Do you have tech requests coming in without a clear set of strategies or benefits to your business?

To help identify and manage these requests, you’ll need to implement a proper technical program management office (TPMO)

Teresa Eng, Senior Business Technology Analyst at BBAM, recently talked us through her experience of implementing a TPMO (technical program management office) at her organization during our recent “Best Practices for Business Applications Roadmaps” virtual community event. Although Eng wasn’t able to implement the proposal due to the current pandemic, she got to the point where her C-level was bought in and wanted next steps.   

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We’ll cover the key learnings from her presentation, including:

  • The benefits of implementing a TPMO
  • Tips on collecting requirements and research from the business
  • Guidance on dividing responsibilities into projects and programs 
  • The importance of data in your TPMO proposal  

Why implement a TPMO?

A TPMO provides organizations with an organizing body that helps manage projects, KPIs, and the partnership between business and technology. This ensures that companies spend money on the right initiatives, have clear visibility into the progress of their projects, and are truly solving problems that can help their organizations scale. 

Where should I start? 

You may be thinking, “Where do I start with a TPMO?” First, try to get a baseline understanding of your organization. 

Learn about your systems and process

Make a chart that lists each of the functional groups (marketing, finance, etc.), then, under each group figure out what systems they are using to complete their work. Additionally, see what system helps them complete what specific process. Eng used the example of a legal. If they’re drawing up different letters and documentation(a process) what system are they using? Is it a content management system? 

Identify Leadership

Then, it’s time to learn about the decision makers of each functional group. This person will have a big influence on budget, and can keep you on the right track when it comes to making business decisions.

Connect your systems to data  

Now go back to each system and see what data system of records is being pulled from it. Eng highlighted an example, asking: “Where’s the system of record for contracts?” She went on to explain that if it’s not from the contact management system, it will be from somewhere else. This type of artifact (or exercise) can help with future data discovery and prioritization. 

Narrow down key processes and pain points

Try to interview key system owners to learn their biggest pain points and issues. From there, you can take a handful of the problems identified to build a business roadmap. For Eng’s case, she asked for their goals over the following 3-6 months. That way they could start small, meet their KPIs, and showcase the value of the TPMO to ther organization.  

Now, how can I set up programs and projects?

After gathering that information from the business, it’s time to figure out how you will structure your responsibilities moving forward. Consider breaking up your tasks into responsibilities for either your program or project. 

For example: 

A program responsible for managing prioritization can be “Work with business to perform strategic planning, manage prioritization.” 

A project responsibility for managing prioritization can be “Create and maintain project backlog by business domain/ownership and system.”

Here are three items  Eng broke up into program and project responsibilities for her TPMO: 

1. Project Budget, Planning & Prioritization: How will we get this done? 

2. Coordination and Communication: How can we share information with the right user groups? 

3. Content/Knowledge Management: What information should be shared to benefit the rest of the enterprise and through what context? 

Tip: When determining program and project responsibilities also consider how you will share them. 

Should I look into data management? Absolutely.

When making her case for a technical program management office, Eng also dug into the importance of having a data strategy (especially with CCPA and GDPR). As mentioned previously, you’ll want to know what systems are holding what data. Additionally, you should figure out how your data has been transformed, what information you have, and who’s using it.

Eng explained that data connects everything when it comes to your people, processes, and platforms. Additionally, having a firm grip on data helps with integrations/automations, as they come with certain data and reporting needs. 

Eng even created a Yammer group with her organization to gather and share different data-related resources such as white papers. This way, the whole organization can better understand the value of conformed data on one platform. 

More concrete examples to build your TPMO 

Throughout Eng’s presentation, she showcases chart structures for gathering business information, program and project responsibilities, and examples for your data strategy. Additionally, you can get a look at her proposed organizational structure for her TPMO in the full recording.

Ready to add structure to your technology projects and get your C-level on board?  Access the full recording by joining the Business Systems community>

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.