Nov 2, 2011

When 96% Success Just Isn't Good Enough ...

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Project & Program Management, Performance Measurement, Project Management Office (PMO) | 0 Comments

Dell Services' Health Care and Life Sciences (HCLS) PMO stands at the juncture of an unfortunate trend and an undeniable reality: while health-care projects have a failure rate of roughly 30%, for each individual facing a health care crisis, only a zero-defects outcome is acceptable. The PMO of the Year Award winner has striven to narrow that gap between reality and expectations. We discussed some of the features of the winning PMO with its Director, Robert Rausch (pictured below).

Q: The Dell Services HCLS division is kind of a hybrid: you self-identify as a health care sector organization. But aren't you primarily working on IT projects?

Rausch: We are in a situation similar to where the banking industry was before Y2K. Health care organizations typically don't like to spend a lot of money on technology, unless it is directly related to patient care. Therefore, IT is threadbare at most hospitals. But, increasingly, it is hard to sever patient care from IT infrastructure! We lease a more productive service back to them for less than they were paying. The national health care emphasis has led to increased healthcare spending on IT. We have 5000 folks dedicated to healthcare - the hardware, software, systems implementation side. Our PMO serves as the IT component for several hospitals. And it is personalized: in healthcare, it's a resume business - you pay for the individual service of a particular project manager.

Q: That explains your focus on measuring project manager performance and developing a system for appropriately assigning personnel based on the demands of the project.

Rausch: Yes, one of the the things we've been really proud of is the planning for capacity. Most comopanies assign 10-20 people to each manager, but we've tried to minimize the layers of management. We find that most companies typically underutilize project managers. Our expectation is that two senior-level project managers can manage six projects.

Q: And, it's obvious from your Award application that you didn't pull that number out of the air, right?

Rausch: No! Metrics are the holy grail. Having large numbers of personnel allows us to do internal research on things from demand management to resource optimization and cost of training. Having the metrics to manage by  puts it all on the table for executives, ourselves and our clients.

Read more about how the HCLS PMO brought their project success rate up to 96% ... and how they plan to close that 4% gap with perfection ... in this year's PMO of the Year Award ebook.

Join Rausch and representatives of other PMO of the Year finalists at the PMO Symposium in Orlando next week.

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