Success Stories

EPMO Framework and Methodology


Business Need

A health insurance provider had undertaken the efforts and initiatives associated with an enterprise-wide Transformation Office. As a natural progression of this undertaking, the company decided to operationalize the Transformation Office into an Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO). This entailed the augmentation of current Transformation Office resources with additional resources including Requirements Analysts, Process Engineers, and Project and Program Managers. The combination of all these resources required a common framework and methodology to which they would manage various business initiatives. The goal was to foster a more productive and effective EPMO by using common methods of operations. In addition, the company was looking to improve Business Unit (BU) and IT capabilities in the areas of project initiation and management and to ultimately drive reduced reliance on outside third-party vendors such as Optum.

The short-term need was to develop a framework and methodology for managing business initiatives with significant IT involvement. The framework needed to be flexible enough to accommodate various types of business initiatives, including:

  1. Business unit launch of new products and services
  2. Regulatory driven initiatives
  3. System modernization efforts
  4. Software development
  5. Third party package integration and implementations

The framework needed to be a ‘hybrid’ based on both Agile and Waterfall methodologies in order to accommodate software development, third party systems integration and, more importantly, to be easily understood by all the major stakeholders for a given initiative. Key to the successful implementation of this framework and methodology was that it needed to be developed in the context of the design of the new EPMO. This new group was tasked with identifying, qualifying, prioritizing, planning, resourcing and managing all the major business initiatives of the organization.

The framework and methodology initially needed to be rolled out to the EPMO group through a ‘train the trainer’ approach, combined with applying the new framework on current projects/initiatives in order to speed the learning and adoption process. Since this will be a new framework at the company, the Organizational Change Management (OCM) team needed to be used to help drive the change throughout the entire organization over time.

Services Provided

Resource Assessment – The intent of the assessment was to provide EPMO leadership information as it related to their existing staff. While meeting this intent it also provided the Core Catalysts team with insight as to which individuals may be best suited for further development into leaders and coaches. Each existing resource within the Transformation Office was assessed on two primary topics. First, they were assessed on their exposure and willingness to be exposed to project and program management methodologies. Second, the resources were assessed to determine their level of maturity with given, established methodologies. A list of approximately 60 questions were leveraged for this assessment. After each individual assessment was completed a score card was developed and provided to the EPMO leadership.

Framework – A framework was developed specifically for the client. Among other environmental factors and dependencies, we considered size, project type, and complexity. In addition, care was taken to leverage portions of existing processes from within the Transformation Office, as well as other departments, to facilitate rapid deployment and education to resources and business units.

Methodology – As with the framework, a methodology was developed specifically for the client. The same high-level process was leveraged in the development of this methodology during the development phase. This was coupled with proven methodologies from both the PMI 5 step model as well as Agile methodologies to produce a hybrid approach to project management.

Framework & Methodology Training – Upon completion of the framework and methodology development, care was taken to develop a full training cycle for individuals within the EPMO. The training was broken into a logical sequence, and then further decomposed into training sessions designed to limit overburdening participants with too much information at once. This training was delivered in a virtual environment, with steps taken to ensure that participants were understanding and absorbing the information provided in the individual sessions. This was done, in part, through recap/debrief sessions designed for the individual roles with the EPMO. This allowed the session moderators to evaluate each participant’s understanding and ability.

Ad-hoc Coaching & Mentoring – As training progressed, individuals would naturally have questions. The Core Catalysts resources used these questions as opportunities to coach and mentor the EPMO resources.

Value Provided

Core Catalysts was able to develop and customize an industry leading program and project management framework and methodology for the client and then deploy it within a 2-month period. This allowed the client to rapidly leverage a common way of undertaking, managing, and controlling projects that were either already in-flight or poised to commence within 1 month.

Additionally, providing the client with quantifiable insight into their resource capability maturity allowed them to position specific information for either leadership and/or coaching positions to further the operationalization of the EPMO framework and methodology.