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The project delivery function is often neglected in a SIAM operating model design, but there is arguably just as much value to be derived from aligning the Project Management Office (PMO) to the SIAM framework as there is in aligning the Service Management function.

The PMO is often the “engine room” of large-scale project change, constantly monitoring, reporting and providing oversight over the organisation’s project portfolio. However, in today’s multi-vendor SIAM models, it often finds itself amongst a PMO sprawl, as each service provider in the SIAM leverages their own project delivery models.

PMO Sprawl

Let’s think about a typical project, which has multiple workstreams, each delivered by a different set of resources. This is a traditional project structure, as suggested to us in leading practice guidance such as PRINCE2.

There’s a Project Board, with the usual Sponsor, Project Manager, and supporting cast in the sponsoring organisation. In my experience, each Service Provider will also have their own project structure, and their own set of project governance and reporting. This would be fine if every project was self-contained and delivered by a single service provider, but this is rare nowadays. In effect, we invariably end up with each project team bringing their own set of standards and processes along with them, inadvertently creating a hugely cumbersome project delivery capability as the various processes and ways of working clash with one another. It strikes me that we have an opportunity here to rationalise this approach. We can do this during the design phase of the SIAM operating model, by defining the ways of working and the “project delivery” operating model at the outset.

We should strive to agree on the following principles:

  • When operating within a SIAM model, the Service Providers should seek to agree on a common set of processes and ways of working for managing the project
  • A single plan from which everyone works. More detailed versions may exist, but we should seek to baseline against one single plan, milestone
    dates, deliverables, etc
  • One project team, with minimal duplication of roles across project teams
    (e.g. a single shared project coordination function)
  • One reporting template
  • One project governance regime

This would have a number of benefits:

  • Joined up, centralised supplier/client PMO function with shared goals,
    supported by shared incentives
  • Reduced complexity and reduce time-to-value for projects
  • A “one-team” approach, and therefore a reduction in the risk of a blame
  • Clearer accountability
  • Clearer and more timely reporting, using a single project management
    toolset and a standard set of project reporting templates
  • Reduced effort and therefore cost in project delivery
  • A single consolidated project risk register increases transparency

This proposed approach also presents a massive opportunity to the Service Provider community, particularly those with the foresight to present their processes and ways of working as a transferable knowledge base that the client or the SIAM provider can operate.

Strategic Thinking

So, when should the decision be taken to adopt a single project delivery model? Ideally, this should be decided at the SIAM design stage, and reflected within the various SIAM contracts between the client and its SIAM eco-system partners. Certainly, the decision over which project delivery model and approach to adopt cannot be undertaken on a project-by project basis. This would lead to confusion and over-complexity, and would completely remove the opportunity for the central PMO to develop any kind of repeatable, consistent processes. Once the concept of a single project delivery model is accepted by the SIAM eco-system, performance of individual suppliers can be measured using a single set of KPIs which allows for comparison between suppliers on a level playing field, untainted by variations of reporting approaches which occurs when different project delivery models are employed.

Where do we start?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to retrofit this concept, but this will be prone to contractual and commercial debates which could create tension between the various parties involved. Ideally, the intent should be factored into the SIAM Operating Model design and subsequently reflected in the contract process, from RFI, through to RFP and contract signature. IT should lead on defining the concept, but of course there are other players who will need to be in accord, particularly the Supplier, Contract and Commercial management functions, who will need to understand not only the benefits of SIAM, but also the intent of a single harmonised project delivery capability.

How do we staff our SIAM PMO?

The staffing of the PMO is the area where the biggest opportunity lies. The PMO can be staffed by a combination of staff from the retained organisation and the Service Provider community. This provides fertile ground for the development and growth of the single SIAM Project Delivery model. It can be funded from the savings gained from the multitude of PMOs commonly found when organisations adopt a SIAM operating model without fully exploiting the potential cost-saving opportunities that might exist.

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