Every project an organization initiates needs to prove its value in order to be considered a good investment. Often employees and organizational departments are evaluated in the same manor. As a project manager the task of showing executives and stakeholders metrics that are useful and meaningful can often be a daunting one. Metrics from the project management office (PMO) should demonstrate more than just a measurement of project milestones they should provide senior management with a gauge of the actual effectiveness of the PMO operation and serve as a tool for better stakeholder communications.
Good metrics are used to prove the value of current projects, past projects and future projects. They prove PMO value and inform executives with meaningful accurate information. However there are some concerns when it comes to presenting metrics. Even though they can be well intended they can fall short to reflect any worthwhile connection with the overall objectives of the enterprise or shareholder values, the presenter could choose metrics that are easy to obtain rather than be accurate or relect purposeful data often resulting in meaningless information to business leaders. And sometimes the selected metrics don’t identify or clarify issues that are driving current performance.
So next time you go to pull metrics to present to business leaders keep these 6 key steps in mind for powerful analysis of PMO metrics:
1. Know your audience. You’ve heard that saying many times before and in this case it’s an important note. Define who you’re concerned parties for the initiative are so you are able to successfully demonstrate the purpose and objective values.
2. What is the senior management buy-in? For metrics to be effective and useful, they must have a senior management buy-in. It’s important that the presenter ensure that top-level executives have some investment in the metric. Make it short, sweet and to the point. And make sure your goals are factored into the presentation so you are able to make your case for funding and proper resources to ensure the initiative is carried through to its optimal conclusion. Paint the picture for them; articulate the anticipated outcomes in management language, not “IT-talk”. Plus once you land one senior manager you will probably be met with less resistance up and down the management chain.
3. Properly assign sufficient resources to collect, analyze and react to metrics. They are of no value if no one has the time or inclination to collect them.
4. Show sufficient training and education is available for resources involved. Many times everyone assumes that training and education are of second nature and a built-in part of the initiative which can result in a lack of ownership of the project and inhibit optimal results.
5. Ensure there is a set of organizational standards for approach to PMO measures and metrics. If there is no overall methodology consistency different individuals could choose whatever approach portrays the most favorable results for them. This ensures that all measures are looked at and talked about in a similar language.
6. Keep metric definitions simple and open to external comparisons. Organizations that hit the highest project achievement levels and have the highest leadership support behind their various metrics and initiatives are those that are able to present simple metrics and include external comparisons. External comparisons allow the presenter to show some level of objectivity in their metrics.
One last note is to keep in mind if your not accurately tracking your metrics then all of the above will that much more difficult to achieve and present to your business leaders and your first order of business should be to petition for a Enterprise Project Portfolio Management tool that will harbor all the metrics you need with added reporting features to increase value to your presentations and over all quality to your projects. Leveraging a quality PPM tool gives you a competitive advantage with your project planning, execution, resource management, time management, cost management and reporting. EPM Live offers a Free Trial of our Project Software, click here for more information.