lessons learned signThe last post covered the role of the PMO in the post project review. This post will expand on this and cover how the PMO can help leverage the value achieved from the post project review.

1. Consistency

By defining a standard approach (and templates) to the post project review, it will ensure that every review captures the key points from the project in a standard and consistent manner. This important as this ensures that the appropriate dimensions are explored and, the data collected in the same format. This enables consistent trend analysis.

2. Trend Analysis

The PMO will be involved and collecting / consolidating the reviews from all of the projects for which they have oversight responsibilities. This means that through the consolidation process, common themes can be identified.

For example, on analysis a number of projects may be found to have completed late and over budget. On closer examination of the reasons, it is discovered that they all used the same vendor and that in all cases the vendor had delivered late. If there is no other reason than poor management by the vendor, this would allow the PMO to co-ordinate senior management to hold meetings with the vendor to address the issues as a whole as there is probably fundamental changes the vendor needs to make to their operating model. Alternatively, the vendor can be removed from the preferred supplier list so that they are not used for future products.

However, you must not jump to conclusions. On closer examination you may find that the issue is in the way the projects have provided requirements to the vendor i.e. incomplete, unclear, late, etc. Then the PMO would be able to focus on ensuring that project teams are trained in requirements definition, importance of meeting dates, holding joint review sessions with the vendor, etc.
These examples indicate the enormous benefit on being able to analyze the data to identify trends and then make interventions to improve outcomes.

3. Knowledge Repository

Every project should deliver some form of beneficial or required (mandatory) change to an organization. However, each project also results in the acquisition of knowledge. In many cases this knowledge is lost at the end of each project as the project team is disbanded and each individual goes on to do other assignments. The cost to acquire this knowledge is usually expensive. Therefore, it should be used.

The PMO can leverage this information by ensuring that all project documentation (including the post project review) is stored in a central knowledge repository. This can aid value in so many ways:

  • Help similar projects to fast track planning by copying and adapting the approach of similar successful projects
  • Improve estimates as real examples can be used – resulting in improved budgets
  • Identify key resources to work on the project
  • Being aware of potential issues and risks from registers so they can be avoided
  • Reusing documentation by editing as opposed to starting from nothing

While building a knowledge repository costs money and takes time, it can deliver so much value to an organization.

4. Check List

The PMO can use the trends from project reviews to perform assurance on all live projects.
Taking the example above of the vendor issue. If there are current projects who are using or, intend to use, the vendor, action can be taken early to try to avoid similar problems.

In Summary

The post project review and associated output is very powerful information for an organization. A pro-active PMO can take this information and provide so much value to an organization both in time saved in completing a project and avoiding costly overruns. It also should mean that the same type of mistakes are not made (too many times).