An effective evaluation of a PMO’s performance
must include C-suite feedback.
By Abid Mustafa
Executive feedback is the most important element of a PMO performance review. For instance,
in a particular project the CEO lost interest
because it took too long to prepare updates with
accurate information from relevant stakeholders.
The amount of attention that a PMO receives from
the executive suite can differ across organizations,
but it is a critical aspect of the PMO’s performance.
In projects, lessons learned typically revolve
around events that either cause delays or create
solutions. This approach is fine for projects but is
grossly inadequate in the evaluation of executive
behavior, as executive motives for project success
or failure are not captured. This can make logging
the behavior of C-suite engagement with a PMO a
CASE BY CASE
Creating and keeping such logs requires a distinct
approach. Start by developing a profile for each
executive. This should include his or her expectations for the PMO, the executive’s past experience
with PMOs and what the executive would like the
PMO to accomplish in a given year. In each case,
assumptions should be kept to a minimum.
In my experience, some executives are quite
blunt about the performance of PMOs, but many
are guarded in their views. For instance, executives
will publicly chastise the PMO but praise their
work elsewhere in the organization.
Once executive profiles are established, a statement log is produced to record two things: statements made by executives about the PMO and the
action (indirect or direct) of executives toward the
PMO. The aim of the log is to gauge the motives
behind executives’ attitudes toward PMOs and
devise strategies to address this. The success or
failure of such strategies becomes the basis of the
lessons learned, and should be used by the PMO
director to improve engagement with the executive
suite and incorporate such lessons as part of the
project methodology. PM
Project managers compile lessons learned after every project to understand what went right and what went wrong. We should do the same thing to assess PMOs’
performance. I often find PMOs are eager to help
evaluate projects they monitor but neglect to
have their own performance reviewed.
That’s why PMO directors also should maintain
logs of lessons learned that include executive decisions regarding projects. This requires dedication
from the director and a commitment by top executives to ensure documented lessons play a role in
an annual review of the PMO’s performance.
But what should such an exercise entail? Lessons
should be evaluated based on the performance of
the project or portfolio methodology, feedback from
clients, internal staff, PMO members and peers.
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.
of PMOs, but
guarded in their
Voices INSIDE THE PMO