Project Management Case Studies

TD Bank N.A.’s Enterprise-Wide PMO Monitors Projects and Maintains Focus on Strategic Goals

TD Bank N.A.’s Enterprise-Wide PMO Monitors Projects and Maintains Focus on Strategic Goals

Learn how TD Bank N.A.’s enterprise-wide project management office (PMO) uses the principles of PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) to ensure the projects that it oversees are not just executed randomly and support organizational goals.


Business growth and corporate mergers always bring forth a high level of complexity for companies and project and program managers. And when it involves systems and infrastructure upgrades and developing and enhancing products for 1,300 locations, while attempting to remain compliant with the ever-increasing scrutiny of government regulators in the financial sector, these challenges—and the potential for project failure—increase exponentially. Over the past 10 years, TD Bank N.A. (TDBNA) has grown from a small regional bank to one of the top 10 largest banking and financial services companies in the United States. Rapid growth led to an increasing number of projects. The bank found that it needed governance over these activities in order to ensure successful execution. In order to manage a merger and privatization activities, TDBNA created an “implementation project management office” (IPMO). After seeing its projects run more smoothly and finish on time and on budget, the bank made the decision to transition the IPMO to an enterprise-wide PMO for all of TDBNA’s U.S. operations. This proved to be a successful undertaking and its development contains lessons on how project management can be used to help organizations meet their strategic goals in any industry— not just in the financial sector.


The portfolio supported by the TDBNA PMO since 2008 includes the wide variety of projects sponsored by various segment areas as well as the major regulatory efforts that impact the entire enterprise. This is no small feat, as the TDBNA PMO oversees all hardware, software and infrastructure upgrades for the bank’s 1,300 locations in 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The PMO also manages all enhancements to the bank’s existing products and development of new products, such as customized private banking, wealth management services and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services. Designed to give senior executives a holistic view of all the project initiatives throughout the entire company, the PMO acts much like an “air traffic controller” to the myriad projects that TDBNA is currently working on, says Ruth-Anne Guerrero, Sr. VP, Head of TDBNA Project Management Office. This process allows the C-suite to close the gap between strategy development and strategy implementation— which is a key factor in organizational success, according to the report Why Good Strategies Fail: Lessons for the C-suite, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by PMI.


Since its inception, the PMO has continually developed and changed to meet the increasing demands of the bank. A robust Project Management Life Cycle (PMLC) was developed and continually updated throughout the past few years. This also led to the development of an in-house Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and Requirements Management Life Cycle (RMLC). The PMLC provides a suggested structure for organizing project efforts into phases and also includes deliverable templates. These items can be tailored to meet individual project needs, while ensuring uniform governance processes will be followed as required. The technology areas follow a Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) that was developed in-house and compliments the PMLC. The use of these life cycles and the accompanying phases and deliverables provides a uniform framework and language that is consistent across all projects. The most recent addition to the family of life cycles is a Requirements Management Life Cycle (RMLC) that works in conjunction with the PMLC and SDLC, but provides guidance over all requirements-related project deliverables, including business and systems requirements, traceability matrices, use cases and test scripts. Rounding out the PMLC are the added disciplines of Business Process Mapping (BPM) and Organizational Change Management (OCM) . These all work together like gears in a machine to ensure that the projects take care to examine all aspects of their environments—and from a variety of perspectives—so that no area will be overlooked.


The PMLC framework is at the heart of this integrated approach. It is surrounded by Project Governance, which helps to ensure that the initiatives are strategically aligned to the bank’s investments and priorities. The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Requirements Management Life Cycle (RMLC), Organizational Change Management (OCM) and Business Process Mapping (BPM) disciplines are embedded and integrated within the PMLC, which allows the project teams to leverage the competencies from these disciplines throughout the lifecycle.

“Effective leadership, change, risk management, and communication are all critical components that enable project success. As well, standardization and best practices both provide the means to predict outcomes or scenarios that may require action or a response. The need for these attributes is emphasized when entering into the PMLC, as they will stimulate action, decisions, and paths forward,” says Ms. Guerrero.

She says that this integrated approach allows the PMO to work proactively when managing projects by leveraging the competencies of its individual members at the times they are needed.

“The level of transparency that is facilitated by this approach helps our teams and partners work in a synergized environment and truly perform as a single unit, comprised of multiple disciplines. This not only provides a more holistic view of our processes, but an understanding of how what we do—before we do it—will impact our customers,” says Ms. Guerrero.

Additionally, in 2011, the bank implemented the Clarity Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool across the entire TD enterprise to help facilitate and standardize portfolio, program and project reporting. This made reporting at the senior executive level a much easier and smoother process.

The tool collects descriptive information about the project, such as its description, executive sponsor, project manager, the phase it is in, status and health and financial information about the actual and forecasted budget. This requires that the project managers update the information on a regular basis and ensure that the information “makes sense”.

Besides handling product enhancement and development and IT projects, the PMO also ensures its products comply with strict recent government regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. “There is a great deal of scrutiny on financial institutions at this time from various regulatory agencies. As a result, it is very important that compliance, risk, audit and other key stakeholders be involved with projects from the very beginning to ensure that all impacts are appropriately anticipated and planned for,” says Ms. Guerrero.


The TDBNA PMO uses the principles of PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) to ensure the projects that it oversees are not just executed randomly, but also support business objectives. The PMO used OPM3® principles to create a prioritization framework that it uses to score projects according to multiple criteria which ensures that the project portfolio is accurately aligned to the business goals. The PMO team is intentionally lean, consisting of about a dozen people, which helps it stay focused on its strategic goals.


Despite the PMO’s success in the complex and fast-growing business of TDBNA, there remain some challenges. “We support a large number of diverse business areas that have project loads that vary in size and project management maturity. This requires diverse approaches to ensure that we meet the needs of these areas,” says Ms. Guerrero. Another challenge is that the projects themselves are very different from each other and have varying impacts. “Some projects have large regulatory and compliance implications, while others are needed to bring in revenue or lower expenses for the company,” says Ms. Guerrero. There is a prioritization framework that is used as a starting point to understand the relative importance of each project in the U.S. portfolio. However, this is just a guideline, and the members of the PIC committee can adjust the list of priorities to better match the business’ priorities. The PMO also continually strives to improve the performance of its projects and the skills of its project and program managers. To this end, it is currently exploring expansion of the available project management training curriculum. “In addition, as projects continue to increase in size and complexity, there is a greater emphasis on improving our business analysis and business acceptance testing capabilities,” says Ms. Guerrero.


The TDBNA PMO measures success by the value of the benefits delivered by the projects delivered. The budget for the fiscal year 2013 U.S. project portfolio was nearly US$300 million. For projects completed in 2013 or prior, there were US$122 million in benefits delivered in fiscal year 2013. That was a very positive accomplishment, especially considering that nearly one-third of the 2013 U.S. project portfolio budget supported large regulatory projects not intended to deliver any financial benefits. “Success is measured not only by meeting timeline and budget constraints, but also by ensuring that the anticipated project benefits are delivered,” says Ms. Guerrero. She also says that it’s important to learn from those things that worked, as well as things that did not. “If you can examine the results with a keen analytical perspective, you can gain insight into changes that you can make that will yield better results. Every organization is unique and there is no recipe book that you can use to guarantee a great result every time,” says Ms. Guerrero. Regardless of what initiatives the project teams are working on, the PMO ensures alignment with corporate strategy. “It is important to keep an enterprise perspective when managing your project to ensure that all impacted groups and persons are engaged and focused not only on your immediate project, but the overarching strategy and goals of the larger organization,” says Ms. Guerrero.

Posted on May 30, 2017