Nov 8, 2013

Finalist Profile: Jones Lang LaSalle Renovates the PMO Role from the Ground Up

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin | 0 Comments

"BI analytics make a significant impact on our business.”

The top three finalists have been named in the 2013 PMO of the Year Award! We are profiling these finalists (in alpha order) this week. Come to the PMO Symposium to attend the award ceremony and discover the winner and runners-up. Or stay tuned for the news to be released the week of Nov. 11th.

The next time you walk into a corporate headquarters, a manufacturing plant or retail space, take a look around and imagine how it all came together: the land purchase, the ground-up construction or renovation, the interiors, the furnishings, the housekeeping … and all the support services that keep it running, from window washers to the parking garage. Commercial real estate is a complex business, and for thousands of properties and clients, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is the go-to firm to get all the details smoothly handled. In turn, JLL, a professional services firm specializing in commercial real estate services, and its Project and Development Services Division, relies on its Project Management Office, a team of subject matter experts that supports the entire Project Management business line of over 1000 real estate project managers.

Headed by Senior VP Steve Moran (shown at right), the PDS PMO strives to “move the needle” in the business’s three Key Strategic Growth Objectives: revenue growth, improving the JLL brand and supporting JLL’s people. The geographically-dispersed PMO team primarily supports the Americas Region, but also indirectly supports over 2,500 project managers globally, as they work to ensure global consistency of project delivery.

Several of the unique strategic initiatives managed by the PDS PMO include a system redesign they undertook in 2011. The OneView Projects software had been designed for large, complex projects but was not easily scalable for small, less complex projects.  As a result, many project managers had not adopted it for daily use. Based on input from the users, the PMO developed an enhanced version of that tool, then created an entirely new mobile technology, all with the goal of making project management more nimble and efficient. Another important differentiator for the company came about, says Moran, “during system redesign. We started to see the amount of data we had on each project and realized we could capitalize on that by, for example, being able to view cost savings information by client, by type of project, or by location.” The resulting program has become the PDS PMO’s Business Intelligence function, which allows JLL to provide trends and insights to the clients. “We can see trends, for example in certain cost categories – rising carpet expenses, for example—so that we can be proactive in changing purchasing behavior or supplier relationships. The analytics make a significant impact on our business.”   In another example, staffing benchmarks and other data in the BI iWin tool has improved sales executives’ speed of response time on pursuits, helping the company to exceed revenue targets in 2012.

Framing the procurement process as “supplier relationships” is another hallmark of the PDS PMO. Their Strategic Sourcing (Synergy) allows project and leadership teams to purchase materials more efficiently and competitively than owners or clients can alone. Moran agrees that redefining sourcing as a mutual relationship is the new age of procurement. “It’s not a one-way conversation. We can make larger buys, create proactive, predictable plans, deliver better time to market and get preferred pricing that goes straight to the client. In return, our suppliers obtain better visibility to spend and can grow their business based on predictable commitments.  Our suppliers help us help the clients.  And we in turn, help them.  Our Synergy program is a Win, Win.”

The PMO is also tackling the perennial problem of resource management with a strategy that uses data modeling and some algorithms to achieve better resource allocation. “Project managers coming off an account had a pretty low redeployment rate due to a lack of visibility as to who could use that person for a project.  Candidly, we couldn’t effectively understand future project pipeline. But with easy to digest dashboards made possible by joining a number of disparate databases, we could see at a glance when an individual would be available, what their skills or specialties were with their location mapped geospatially, along with open roles in the area, our retention rate shot up. We better utilize folks we’ve already trained, so we save on recruitment and development. Plus, we get happy employees.”

Lastly, the PMO’s Learning and Development capability has significantly improved the skillsets of their project managers.  The training curriculum uses senior PMs from the field who live and breathe challenges every day to develop content and then deliver it, thereby improving their presentation skills.  The L&D Lead works with the presentation team to ensure the content is consistent with JLL and PMI standards and that the presentation will be flawlessly performed.  Per Moran, “This has raised our game in so many different ways, but most importantly, supports our people through a continuous and effective professional development program.”

You might call it a successful teaming of clicks and bricks.

Stay tuned: The winner will be announced here and at the PMO Symposium on Monday!


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