modules the project teams initially adopted, the CoE was there with the artifacts, knowledge, and metrics that supported what was needed. As teams become more mature, the ALM tool and the CoE are there to grow with them. As a project teams mature, they can take on more of the CoE offerings. The project teams can measure new items, thereby generating improvement, and they can take on more complex use cases related to the ALM tool.
For those of you new to CoEs, know that it is a fairly straight-forward concept. I have found that project managers comprise the foundation of a CoE as they are instrumental in setting the tone for the eventual success of the CoE. The project manager leads the initial requirements gathering for the CoE. The project manager leads the creation of action items, milestones and schedules for the CoE building. The project manager also manages the financial date related to the CoE. All this items are critical when a new CoE is starting.
CoE is an “overloaded” and sometimes mysterious term. To help demystify the concept, consider CoEs to be highly customizable, relative to mission and budget. Both project management and professional services can be considered a typical CoE in that they can be customized and scoped to fit the project team’s goals and budget. A CoE usually has the following roles: a CoE project manager (CPM), a CoE delivery team, a project team project manager (PTPM), and a project team. The deliverables of a CoE are typically project plans, artifacts, education materials, best practices, and reports/metrics.
A CoE is formed and generally charter by the firm’s management, based on a project’s scope and mission. As an example, consider a tool rollout. As the CoE begins, the CoE project manager creates a CoE project plan. The CoE project manager coordinates and collaborates with the project manager of the client project team, and the CoE project manager identifies milestones and risks, along with a plan to manage the risks.
The CoE delivery team delivers the tool mentoring and training according to the CoE plan. On-going measurements are made of progress, and productivity. Often, follow ups occur to make sure the CoE member teams are experiencing improvement such as fewer defects, increased customer satisfaction, and/or increased quality. These measurements are regularly reported by the CoE project manager to the project team project manager. Risk mitigation, if any, is also reported to the project team project manager.
CoE artifacts are created by the CoE delivery team and stored in the designated repository. These artifacts are used by the adapting development teams. As the project progresses, the CoE project manager schedules the educational and other services to be delivered to the CoE adapters. During the regular project management reporting meetings, the CoE project manager, using a project management tool, or a spreadsheet, will identify the status of the milestones and the CoE project manager may flag milestones at risk with a red color and on-track milestones with a green color.
As the tool rollout nears completion, the CoE will transition to the client project team. Before any disengagements occur, the teams on both sides need to agree that the project, processes, and CoE client team has reached a satisfactory level of maturing. he project team project manager continues to measure and report on the team’s progress.
CoEs are superb entities for implementing process and tools of varying complexity. I see them as incubators for good business design, and methods for addressing the firm’s needs. When implementing for ALM CoE for the financial services firm, flexibility was a key requirement.