kipeco Consultancy Ltd

Peter is a PMO consultant who has worked in the planning and reporting space over the last and prior to that was a technical consultant and developer. With a background in technology Peter has used his skilled to build an online PPM solution (, aimed at low maturity organisations to bring their PMO data together in one place.

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