In order to secure continued funding and to reach more project teams and functional areas, your COE will need to successfully endorse itself to the greater organization.
The easiest way to market a COE is with measured results, and thankfully, much of the COE’s benefit can be measured. It is best that the COE itself be in charge of tracking and measuring, rather than individual project teams. Leaving metrics in the hands of individual teams runs the risk of it either not getting done or not having consistency in how metrics are measured and reported. The COE should establish consistent KPIs from one project to the next that will clearly communicate progress toward the organization’s larger goals. It is vital that the COE plan in advance how they will measure the success of individual projects so that it is easy to configure KPIs and collect data throughout the projects’ lifecycles.
KPIs should follow the SMART paradigm, meaning they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Below are some sample KPIs that can be used to measure the success of your COE strategy:
- Process reuse rate
- Number of projects deployed
- Number of releases deployed
- Development costs per process set
- Per process ROI or time to break even
- Post-assessment health check score of projects
- Bug / defect rate
- Average bug / defect resolution time
- Number of opportunities in the pipeline
- Solution uptime/availability
- Solution responsiveness
- Delivery on time
- Delivery on budget
When benefits aren’t as easily quantifiable in financial terms, you’ll need to find other ways to capture the COE’s value. Word of mouth is a valuable form of marketing when overly satisfied project teams share their COE experience with other groups; however, results aren’t always immediately apparent and you won’t want to waste time waiting for a review to filter through the company. You should and, most likely, need to actively promote the COE, at least its early stages.
After each project retrospective, ask project team members to complete a survey on their experience working with the COE. You’ll be able to compute an NPS (Net Promoter Score), which you can track over time. Another simple way to promote the COE could be to create an internal website that explains your vision statement, methodology, short term goals, and long term goals for the COE and the organization.
Your first few projects are extremely important, so do all that you can to exceed expectations (and have the data to support it). Communicating your value will create demand; if you can establish a strong track record, you can use that to drive your roadmap. Overtime you will notice that what people fear almost as much as change is being left behind. That being said, you’ll need to plan well in advance for increasing demand to ensure that, when the time comes, you have the capacity to take on the work.