Global PMO Partners / Ivy League University

Global PMO Partners (GPMO) was hired to assist, develop, and deploy project management software to optimize the project portfolio processes at an Ivy League University IT Department (University). Powered by Smartsheet, an enterprise software system, the GPMO team of consultants addressed the University’s pain points and provided customized project portfolio management solutions to meet the client’s unique needs.

GPMO engaged iSeek Solutions, a division of PAC3 Technologies, Inc. (iSeek) to address issues in the University’s project governance process. iSeek was tasked with analyzing the University’s approach to selecting and prioritizing projects, identifying gaps in the governance methodology, and providing recommendations to establish best practices that were commensurate with leading institutions and industry standards. In partnership with GPMO, iSeek engaged the University with an evaluation of their current state project initiation and governance practices.

The Challenge

iSeek elicited feedback from the University regarding where stakeholders experienced the most pain points. Specifically, the University’s initiation and valuation of each potential project, was of major consternation. The consensus was that the following areas did not have enough stakeholder involvement to properly ascertain a project’s value to the organization:

  • Business case development
  • Scoring process
  • Project intake
  • Project selection / prioritization

The University had three primary challenges. First, the University created a project scoring process that was not being utilized for project selection or prioritization. Therefore, projects were being approved based on arbitrary input and feedback from stakeholders, not any quantifiable measurements based on the project’s value or benefits to the University. Second, stakeholder engagement in the project intake process was performed in an informal way lacking the identification of dependencies or resources required to execute a project. Third, iSeek found that the PMO lacked an end-to-end framework for governing the process of project intake, evaluation, change management and execution. Also, upon review of the specific formula used to automate composite scores for each project, iSeek identified a problem with the calculation resulting in an immediate correction.

The Requirements

iSeek assigned a PMO expert certified in project management, training, and consulting skilled with 25 years’ experience working in various sectors including University IT. To address the University’s challenges, iSeek deployed an approach that consisted of three phases to meet the primary objectives. The first phase included an interview and survey period to gather current state framework, processes, standards, and tools utilized by the University to govern the project portfolio. Immediate evaluation and feedback were provided to the customer during this phase to elicit pain points and desired outcomes from stakeholders. The second phase enlisted an assessment of the data gathered to compare results against best practices and industry standards. The third phase included a final report grading, competitive University benchmarking, and tiered recommendations.

The Solution

Detailed Consulting Services iSeek Provided:

  1. Discovery sessions

iSeek interviewed, surveyed, and questioned a select group of the University’s stakeholders to determine current state practices, perceptions, and expectations. iSeek reviewed the University’s current approach to evaluating the decision-making process of selecting and prioritizing projects for execution.

  1. Assessment & Evaluation

iSeek PMO Assessments consist of 11 key areas (below) of observation by which best practices can be measured. The key areas are garnered from decades of evidence-based study and hands-on experience conducted by educators and practitioners in the field. Successful PMOs who subscribe to the tenets within these key areas were used as benchmark data to compare the University’s level of maturity. Benchmark data is beneficial in revealing metrics by which a client can be graded and establish performance goals to be achieved. The following 11 key areas of a successful PMO were used in this assessment:

  • Strategy / Governance
  • Project Intake / Business Justification
  • Project Valuation / Scoring
  • Project Evaluation / Review
  • Project Prioritization / Selection
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Decisioning / Approval
  • Process Review / Continuous Improvement
  • Resource Alignment
  • Budget Alignment
  • Project Benefits Realization
  1. Recommendations

iSeek provided recommendations based on best practices and industry standards commensurate with similar institutions who experience high levels of project portfolio performance. Meaningful outcomes from recommendations included, but were not limited to:

  • A robust report that included Likert scale grading of the University’s IT PMO performance based on a Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) for Project Governance
  • A phased roll-out plan of simple, achievable, and quantifiable next steps, which were commensurate with the University’s environment allowing for “ease in effort” implementation of recommendations.


In working on a significant assessment of the University’s IT PMO Governance, it was incumbent upon GPMO to demonstrate a high degree of competency and capability that was equal or beyond the abilities of any larger and more recognizable firm. From a strategic perspective, GPMO has exceptional assets in project portfolio optimization and was capable of architecting and implementing solutions that addressed the University’s needs for automation expertise and unparalleled product knowledge of Smartsheet software. To assist in the best support for the University’s governance needs, GPMO engaged iSeek to provide qualified expertise.

iSeek provided a competitive advantage by offering best practice approaches in project governance for evaluating the process of decision-making, selecting and prioritizing projects at the University. iSeek provided trusted experts, reliable recommendations and “ease of effort” steps that could be adopted by the University. iSeek’s contribution was valuable and effective towards achieving a successful engagement outcome for the University.




Date published

April 29, 2023