projected financials, they were unable to provide.
“At best, people got cross,” Mr. McIntyre says. “At worst, people were probably switching off
and not actually requesting projects.”
The PMO hired a business-case template expert to help get the lines of business on board and
then rolled out a simplified document asking product teams to describe their projects’ goals and
requirements in their own words. From there, business analysts created a more standardized
business case that the PMO could use to compare results.
“Depending on the size of the project, the business case might
not have to be very big,” says Christie Plumb, software project
manager. ”But two questions are always asked: What is the value,
and how will it contribute to strategic objectives?”
With this information in hand, the PMO then turned to deliv-
ery timelines. The team knew it needed more accurate schedule
estimations to ensure it was prioritizing projects the company
actually could deliver.
“Previously, strategic planning was done on a wish for some-
thing to be done at a particular time,” Mr. McDonnell says.
“Invariably, that would lead to disappointment.”
Because teams were setting delivery dates based on when they
wanted a new feature or functionality to go live, project timelines
weren’t always realistic. That meant milestones were often missed,
which caused delays for other teams working on the release.
To address this pain point, the PMO put the responsibility for defining project timelines in
the hands of software engineers. This increased the accuracy of schedule estimates—and allowed
business leaders to determine which projects would deliver the fastest ROI.
“We’re able to give the business a much better view on what could actually be achieved within
a particular timeframe,” Mr. McDonnell says.
The PMO now runs annual strategic planning as a project—with a charter and a named project manager. It works closely with business units in charge of each market throughout the entire
process, from competitor analysis to the moment budgets are approved at the end of the year.
“We work with the business to make sure that the priorities they have and the projects they
done on a wish
to be done at a
would lead to
—Gerry McDonnell, Ticketmaster