Our client was responsible for delivering vital programs, services, and products, such as health cards in order to better serve Ontario families. The client received a mandate where they needed to improve the Project Management Maturity level within the Project Management Office (PMO) of one of its divisions. There was a need to understand the skills and competencies of each PMO project management staff member and of the group as a whole.
The project required a qualitative assessment of each PMO project management staff member and the team as a whole with respect to project management capabilities in order to:
- Help understand where and how the project management capabilities within the Project Management Office (PMO) were located,
- Help understand where project management capabilities could be improved to increase effectiveness and efficiency, reduce risks, and
- Identify the baseline capabilities of each of twelve (12) Public Service (OPS) project managers within the PMO.
The main challenges we faced on this project included:
- A wide range of possible skill sets and individuals that needed to be assessed
- A level of cautiousness and scepticism that need to be overcome among the individuals being assessed
To address the requirements above, we performed the following tasks:
- Reviewed background material – context material, relevant job descriptions and career paths, and resumes of project managers were studied to gain an understanding of their background.
- Interviewed PMO project managers – All PMO project management staff members were interviewed in order to gage their capabilities related to the “Science” of project management (methodology, process, tools, issue and risk management) and the “Art” of project management (judgement, business acumen, communication, coaching, facilitation and leadership).
- Analyzed findings and formulated recommendations and ratings – we compared the PMO project management staff members roles to our PM job profiles to determine their actual job roles and the individuals’ “Art and Science” ratings. Detailed interview notes were also synthesized and used to develop overall strategies and specific actions.
- Prepared a high level report and executive level presentation to present findings – PMO staff “Art and Science” ratings, PMO staff background, strengths in the PMO, opportunities for improvement in the PMO and the expressed needs in the PMO were identified and presented.
Using the Schroeder & Schroeder Project Manager Assessment System (PMAS) diagnostic tool, we were able to identify specific strategies to:
- Enhance the robustness of the PM role by strengthening and “professionalizing” the role, enhancing the core project management processes, and enhance PM-related human resource management.
- Clarify and appropriately manage the PM role by clarifying the management roles, responsibilities, authorities, accountabilities and reporting, providing overall organizational clarity, and helping address organizational gaps.
- Strengthen project governance and the art of the CRM by facilitating a common, stronger governance structure and model, enhancing the art of “client” management, and enhancing project planning and change management.
- Improve overall resource management by improving the management and matching of resources with projects, providing training and experience opportunities to enhance resource skills, and enhancing the effectiveness and use of outside vendors.
- Provide input into the development of individual Learning Plans for each of the project management staff.
The division learned that while most jobs appeared to be more technical in nature on the surface — suggesting that there would be a higher need for Science, rather than Art – in fact much of the complexity found in division projects related to people and politics, rather than the technical nature. This meant that a greater balance between Art and Science was necessary for project success.
Recognizing this, the “Art and Science” ratings for each individual provided a starting point for the Ministry to use in the development of individual learning plans. In particular, Science skills were developed through a focus on education (PMI courses) and the ongoing evaluation of the quality of the various tools and templates used by a more experienced PM, while Art skills are developed through a focus on experience and mentoring.
By understanding the need for Art and Science, the division was better able to equip their staff members to carry out their project tasks, therefore increasing their effectiveness and efficiency and reducing project-related risks.
At the conclusion of the project all the objectives had been achieved, and the client was highly satisfied with the deliverables and the value added by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc.