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Project Portfolio Management

Creating a Customer Centric ePMO

Published By Kevin Kern
Creating a Customer Centric ePMO

Enterprise PMO’s and IT organizations have been focused on best practices for completing projects on time and within budget while increasing efficiencies. In many cases this is done by cost reducing methods such as decreased or flat headcount, with expectations of increased production. Ultimately the advantage to being a customer centric ePMO or IT department is that by focusing on the customer initiatives and aligning effort with those initiatives, they impel a meaningful and positive impact on employee tenure which always benefits the business. Satisfied and challenged employees tend to stay with their organizations longer.

Many of the projects managed and completed by the IT ePMO involve customer service applications, and some of those typically aren’t a high priority. For example, identifying a server that might have failed, or how much downtime a server had might not be as important as understanding the impact of a down server on the customer base, what impact it might have on the business, or how that failure affects bottom line dollars. It’s important for the PMO to be able to link contributions to customer success in a meaningful, measurable manner. For example, quality standards that measure how well processes are performing against defined quality standards, or value standards which provide insights into whether the process is providing expected value. There are other examples, but the key point is that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Measuring the value of such initiatives drive changes – such as validating purpose and justifying a course of action – and guides leaders to intervene if course correction is appropriate. It’s challenging in some cases to measure value, and not many organizations are able to do it effectively, but those that look beyond tactical measurements towards driving customer success will be the winners. Think Amazon, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, and Innotas.

Tactical Measurements

Tactical metrics are those that may be considered secondary efficiencies. For example, how well are resources assigned to the right projects, or how quickly can we fix bugs before our next release are tactical metrics. These metrics are generally quick to measure because they are often times already being measured in some way. They are also items that can fall into the “nonessential” bucket of work completed.

Value Creation Metrics

This value is created or managed outside of revenues and expenses. Consider the intrinsic value of certain initiatives such as reputation, customer relationship, and the success of a customer’s customers. The value here extends beyond quarterly goals. These initiatives transform the roles that organizations contribute to customer success. Measuring value creation is a long term win, and will significantly impact the ability to continue driving customer success within the organization and beyond.

Longevity Metrics

The importance of measuring longevity within the ePMO doesn’t simply concern a company’s lifespan, but it also relates to culture and people within the organization. For example, does the company have a plan for individual growth trajectories and are those plans documented, measurable and sustainable? How does the organization encourage innovation and collaboration? We believe that by measuring the employee tenure of your organization, outputs and credibility across the enterprise continue to grow and meaningful relationships are nurtured and maintained. We believe that is what impels true business partnerships versus cost centers and simple service providers.

Financial Measurements

We know that customer service has a financial element that needs to be managed, such as renewal rates, growth rates, cash, cogs and profit. Financial metrics are often the simplest to measure, but don’t reflect a 360 degree view of the customer’s behaviors and desires, and therefore should not be measured alone.

Generally speaking, as an industry we’ve become experts at gathering data, but occasionally, that data is not always relevant. In many cases, it’s interesting, and might identify or solve extraneous problems, but often not relevant in measuring the value of those data sets as it relates to customer success. In order to realize that goal, a system must be created for the measurement of the critical elements involved in customer success. Think Quality, Performance, Value and Compliance.

Remember: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

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Written by Kevin Kern