PM Earth

Capabilities and Project Management Courses

15 September 2007

Capabilities and Project Management Courses

An organization must chart a course in improving capability. The PMO is the ideal organization to do this. It's ability to assess issues and define problems is the key. Once problems are defined, their impact can be evaluated and perhaps measured. This allows senior executives, such as those on the PMO Steering Committee, to prioritize the various problems for solution.

Once problems related to project, program, and portfolio management are prioritized for solution, the PMO can easily prioritize the development of capabilities.

How does this work? A capability is the persistent ability to prevent or solve a problem. Here are some examples:

  • If the problem is that project scope is not clearly defined, so projects go out of control, then the capability to define scope clearly would prevent the problem.
  • If the problem is that projects cannot be accurately estimated, then the capability of accurate estimation would prevent the problem.
  • If the problem is that project plans exist, but are not followed, then the capability of tracking projects against their plans throughout execution would prevent that problem. 

In the first year, and probably the first several years, of PMO operation, this is the best approach to selecting which capabilities to focus on. Simply solve the biggest problems first.

During this time, the PMO is doing several things:

  • Increasing its own, and the organizations, understanding of standards, capabilities, and best practices
  • Defining organizational issues in project, program, and portfolio management
  • Creating a common language about these issues, and improving communication
  • Improving its ability to assess issues, problems, and opportunities
  • Improving the ability to measure issues, solutions, and benefits

After several years, the PMO is ready to lead a more organized, measured, and structured effort to improve itself and improve online project management throughout the organization. This will include moving beyond capabilities to Best Practices.


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