Building project management and business transformation capacity is critical to advancing public sector reform.
The Project Management Centre of Excellence (PMCoE) in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) was established five years ago to help build capacity across the entire OPS to create and sustain transformational change and achieve modernization objectives. Two units report to PMCoE. Together they provide in-house consulting services related to strategic planning, project and change management, and organizational excellence to help OPS organizations achieve their business results.
PMCoE has strived to create its own path to the future by building an understanding of its organizational history and culture and developing strategies that build and leverage the opportunities within that environment.
The PMCoE story started in late 2005. At that time one of the two units currently reporting to PMCoE reported to another branch and functioned independently. There was little cross sharing or coordination between the two. The focus, for both units, was to set up and build frameworks, methodologies and tools. These tools proved to be invaluable as PMCoE increased its focus on providing consulting services in the following years.
PMCoE partnered with the Youth and New Professionals Secretariat to create the Project Management Stream of the Ontario Internship Program. This program was successful in attracting young, bright talent to the OPS and planting seeds of project management savvy people across the OPS.
PMCoE also created a learning curriculum and offered management learning programs, aligned with their methodologies; an internal consulting model and toolkit; a customer relationship management database; and a revamped website.
Communications and marketing
Two years later, with both units now reporting to PMCoE, they started to build a more cohesive team that worked collaboratively to meet customer needs. PMCoE was also building a better sense of its customers’ needs because of its measurement and evaluation program, which included bi-annual client satisfaction surveys. With this knowledge, it was better able to position the marketing of products and services to the needs of the organization.
PMCoE also started partnering with owners of corporate processes to embed its management frameworks into existing business processes. It focussed effort on creating an awards program and participated in outside forums and speaking engagements, raising awareness of its frameworks, methodologies and tools.
A number of other jurisdictions have now adopted the OPS methodologies.
In 2009 PMCoE created a coordinated approach to delivering services. The focus was on building partnerships and maintenance of what it had already achieved. This was a deliberate strategy to ensure PMCoE did not overgrow its products and services and ensured the organization had the flexibility to redirect resources to unplanned opportunities.
This part of the journey saw another revamp of the PMCoE website. It now included a full line of products and services to help organizations get from their current state to a preferred future state. A number of e-learning modules and learning “clinics” were created to help manage the demand for classroom sessions.
There was an increased use of technology in delivering services and in the community meetings, which were attended by staff from across the province. There was a dramatic increase in the size of the community of practice, from about 200 members in 2005 to 1700 members in 2009/10.
Without community inclusion and active involvement in developing and delivering services, it would be difficult for PMCoE to grow its business model and achieve the reach and impact across the entire OPS. For this reason, PMCoE recently led the development of a five-year strategic plan with its community, which also addressed how the community can be more networked and involved.
This year the Modernization Division, which includes PMCoE, received the National Quality Institute Level 3 Silver certification. This accomplishment provides verification by an outside, accredited body to the level of organizational excellence PMCoE has achieved.
The service delivery evolution that PMCoE has undergone over the past five years was planned and opportunistic. It understood that there were stages the organization had to experience on its own as its culture matured.
If PMCoE continues on this path it will be able to actively grow and nurture its communities. The participation base from which it can draw resources and ideas can be tapped to meet the growing needs of all of its customers. By fully leveraging the community, PMCoE will be able to bring out the full potential to deliver maximum value for its customers and truly become a “trusted partner, building and driving transformational excellence across the Ontario Public Service.”
Nick Stea is director of the Project Management Centre of Excellence, Modernization Division for HROntario.