Pair a Current State Assessments with PMaaS

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In most cases, our clients are ready and waiting to get the project management services they desperately need off and running as soon as possible. This is especially the case for our Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) partners. So, when we recommend an assessment first or in parallel with PMaaS kick-off, clients do not always see the benefit. They often worry that their projects are losing valuable time to get launched… but are they?

One of the approaches we are seeing have a powerful impact on our partners’ success is to pair the implementation of PMaaS with a current state assessment.

Assessment approaches can vary and are designed to deep dive into how teams are working, understand existing processes, identify gaps and pain points, as well as highlight positive things that people want to see carried into the future. Assessments can be focused on different aspects such as digital transformation, agile maturity, project management maturity, and organizational change management to name a few.

Let’s look at the five key benefits of pairing a current state assessment with PMaaS.

Table of Contents

#1. It focuses on the critical elements that need optimization.

Ever feel like you don’t even know where to start? Assessments can narrow down themes and areas of most impact, which can help the team focus on iterative, high-value-add adjustments.  Most project management consultants want to quickly get all the details about a project to begin providing the best leadership.  However, with everyone’s heads down deep in the minutiae of details at the project level, it can be hard to see the higher, more complex, and connected strategy.  Setting the strategy and a focused improvement roadmap before teams begin working can ensure teams do not lose sight of critical elements. It also ensures the ‘fresh eyes’ perspective isn’t quickly lost as consultants acclimate to the client’s environment and culture. Agile teaches us to keep the batch size and work in progress at a minimum; otherwise, the focus is lost because of the context switching, and things just do not get done. Stay focused on a few key actions at a time and see them through to completion.

#2. It provides short-term and long-term plans and confirms the correct service is implemented.

Organizations that are less mature in project management may struggle to identify the best approach to drive success. Our job is to analyze and recommend avenues for value realization. Our holistic experience is both tool and methodology agnostic, so we can offer suggestions for other approaches, technologies, integration between tools, and even low-code/no-code technologies that quickly fast-track productivity. Furthermore, the assessment analysis of how projects are funded, prioritized, and resourced can give us critical clues into bottlenecks that are slowing portfolio performance.  All the assessment insights are then consolidated and prioritized to give our clients a roadmap with both a short-term and mid-term plan. It can define portfolio organization and complexity which will better inform the resourcing plan needed to deliver. The more we know, the better we can match the skills and service to truly meet the needs and objectives of the companies that we serve.

#3. It brings alignment across all levels from consultants to CEOs.

A lot of business relationships start with small conversations between key stakeholders. This valuable information regarding expectations is often never cascaded to working-level employees. Inevitably, gaps can create different expectations and confusion from different levels of management direction. Once the assessment is completed, all key stakeholders are brought together to review it, along with the delivery team. Adjustments and feedback can then be quickly incorporated into both the plan and the project/program/portfolio governance before work is underway. This is different and more powerful than a traditional project kick-off meeting due to the depth and transparency of the topics discussed. It can better demonstrate to the client group that we do really understand them, have a solid plan to execute, and know what we want to improve to take their capabilities to the next level.

#4. It avoids bringing old bad habits into the new PMO.

Ever asked someone why they do something, and they respond with “We’ve always just done it this way.” At one time, there was typically a sound rationale for working in a particular way. The reality is that processes and ways of working evolve and change. New technologies, requirements, constraints, and other factors are all disruptors pushing the need for new processes to get the intended results.  When clients want to kick off PMaaS without allowing consultants to take the time to truly understand the current state, it is highly likely bad habits will follow their way into the new PMO. It can become even harder to break old habits the longer they are in place. Set the tone off right by learning what needs to stop and create a desire to change – show teams what they will lose by staying the same and what they can gain by rethinking how to work better and smarter.

#5. It accelerates the learning curve.

Any time you are starting a new business partnership, you have so much to learn about one another! You want to ensure alignment on values, get positive reinforcement on commitments, see benefits realized, and confirm that actions match the expectations set. Assessments provide so much helpful information, which can easily be transferred to other team members for a better start. They can begin projects or transition existing projects armed with best practices, recommendations for stakeholder approaches and personalities, and know what NOT to do based on previous issues or error states. Assessments, if done right, open the lines of communication and allow key stakeholders to be honest about the current situation.  This not only creates opportunities for building trust and relationships early on but aggregates information into themes to protect individual identities. Ideally, you can use 1-2 consultants who will be delivering on the projects to support the assessment for maximum acceleration of insights as they can directly apply what they have learned.

We have built an extensive collective experience that ensures we are bringing the best and brightest delivery plan to our clients. We always come to the table with options and flexibility to provide the right approach for each client. While the trend is to get started immediately, a small amount of due diligence and sitting a bit longer in the “current state” can dramatically improve partnerships, transitions, project planning and so much more.

Assessments allow you to thoroughly understand both the people and the plan, which will have a huge return on investment. You will see engagement, empathy, and alignment right from the start. This, paired with strong project/program/portfolio governance, will give confidence to everyone involved that “we got this!”  We can provide project management consultants at any time, but following a better approach to leading the PMO or portfolio with an assessment first makes this a dynamic duo that should not be overlooked.

This article was written by Breanna Recker

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