by Brian Anderson

Challenge

After putting a number of investments on hold for 18 months, a regional health insurance carrier was eager to tackle a backlog of major projects. The projects ran the gamut from strategic planning and process improvement to new infrastructure, system implementations and technology upgrades. Internal efforts to build an effective project management office (PMO) had been a costly and demoralizing failure. The insurer engaged Point B to turn around its PMO so that the organization could deliver on an ambitious array of large-scale projects within the next five years.

From confusion to clarity

Understanding the PMO’s failure was essential to turning it around. We conducted a current state assessment against the required future needs of the organization and developed a detailed, prioritized gap analysis—together with a PMO road map and action plan to close the gaps. We refined the PMO organization structure to better align it with the organization’s goals and delivery methodologies.

In determining the PMO size and structure, we took several considerations into account: the organization’s objectives, culture, willingness to invest, how PMO integrates with other parts of the organization, and the cadence of project delivery. We used the organization’s cultural values and business needs to deploy a PMO that builds on existing strengths and addresses the gaps.

It was imperative to bring in new project managers with the skills to create an effective, efficient PMO. We also recommended and recruited some business analysts to join the PMO. The team had a strong, cohesive start by creating a PMO handbook that defined the methodologies, tools and templates that the organization would use to deliver all future projects. The handbook is one of many visible ways that the new PMO replaced confusion and uncertainty with clarity and consistency.

Managing large-scale change

With a large-scale change in the works, Point B also brought in our change management expertise. We created a change management program and integrated it with the PMO delivery framework to help the organization adopt changes that resulted from so many large-scale projects.

By working alongside our client to build and lead an effective PMO, we implemented an organization that has supported a large slate of transformative projects over the years. We continually evaluated and adapted the PMO to the changing needs of our client’s business. Having transitioned the PMO leadership role to an internal senior manager, we continue to serve our client as a pivotal partner in its strategic portfolio development and management.