A shared services mandate challenged a major university to merge three central IT organizations into one. To meet service delivery goals, they had to redefine and implement their IT operations and internal processes. In addition, they needed more than 800 employees to adopt them! Working with IT, the PMO started with demand management and has now reduced approved projects by 75 percent, created a visible pipeline of demand, reduced staff workload, and improved performance.
This example shows the power of demand management to streamline work requests and focus on work that matters to the business – regardless of your industry. In our first segment in this two-part series about improving demand management, we covered the first two guidelines:
- How to capture initial work requests, and
- Develop a strong work intake process.
Once you’ve gotten some work requests in the system and fine-tuned your process, it’s time to categorize demand, put the work in motion, and determine the results.
That’s right: The Savvy PMO keeps score to ensure that all work contributes to strategic goals and that the system is running as smoothly and effectively as possible. Guidelines three and four are all about instituting a consistent prioritization process based on business objectives and tracking results to demonstrate success as well as continuously improve the process.
3. Evaluate and Generate Key Work Items
Savvy PMOs use prioritization scoring to compare and evaluate work intake requests. Some even establish the prioritization process concurrently with a demand management process for maximum effect. The important point is to select the highest-value initiatives for your organization, based on key business factors.
You can assess and categorize demand in one of two ways:
- A simple calculated score of key data, or
- A scoring model to represent business metrics.
Have your appropriate gate approvers and stakeholders score on quantitative factors such as return on investment (ROI), or on qualitative ones such as strategic fit, impact, or risk. You can also weigh these factors based on their relative importance.
Use these scores to identify which requests should move forward and be turned into work efforts such as a project, task, action item, or a combination of these. You may decide to delay, set aside for now, or perhaps even reject requests that don’t meet your organization’s scoring criteria. Customize your processes as you see fit, ensuring consistency and continuous improvement throughout the process.
4. Audit, Track, and Improve
To constantly enhance demand management, Savvy PMOs examine the process, determine the results, and then take action. Here are five ways to evaluate how your demand management function is performing – both the work intake process and the completed work – and then make improvements:
A. Analyze Flow: Analyze the number and velocity of requests flowing through the work intake process and adjust as needed to prevent:
- Redundant requests
- Requests that progressed too far before being stopped
- Requests that should not have entered the process to begin with
B. Identify Bottlenecks: Locate the gates that have bottlenecks and are blocking high value requests. Evaluate the request forms and information collected at each gate.
- Are your reviewers considering the wrong information?
- Do they not have enough information?
- Next, look at the gate approvers themselves: Did you identify and assign the right subject matter experts to be approvers?
- Do the experts need a reminder when a request is sitting at a gate too long?
C. Document and Improve: Identify lessons learned and take corrective actions:
- Modify and evolve the intake process as your organization grows
- Keep a history and avoid repeating known mistakes.
D. Segment Work Requests: Make comparisons and analyze impacts by segmenting work requests by score, department, strategic initiative, and other important factors. Your PPM software solution can help you compare and access work request results.
E. Summarize Results: Demonstrate the value of work intake by communicating results and other relevant information to stakeholders. Publish dashboards regularly so that stakeholders can monitor status, improve the process, and facilitate quick execution of strategic work.
Using these four steps to establish demand management, you can choose work that delivers on strategy and drives value:
- Capture Initial Work Requests
- Direct the Work Intake Process
- Evaluate and Generate Key Work Items
- Audit, Track, and Improve
In addition to a strong work intake process, the Savvy PMO also effectively prioritizes work and can successfully start resource and capacity planning. They can route requests through the system and re-prioritize frequently as new demand comes in, planning and managing on an ongoing basis.
Read more about these capabilities in our blog series on Prioritization and Resource Planning:
- How Do You Prioritize Your Work as a Savvy PMO?
- Project Prioritization as a Savvy PMO
- How Do You Conduct Resource Planning as a Savvy PMO
In addition, review our entire Savvy PMO eBook series for practical guidelines, worksheets, and checklists: