APQC Best Practices Study on Effective Project Management Offices Shows That
“You Get What You Measure”
Report details how Dell Services, DTE Energy Co., IBM, and United Illuminating
Company manage projects for maximum value
HOUSTON -- March 12, 2013
APQC, the world’s leading proponent of knowledge management, benchmarking, and
best practices business research, has released the results of a new
study—Effective Project Management Offices—which uncovers trends among a
select group of best-practice project management offices (PMO). The
best-practice organizations highlighted in the study focus on providing
structure, guidance, and oversight to achieve the maximum value from diverse
portfolios of projects. They balance strategic needs, aligning development and
improvement activities to the business goals and objectives of their
organizations, with an emphasis on providing the hands-on skills, tools, and
assistance which empower those leading individual projects.
“The APQC research team found several patterns, insights, and findings from
the best-practice organizations including strategies, practices, technologies,
and metrics,” said Jeff Varney, senior adviser and business excellence
practice lead for APQC. “From measuring and reporting on project status
monthly to using straightforward and dynamic dashboards to display project
performance, the findings differentiate best-practice organizations from
others in the study, and may provide solutions to challenges many
The best-practice organizations examined in detail in the study include: Dell
Services, DTE Energy Co., IBM, United Illuminating Company, and a
multi-billion-dollar beverage manufacturer.
Effective Project Management Offices details 14 best practices demonstrated by
the study participants, but four in particular stood out:
*Best-practice PMOs actively contribute to enterprise strategic planning –
In order to establish the importance PMOs are given within the enterprise,
most best-practice organizations have either a formal or informal business
case to establish its prominence. In addition, a key enabler to PMO’s
contributions to strategy creation is executive support; most
best-practice PMO’s in the report were established by and report to either
C-level management or just one level below. For example, senior leadership
at DTE Energy chartered its PMO, called major enterprise projects, as part
of an effort to transform itself into one of the best-operated energy
companies in the U.S.
*Best-practice organizations take a strategic and integrated approach to
resource forecasting and loading – Resource loading, which is planning for
and allocating a portion of an employee’s time to a project to ensure
appropriate staffing, is utilized by The United Illuminating Company to
help create a formalized planning process around project resources to
ensure the right employees are staffed on the right projects. A project
manager may work on five to seven projects at a time, all at different
*Best-practice organizations make large investments in training project
managers – All of the best-practice organizations in the report provide
training that includes soft-skills training; coaching and one-on-one
mentoring from senior project managers; and providing all employees with
project management-specific content. For example, Dell Services, which
views project management as both an art and a science, trains its
employees in both components. Dell’s PMO has a project management
competency model that lists required technical, functional, and leadership
skills/knowledge for each job role.
*Best-practice organizations use automation and centralization for PMO
technologies – The majority of the featured best-practice organizations in
APQC’s study purchased project planning/scheduling and tracking/reporting
software programs to facilitate project management. Others also developed
internally automated tools for risk management and knowledge repository.
For example, IBM developed a work center as its platform of choice for
project program management. The work center provides project managers a
wealth of functionality including requirements management; proposal
management; resource management; exception management; and defect
Detailed descriptions of the practices, supported by case studies from the
best-practice organizations, may be found in the full research report
published by APQC.
APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the world’s leading proponents of
knowledge management, benchmarking, and best practices business research.
Working with more than 750 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC
provides organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster,
and with confidence. Visit www.apqc.orgor call +1.713.681.4020 and learn how
to Make Best Practices Your Practices^SM.
Ross Coulter, 214-394-5538
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.