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Project & Change Management


Solitaire exists to help clients manage their journey through change. We help to: 

  • Minimize the inevitable drop in performance when implementing new systems, processes or structures 
  • Minimize the time to benefit realisation 
  • Maximum the benefits of change

‘Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have, and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up’

‘Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competitors and customers.’

Project Management

Project Management Office

Business Process Management

Project Management

The Solitaire Consulting approach to Project & Change Management draws on the extensive experience of our Business Practitioners and blends this with their formal skills and a pragmatic project framework.   

Apart from describing the different people involved in a project and what they are responsible for, the method also explains how to manage risk, quality and change on a project.  There are always lots of changes during the life or a project; people change their minds and external factors influence what the project is doing.  Using a formal methodology provides a technique of controlling the way changes impact the project in order to prevent the project going off in the wrong direction. 

Key Questions to ask about any project 

  • Are the main Project deliverables clearly defined? 
  • Are SMART criteria used in acceptance of deliverables? 
  • What is the Risk profile of the project? 
  • Has a Risk assessment been undertaken for all identified risks? 
  • Is there a Change Management plan in place? 

How do we ensure that Projects management by Solitaire Consulting deliver against plan? 

By definition, all projects will result in a change, which could be a new product or service, a new process or new technology. How a business plans and reacts to these changes will ultimately define its success in relation to its competitors.  

Success in delivering projects is directly related to an organisations ability to manage change.  We help by ensuring you:  

  • Understand the current situation  
  • Carefully plan the change process  
  • Manage the consequences and impacts of the change on your people 

How Solitaire Consulting will help your project succeed 

Solitaire Consulting will work in partnership with your business, helping you identify the drivers for change and ensuring that planned changes are aligned and prioritised in accordance with your business strategy. 

We will: 

  • Gain a detailed knowledge of your business, identifying all current projects and initiatives, providing visibility to senior management of change readiness and capacity for change within the organisation 
  • Help you to prioritise the key initiatives that will deliver the most impact  
  • Manage individual projects, or an entire project portfolio using industry standard tools and techniques or your own organisation’s internal project management methodology 

Project Management Office

Solitaire Consulting and its Associates have implemented many PMOs for its clients over the past decade. In most of these cases, once established, the PMO is handed over to the organisation for them to manage with the their own teams. However, increasingly we are being asked to continue to provide PMO services on an ongoing basis.

But first what is a PMO?

Definitions of a PMO

Unfortunately this isn’t as straight forward as it should be because the term PMO is often used interchangeably to describe three slightly different concepts:

  1. Project Management Office – providing standards, templates, administrative support and reporting to one or more project management teams
  2. Programme Management Office – manages the governance of a programme of change and coordinates the efforts of the programme management team
  3. Portfolio Management Office – oversees all the projects and programmes of an organisation ensuring they are aligned to the organisational objectives.

However, common to all three, a PMO is ostensibly a group or department that defines, maintains and ensures project management standards across an organization. The PMO can either be internal or external (outsourced) and it is the latter that I will focus on in this article.

Guidance around the differences between Project, Programmes and Portfolios is the subject of an earlier article on this website.

What does a PMO do?

A project management office operates as a centralized and coordinated management hub for all the projects, with the aim to create efficiencies between projects—as well as defining and maintaining standards in the project management process.

PMO’s provide data and insights into projects and programmes across an organization.

The PMO doesn’t always focus solely on standards and project management methodologies. They can also be part of strategic project management by facilitating, or even owning, the project portfolio management process. In this capacity, they can monitor and report on active projects and portfolios to top-tier management and foster strategic decision-making.

Different approaches and roles of PMO

Seeing PMO – The Dashboard

Some PMO’s are simply the dashboard or score keeper of what is going on. The “Seeing PMO” helps you see what is going on, by reporting project progress on a regular basis. Whilst this is really important the PMO doesn’t actually do anything about what it reports.

Saying PMO – The Commentator

Some PMO’s will provide both an update and a commentary, perhaps some explanations, insights or productions. This could be a budget issue, lack or resources, project management issue or poor definition of goals, outputs or outcomes.

Supporting PMO – The Oversight or Facilitator

Some PMO’s may go beyond impartial and objective reporting and become pro-active by offering advice to the project management teams in an attempt to resolve issues without the need to escalate to senior management.

Schooling PMO – The Enabler

Some PMO’s may are even more active, they take responsibility for training project managers and ensuring that they are familiar with the project types and sponsor expectations. Again, the PMO does not deliver the project but is does provide the tools, training, templates and techniques to ensure the project team has the best chance of a successful outcome.

Steering PMO – The Strategy Delivery

Some PMO’s are responsible for delivering or operationalising the strategy. What the board agrees, the Steering PMO implements. At this point the PMO is no longer managing different programmes or projects organising and coordinating their delivery. The PMO decides what will happen when, and will be responsible of the allocation of resources.

Do you need a PMO?

(spoiler alert: if you have multiple projects the answer is yes!)

The best place to start when considering whether or not you need a PMO is to take a good, hard look at how your company operates and see if different segments of it are already working together across systems and groups in harmony, or if they operate as silos with different systems and don’t often talk to each other.

If your company is the latter, then a PMO can help. Also, if you’re about to implement any significant projects or strategy changes — or the strategy you already have isn’t being met, a PMO might be right for your organization.

What is a virtual PMO, and how would it work?

Clearly the different approaches and roles of PMO are like to require different people will different skills, qualification and experience. Someone who can gather information and present the score-card is unlikely also to be the person who can advise on stakeholder management.

An ability to train people on tools, templates and techniques does not necessarily translate to the strategic ability to operationalise strategy.

A virtual PMO offers different combinations of these skills at different times to meet your needs either as a temporary resource during a period of change, a transitional resource whilst the organisation is recruiting internal capacity and capability or as an on-demand resource as circumstances dictate.

What are the advantages of a virtual PMO?

A virtual PMO can be flexible to the project, customer or supplier, perhaps taking a waterfall and PRINCE2 approach for some projects, an agile and scrum approach for others and even a hybrid approach where required.

The PMO can assign the right level of experienced resource at the right time. The effort involved in managing a PMO tends to be cyclical with lots of effort needed to set it up or when starting a major project / programme, but little effort when everything runs smoothly. Most organisations, unless they are of significant size, find it difficult to maintain PMO resources at an appropriate level.

A virtual PMO can be very technical, potentially taking a DevOps approach to technology and innovation or more people orientated with a greater focus on people change, personal growth and team’s facilitation.

If you do lots of projects in your organisation but don’t have a PMO, or if you do have a PMO but find it is not meeting your expectations, then please contact us for an informal discussion.

Business Process Management

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach to making an organisation’s processes and workflows more effective, more efficient and more flexible in a changing business environment. Processes are at the heart of all business activities and ensure that consistency and repeatability can be achieved.  Achieving process excellence improves the way that businesses create and deliver value to customers.  The important point here is that processes serve the customer rather than the organisation itself.

The goal of BPM is to reduce human error, process variation and wastage and focus stakeholders on the requirements of their function or role. 

Many organisations make the mistake of investing in technology solutions to automate processes and workflows before they really understand the processes themselves.  The process understanding must come before the technology; otherwise there is always a risk of automating the inefficiencies of a manual process.

Reasons to improve business processes:

  • Over time and without maintenance, processes degrade
  • Left to their own devices, teams will always work sub-optimally
  • Customers only really care about process outputs not the process itself
  • Things can always be done in a better way
  • Inefficiencies generally only show up in process map detail
    The effort required to correct errors through the process rises exponentially 

The Business Process Maturity Model

The concept of a maturity model can be helpful in identifying where your organisation is on its process management journey and the optimum support or solution required.  The model below has been adapted from the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) originally developed for use in software engineering 


solitaire-consulting-Business-Process Maturity-Model-jersey

Knowing where you are on the Process Maturity Model will help to guide your thinking on your process management journey and help to identify your priority areas for improvement. 

There are many methods and systems available to help improve all aspects of the business process to achieve greater efficiency and leaner cost values.  Our view is that the method itself is less important that the way it is applied.  This must be appropriate to your culture and management style, and ideally should be adapted specifically for your business.

Whichever process improvement methodology is selected the general principles should follow a defined process such as the one described

As technology extends to all areas of the business, automation is no longer enough to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  Companies that adopt Business Process Management will increasingly be able to adapt quicker to new opportunities and ensure resources and staff are utilised to the best of their ability.

Continuous improvement is not about the things you do well – that’s work.  Continuous improvement is about removing the things that get in the way of your work. The headaches, the things that slow you down, that’s what continuous improvement is all about

Project Management

Project Management Office

Business Process Management


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