PM Earth

Project Training Course Assessments

10 August 2007

Project Management Training Course Assessments

Assessment of the current situation defines the issues or problems to be addressed and the current operating environment. This applies both to the situation found before the PMO is initiated, and the situation related to a particular service that is being considered.

Assessment for a new PMO

Assessing the current situation is used to:

  • Define the business case during PMO Initiation
  • Define the need for each service the PMO might offer during PMO Planning
  • Define readiness for advanced services, such as implementation of governance

The purpose of this type of assessment is to define the starting point, problems, and needs of the organization. For example, in implementing methodology, a PMO will have to operate differently depending on each of these initial situations:

  • Project management is new to the organization, and no methodology is in place, nor does anyone understand what a project management methodology would offer
  • Several large departments each have their own project management methodology. Small departments do not.
  • There is a online project management methodology in place, but it is not providing much value.

An assessment can be used to determine which of these situations is true. Even if the PMO thinks it knows the answer to this question, the assessment can still be useful, because the assessment process can be used to define the language the organization uses to describe its problems, and also to bring executives and managers throughout the organization towards commitment to support the PMO and help it realize its benefits to the organization.

In deciding the size and form of the assessment, the following should be considered:


  • Which stakeholders have input that should be included, or opinions and influence that should be courted?
  • How well does the PMO already understand the issues?
  • How much time and money are available?
  • How important is it to define issues to a measurable level?

Based on these considerations, the steps of the assessment can be planned. For example:

  • Including key political stakeholders who's opinions are already known may be costly, but may pay off later in terms of their sense of contributing to the definition of the PMO, and therefore their commitment to it.
  • If the PMO does not understand the issues, then a multi-stage assessment, in which as small, inexpensive focus group defines issues, and then a more extensive survey gets wide opinions on these issues is likely to be best.
  • If time and money are limited, then targeting these resources to assess what appear to be the most important issues is essential.
  • If an organization has no project management, it may be appropriate to perform an assessment that discusses the type of value to be gained, but does not try to put measurable figures on the gain. On the other hand, if project management is in place, but there are gaps in its quality, then defining the dollar benefits of closing those gaps may be necessary to get commitment.


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