PMO Maturity Action Plan Register

PMO Maturity: Identifying improvements and creating action plan

This is part 4 in the series of posts about how to complete a PMO Maturity Assessment so as to identify areas of improvement for your PMO.  The objective being to improve the maturity of your PMO.

The last 3 posts covered:

  1.  Understand the current maturity of your PMO
  2.  Guide to plotting the current maturity of your PMO
  3.  Capturing the required / desired maturity of your PMO

This post will cover the steps to take when you have captured the current and target maturity levels of your PMO, the analysis and creation of a PMO improvement action plan.  This is what will enable the maturity level of your PMO to increase.

Purpose

The reason for conducting this step of the process is to identify the gaps between the current state of maturity for each PMO discipline and the target / desired level of maturity.  The driver for this being that the target maturity level is what is required in order to achieve the objectives of the organisation (as captured in the PMO objectives).

This then will enable a set of actions to be defined that will address each gap.  Completing the actions should result in the gap being closed, achieving the required level of maturity.

Reviewing the Gaps

If you have plotted the current and target states you will have a clear indication of the gaps.  The larger the gap, the more work that will be required to close the gap.

It is advisable to review each of the gaps with the PMO objective statement close to hand.  The reason being that it will help guide the improvements that are required.

For each gap you need to define a set of actions that are required in order to improve the maturity.  For example, if part of the objectives is to deliver projects in a more cost effective way but, the Cost Management discipline scored a very low level of rating, this would be an area you would want to improve the cost controls exercised by the PMO.

Capture Action Plan

Any action is only helpful if it is completed in the required timescale.  For this reason it is very important that all actions are captured in a structured manner so that they are not lost or forgotten.

This is where you want to use an action tracker or register to record all of the actions.  The tracker should capture the actions for each PMO discipline, the same order as the way you captured the data for current and target state.  Each action must be assigned an owner (so that it is completed) and a target date.

The action plan should be agreed with all appropriate parties that it is correct and that they will complete the actions.

PMO Maturity Action Plan Register

Track Progress

There needs to be someone responsible for tracking the completion of the actions.  In most cases this will be the PMO manager or the person who completed the assessment.  The objective being to ensure the actions are completed so the increase in maturity can be achieved.  Failure to track the actions may mean all the hard work completing the assessment is wasted as the required outcome is not achieved.

If the actions are going to take time, it might be a good idea to produce a regular report to give the stakeholders an update on progress.  This ensures that they are reminded that the work has not been forgotten and hopefully will demonstrate the PMO is serious on completing the journey.

Reporting progress will also allow any item to be escalated.  For example where there are barriers to completing actions or action owners not progressing items.

Post Action Review

When all or the majority of actions are complete, a follow up review of current state can be completed.  The results can then be plotted against the previous results and target state.  if the action plan has been well defined, all gaps should be closed.  If this is not the case, the progress can be demonstrated and, more importantly, refined actions defined to focus on remaining gaps.

Continuous Improvement

A pro-active PMO will want to embark on a continuous journey of improvement.  In this case completing periodic reviews will make sense.  However, it is advisable to not complete the reviews too often as this will take the PMO away from the primary focus of supporting the change agenda for an organisation.

Summary

The analysis and completion of the action plan is a critical step for improving the maturity level of a PMO.  If this step is not completed properly, the required outcome will not be achieved and the PMO will never mature as required by an organisation.