PM Earth

Project Management Software Gap Analysis

01 August 2007

Project Management Software Gap Analysis

The easiest way to prepare a plan is by gap analysis. A plan can be seen as a set of instructions for moving the organization from where it is, the current situation, to where the PMO wants it to be, the goal with desired benefits. To make this plan correctly, it is necessary to know where the organization is now, and what improvements provide the most benefit to the organization. Assessment is the process of finding out things worth knowing. Assessments are used to determine the organization's current situation, the benefits desired by the organization, the goal, and the feasibility of the goal. Once the information is gathered by assessment, it is analyzed in the planning process. Then the plan – the guide for execution – is built.

Benefits of planning by gap analysis

Planning by gap analysis allows a PMO to adapt a general life cycle, such as the MPOM™ life cycle for project management offices, to the specific PMO and company. This adaptation results in these benefits:

  • It maximizes the benefits the PMO offers to the organization.
  • It ensures that the benefits desired by executives and managers are the goals of the PMO.
  • It ensures that current problems or issues are defined and resolved.
  • It ensures that the PMOs goals and plans are feasible.
  • It improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the PMO and project management throughout the organization.

The steps of planning and assessment

The steps of planning and assessment are:

1.      Assessment of the current situation. This describes the current operating environment, methods, and processes relevant to project management. It also defines and prioritizes issues and problems.

2.      Assessment to define benefits and goals. The PMO will have its own ideas of what the organization needs. However, it is also crucial to get input from executives and managers, and make sure that the problems that they see with project management are resolved by PMO activities, and that the PMO's work brings the benefits they want. This is crucial for obtaining commitment to the PMO's plan and support for the PMO. That commitment and support translate into promotion and use of the PMOs methods and services, which leads to success of the PMO.

3.      Initial planning. Applying the two assessments above, it is possible to plan the PMO, completing the planning phase, selecting services and implementing them to launch the PMO's execution phase.

4.      Assessment to determine feasibility. During initial planning, questions may arise as to whether a specific goal or service is feasible. For something to be feasible, it must be accepted by customers and stakeholders, sufficient skills and talent must be available, and it must be affordable. An assessment can be performed to determine the status of all of these feasibility issues.

5.      Execution. The plan is executed; the services are put into operation.

6.      Assessment to determine effectiveness and efficiency. Once the PMO, or a particular service, is up and running, assessment can be used to ask the questions: Is the PMO (or the service) achieving its goals? Is it doing so at as low a cost as is possible? The first question is one of effectiveness, the second, one of efficiency. These assessments compare current results to desired results, and current expenditures to possible alternatives that would lower cost.

7.      Planning improvements. Based on the information from the assessments of effectiveness and efficiency, minor or major improvements to PMO services may be planned and executed.


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