Section 1: The Business Case for the RMO:
In the current economic environment, organizations and shareholders are demanding better business results from every project. PMOs are emerging at the forefront of this battle to get more out of every investment dollar in organizations. Executives in the C-suite are challenging PMOs to think beyond the traditional mechanics of project tracking and reporting, and focus instead on delivering measureable business results. However, many of today's Program Management Offices (PMOs) are focused only on delivering programs on time, within scope, and on budget. Delivering large programs require more than disciplined execution of processes, it requires broader focus on business outcomes. The Results Management Office (RMO) provides an approach and structure to achieve this shift in focus.
What is meant by results? Certainly technical or financial performance thresholds or targets define results. The RMO approach goes beyond these traditional measures to include the realization of benefits against key performance indicators (KPIs) as defined with and set by the appropriate executive leaders for the specific program.
Section 2: How is the RMO different from the PMO?
The RMO does not eliminate the need for traditional PMO functions. The need for core Program Management skills, and the ability to execute well don't go away. Rather, the RMO complements the PMO with specific functions that are designed to position organizations for greater success in delivering large programs (Exhibit 1).
The PMO focuses on execution of the program, whereas the RMO focuses on value and outcomes delivered to the organization by the program. Many PMOs are designed to be focused on tracking, monitoring, and reporting, and not the management of program outcomes. All too often, they are not empowered to influence program direction, integrate components, projects and solutions and are not involved in measuring expected benefits. The RMO approach changes this perspective to focus on the strategic results or outcomes the organization seeks from the program, and to provide direction on an integrated solution design.
In essence, the RMO (Results Management Office) is a value-driven PMO that helps organizations establish and communicate value-based metrics, realistic time horizons, and well defined levels of effort to drive real change, efficiencies, and effectiveness. More successful programs are typically enterprise aligned, solution focused, effectiveness-driven, and people-conscious1.
Exhibit 2 illustrates the differences between the RMO approach and the traditional PMO approach. The traditional PMOs often march down the path of execution without providing comprehensive measurements of business benefits, or even an approach to determine them. Comparatively, the RMO develops a structured approach for determining and maintaining expected business benefits and then regularly monitors them throughout and also after Program implementation. The RMO balances the role of traditional Program Management processes with a broader, flexible view to better prepare the organization to plan for and respond to rapidly evolving changes and requirements.
Results Management Office (RMO) Overview:
The RMO implements four specific functions that complement the traditional PMO. These functions are listed as shown in Exhibit 3.
Strategy and Mission Alignment: The Program Strategy and Mission Alignment component of the RMO focuses on confirming that the objectives of the program are clearly defined and stay aligned with the organization's objectives and drive the specific goals of projects within the program portfolio. The main focus of this function is to monitor the outcomes to ensure that programs do not veer off course and miss their intended objectives. This function also considers changes in strategic direction of the organization that could change the intended objectives (Exhibit 4).
Domain Authority: When delivering large programs, individual project teams can often develop a myopic focus on the specific projects they are working to deliver. Within the RMO, that is the role of the Domain Authority — the group responsible for making sure everyone is working together toward a shared vision. The Domain Authority is not a discrete, stand-alone part of the program organizational structure. Rather, it is a cross-functional, cross-organization entity or team focused on supporting business and technical decisions that are made with a holistic view of the impact on people, process, technology, and organization. It should “connect the dots” between the program's objectives and its tactical execution, delivering relevant, specific knowledge on a program's objectives to the people who need it most. For example, the Domain Authority may help business/technical architects and data managers in applying common principles across the overall delivery effort, thereby minimizing the potential for miscommunication. Domain authority also extends to the staffing of the RMO by highlighting the need for people who have experience in both the business and technical domains. It emphasizes the need for relevant industry and technology specific experience to deliver effective solutions (Exhibit 5).
Organizational Readiness: Long-term success of any program rests on the endorsement and adoption by stakeholders. The RMO focuses on these stakeholders from the outset of the Program, not just before go-live of a system or implementation of a new process. Organizational readiness can help keep stakeholders involved and informed, and help the organization prepare to adapt to the changes that the Program brings. This should lead to greater endorsement of the Program, with sustained results.
Organizational readiness begins with a thorough analysis during which all stakeholders are identified and then interviewed to understand their needs, their inputs to the program's objectives, and their expectations of the program. With this information in hand, RMO leadership can focus on developing a relationship management strategy that identifies and defines stakeholder needs related to the program, groups or organizes the stakeholders appropriately, and lays out a plan for addressing those needs. It is from this strategy that RMO leadership develops and executes the change management plan that will transition stakeholders from the “old way of doing things” to the “new way,” with a focus on not just “what” is changing and “when,” but also “why.” This includes addressing stakeholder needs and concerns from a technology adoption standpoint. RMO leadership executes the communications plan that establishes how, when, and what the program will communicate to stakeholders throughout its life cycle (Exhibit 6).
Program Management: Within large programs, the PMO often acts as an administrative role for the overall effort. With this role comes the responsibility and authority to establish guidelines, templates, and standard processes to facilitate common efforts toward effective individual project and consolidated reporting and tracking. PMO leadership, however, often has no real responsibility or authority to achieve consistency or efficiencies.
The RMO balances the role of the traditional Program Management processes with a broader, flexible view to better prepare the organization to plan for and respond to rapidly evolving changes and requirements. The Program Management functional area manages the execution of a Program, and is accountable for overall Program success. It focuses on the decisions required to achieve results and on the Program's ability to meet its objectives. The Program Management function makes use of the extended visibility and reach provided by the other functional areas above to enhance effectiveness of traditional PMO processes (Exhibit 7).
How Does the RMO Fit Into a Current Program Management Organization?
The RMO approach takes the traditional PMO functions of scope, schedule, cost, and issue and risk management to another level through a deeper understanding of an organization's business objectives and the alignment of a program's goals with those of the organization; the incorporation of domain-specific knowledge to achieve integration; and the emphasis of the importance of organizational dynamics and human factors in program success. This approach has unique resourcing implications for the RMO.
There are different options available to organizations regarding the RMO adoption approach. They can choose to adopt the RMO in a way that it extends the traditional PMO as depicted in Exhibit 8. In this case the RMO‘s existence may end with the program (i.e., the RMO is not a permanent “department”). The other option is to implement a stand-alone independent RMO and customize it to best fit the organization's needs and program objectives. In this case the RMO continues to exist as a permanent department. Exhibit 8 depicts a sample organizational structure of how the RMO can fit into the traditional PMO.
Section 3: Implementation Approach and Lessons Learned
Example of a RMO Transformation Roadmap
Transforming the current state PMO into a result-oriented RMO does not happen overnight. Using a multi-phased implementation approach, PMO can be transformed into a result-focused project delivery organization. Exhibit 9 depicts an example of the transformation results obtained using a phased RMO implementation approach.
Exhibit 9 shows a sample 90-180-270 day transformation roadmap for implementing an RMO. In the initial stages, focus is on achieving quick wins and fixing obvious short-term problems. In the medium term, the focus is on stakeholder buy-in, establishing foundational RMO components, and continuing the quick wins. Over the long term, the remaining RMO components are built out and the organization is positioned for continuous improvement.
Some of the key lessons learned from implementing RMO are:
Program management maturity is important
No RMO will be successful without a strong foundation of program management. This doesn't mean you have to have a “world-class” PMO in order to use RMO; but if your program management isn't where you want it to be, consider buffing up program management first.
Provide the right tools to project managers
If there is a problem with the tools used by your PMO, fix it while you fix the processes. If the PMO does not have the right tools and systems to apply on the newly defined processes, the transformation will not be effective
Engage a broad set of stakeholders
Engage stakeholders from across the IT and Business organizations to help build consensus throughout the process. Engaged and committed stakeholders in the Program play a large role in defining the success factors and driving towards them.
Strong leaders make all the difference
Strong RMO leaders have clear authority and accountability to drive program results. An RMO has to be able to guide and direct a program. RMO leaders must be more than administrators, they must understand the business and technology landscape, have the ability to stay focused on the big picture, and be able to keep the entire team moving in the right direction at every turn.
Don't forget your customers
Stakeholder satisfaction is essential to the success of the transformation. Stakeholders here refer to Business and IT teams across the organization — the customers of the program delivery organization. Make sure you communicate as much if not more with these stakeholders outside the PMO.
People component of the transformation is equally important
Transforming into a RMO impacts the people as much as it impacts the processes. Do not under estimate the importance of change management, stakeholder engagement or preparing the leadership for their new roles. Any investments in these areas go a long way to ensure the success of the transformation. Frequent communication with stakeholders is critically important to the successful adoption of the future state RMO.
A Domain Authority can be a single individual or an entire team of specialists
Provide the insight and professional judgment needed to keep the business and technology aligned. Creating a Domain Authority function in a siloed organization requires leadership buy-in and consensus. A structured brainstorming session with senior leaders across the organization provides the right forum.
Plan for continuous improvement
Create a function that focuses on quality assurance and standardization within the PMO. This will help the client continue to improve and deliver value to the organization.
Section 4: Conclusion
Success factors for large transformation programs extend beyond just strong program management capabilities. The core functions of the RMO approach extend the traditional role of the PMO and introduce complementary roles and responsibilities. The RMO‘s mandate is to bring efforts to successful closure, align program objectives with organizational goals and missions, focus on meeting these objectives throughout the life cycle, integrate domain-specific expertise across the program to ensure that what is delivered meets those objectives, prepare the organization and its members for change, and optimally manage risk, to help programs achieve success.