PMO REPORTING DONE RIGHT: WHERE TO START AND WHERE TO STOP?
Today’s project management office or PMO is the term to describe the combination of several functions including program management, project support, and reporting. Organizations spend billions each year on project delivery. All project faces two significant challenges as they attempt to improve their ability to deliver complex projects on time and to budget:
- Securing leadership support and commitment for the PMO
- The belief that a PMO will lead to project success
A survey by PM Solutions found that 85% of companies have a PMO (up from 47% in 2000). 95% of the firms included in the survey have annual revenues of more than $1 billion; 83% with revenues of $100 million to $1 billion; 75% of businesses with revenues under $100 million. Project management offices can have different structures, styles, and operating methods, but their main goal is to help the organization deliver its projects most strategically and efficiently. The modern PMO has evolved to offer more value to its sponsoring organization. It is responsible for:
- Benefits tracking;
- Expert work planning, estimating & scheduling;
- Coordinated resource management;
- Structured progress tracking/forecasting;
- Robust scope management;
- Change control;
- A focus on budget efficiency;
- Communication oversight;
- Industrialized quality management;
- Value-adding risk and issue management;
- Comprehensive knowledge and records management; and
- Fully integrated project processes.
This modern PMO enables timely delivery, successfully achieved scope/quality requirements and targeted budgeting which ultimately results in the minimization of delivery risk. It all comes down to excellent reporting.
Reports Must be Aligned with Your Organization’s Strategy
A consistent value capability of a PMO is the ability to share data through a variety of different reports and dashboards. Presenting the right combination of data through a set of meaningful reports is a missing capability to add value. Sadly, this capability is provided not by every PMO’s. There are a variety of reasons for this. One of the key reasons is the inability to “synchronize” all the data within an organization properly. Imagine having thousands of employees working on a hundred different projects that intersect and intertwine in dozens of parameters simultaneously. Imagine the number of data streams; one must consider creating a solid, consistent report. The situation gets even more complicated when the teams are using different tools for project tracking and management. Another important key driver is the inability of the PMO to “align” reporting with the overall strategy outside data sets mentioned earlier, that sometimes can contradict “the story” the report is bound to tell. Luckily there are tools and a couple of proven practices that will help your PMO in providing the meaningful reports your organization needs.
The Best Practices for PMO Reporting
Mindfulness: As one of the leading and governing divisions within an organization, PMO should first be considering the organization’s strategy. It is one of the most important tasks of a PMO to make sure that reporting focuses and reinforces the strategy of your organization.
For example, your short-term goal is to achieve greater revenues. Then your reporting should emphasize the various investments within the portfolio. And if t the same time the long-term goal is operational excellence, the emphasis in reports should shift toward key operational indicators, like the number of projects completed on time or average time to get a project “on the go,” etc.
Conflict-free accurate data: All the data used for PMO reporting must be accurate and be free of conflict with other data sources. If anyone in your organization can question the origin or correctness of the data, the message your data conveys lost trust. Data conflicts must be resolved to produce truly relevant reporting. More so, if manually collected data can often come into conflict with other data sources. For example, a PM entered status appropriately within one of the project management tools you use. But in a different tool that tracks the status come into conflict with other reports, like the development manager’s status report. Your PPM tool should be able to align the statuses entered in the PPM tool to resolve this conflict. This is where the power of seamless integration and data aggregation PPM Express provides will be the holy grail for any PMO. As long as the data is taken straight from the source automatically, no one can doubt the result – the report it amounted to.
Mind the context: PMOs reporting must always provide context. Without “Bigger picture” at hand people tend to extrapolate and make assumptions. In project portfolio management “assumptions” in reporting are never helpful. Having access to the “Big picture” makes all the assumptions go away. That is also a reason to equip your team with a PPM tool, that, like PPM Express, provides both the reporting power and access to the “Big picture” in one toolbox.
Modern and Efficient PMO Reporting in Project Management
PMO is responsible for the reports in project and portfolio management to guide not only the structure and the selection of the presented information, but to ensure the usefulness and purposefulness of the reports. Here is what a modern PMO report should be:
- Fast (to understand and act upon)
- Available to the right people
- Everything on one page
When introducing a PPM solution, the reporting topic is often considered too late. Wouldn’t it be perfect, if the PMO could “put reports first,” so that, the PPM system would be planned around the reports and their users? To do so, focus on the essentials and get the most out of your PPM system. Make your choice toward a system that enables you to react as fast as possible to the new developments, so your reports are both flexible and “up to date.” Aim to present the most important factors he decision-makers can actually use.
Choose tools for best PMO reporting: the tool you choose for your project portfolio management must provide PMO with a way to interconnect all the data streams into one consistent report, no matter the project management tools you’ve got in place, the number of employees you have or the projects you are building. One of the ways to make it happen is data aggregation. It provides PMO with transparency and visibility across all your projects and portfolios. So, it is much easier to make sense of all the continuous data flow and “translate” it into a report, easy to understand and base decisions on.
PPM Express is just the kind of tool, that can make it happen. It is a SaaS platform that enables an organization with a full portfolio and project visibility by aggregating project-related information across groups, portfolios, and systems. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 20 people or hundreds (thousands) of employees. It is scalable and lightweight. It connects to all the tools you’ve adopted before and “streams” all the data into one flow and sees your portfolio with brilliant clarity.
Choose better PMO reporting with data integration. Careful attention to accessibility means this PMO reporting solution can point to any available database to become a vital part of your report. Integration options PPM Express offers:
- Project Online,
- Office 365,
For efficient reporting, you might also need visualization. Whether you need area charts, heat maps, or infographics, by visualizing your data in new and exciting ways, you make reports more “readable” and easier to act upon.
Financial planning becomes easier with review and forecast options for your overall budget and resource hours in a single view. Build project roadmaps and easily forecast project success. Access key indicators like start dates, percentage complete, project health, and status reports with one tool. Get insights into resource management, identify bottlenecks in production and enjoy dynamic analytics on capacity, utilization, and demand.
Status reporting becomes even more efficient with access to automated status reports, that also allow editing with a single click. With PPM Express, you can access and edit automated status reports. Easily share risks, issues, scope changes, and milestones. More than that, the solution is totally customizable. You can finally empower your team with custom made integrations and combinations of features.