During the steering committee we reprioritized some of our projects, added a new high-priority one, discussed the various change control systems and showed off our templates for status reports and project dashboard.
We liked the status report template but made a few changes to make it specific to the PMO Commercial Projects. It was based on our old Professional Services Report.
We also liked the dashboard but suggested the following improvements:
- Add it as a tab to our prioritization sheet so we can have the first column automatically populated in the correct order.
- Add variance for budget and schedule
- Link the projects to their actual status report so we can get details rather than just the tab that has to be populated by the PMs .
The big things were the staffing of resources against prioritized projects and change control. These generated a lot of discussion and I'd like to give you the benefit of our brainpower.
We also found it useful to add a column that determined how many hours of work we should expect this week per project based on the percentages quoted to the right. This gave us a good reality check.
Our CEO was asking why we needed a lot of different systems to monitor changes. Why didn't every change go through the steering committee. Here were the different systems:
- Track-it were requests for IT support that people could assign resources to for things like fixing people's computers, but this also generated new project requests.
- Quality Change control for our ongoing operations, especially when they resulted in changes to customer or regulatory requirements.
- Professional Services Project Change Notices. These are used when our consultants are working under one statement of Work and our customer asks us to do something additional. We track these under PCNs to ensure we get paid for the extra work when the project is over.
- Project Change Control. This is what we were instituting to deal with changes to these internal projects on our Commercial Services side of the house.
Since Professional Services don't steal resources from a limited pool, we have always kept this side of the house separate from the PMO. The PMO is all about prioritizing projects within the limited resource pool and investment dollars the Commercial Services side operates under. When Professional Services gets a new project, they hire more people and each hour spent on the project generates profit because it is consulting. When Commercial Services gets a new project, the limited resources get more work to do and we have to spend as little of the money we have as possible with a hope to generate earnings when the project is complete.
So the PCN system wasn't going to work for the PMO.
The Track-it system needed to operate outside the PMO to fix IT bugs but, when a new project was generated, that project would need to be approved and prioritized within the steering committee. People's time spent on dealing with IT tickets would have to be taken from the time they have available to work on ongoing operations.
The Quality Change Control System, similarly, would operate in parallel, occasionally generating projects which would appear in front of the steering committee.
The meeting was a success that ended in 90 minutes.