24 PM NETWORK AUGUST 2016 WWW.PMI.ORG
As IT automation demands take off, PMOs can help
manage business requirements.
By Abid Mustafa
Why? Because the PMO has the leadership and
relationships with corporate stakeholders. A team
of business analysts can work alongside their PMO
counterparts to ensure the low-level business
requirements capability gap is closed. In practice,
this involves end-to-end business analysis of pro-gram/transformation requirements for automation
and specifying low-level business requirements
with IT to ensure the right solution.
On its own, the PMO’s business demand management function will fail—success requires a
parallel function in IT that determines the feasibility of business requirements by conducting
system analysis. This IT demand management
function establishes relevant underlying systems
requirements for a project or program if current
IT systems are inadequate. This function does not
produce a set of low-level business requirements,
although it does provide end-to-end traceability
from low-level business requirements all the way
to the automated solution.
The goal of all this is simple: enable organizations to minimize errors, speed up execution of
program deliverables and ensure that the customer
experience is not jeopardized. For this transformation to happen, however, the PMO director
and CIO must establish a workable model for the
demand management function that the rest of the
C-suite will support. PM
Increasingly, project management offices (PMOs) are involved in the delivery of lagship business transformation pro- grams. With senior leaders often viewing IT as a factory—business needs in, automated solutions out—PMOs are stepping in to fill
the middle ground in the IT work stream. They’re
helping to translate high-level business requirements
into lower-level requirements.
At the core of automation is requirements management—the elicitation of business requirements
into technical requirements that then point to a
software solution. The PMO staff can use their
cross-functional skills to help business analysts
create low-level requirements by facilitating meetings with stakeholders in the organization.
For instance, an end user at an organization (e.g.,
call center staff) may stipulate a business requirement
such as payment by debit card. In collaboration with
a business analyst, the PMO staff will speak to other
corporate users to identify which type of debit cards
can be used, and through which banks.
Imagine scores of these low-level business requirements emerging from large transformation programs. To avoid chaos, there needs to be a way
of centrally managing the business requirements
flowing into IT. With multiple complex programs
and projects running concurrently, a permanent
business demand management function is in
order—and the executive (or corporate) PMO is
best positioned to take on this role.
Abid Mustafa has worked with project management offices for eight years. His book In the Age of
Turbulence: How to Make Executive PMOs Successful
is available in paperback and on Kindle.
Voices INSIDE THE PMO