Organizations can enjoy a high level of project success through the establishment of a Project Management Office (PMO), which can be viewed as a center of excellence within the organization. The primary purpose of a PMO is to establish a governance structure for the delivery of projects that focuses on quality, efficiency and best practices.
PMOs can differ greatly from one organization to another, but key traits they all have in common are a strong foundation and a structured frame work.
The PMO establishes processes that help to ensure a standard approach is taken with projects across the enterprise so they are run in a repeatable, standardized way. They define and maintain standards and guidelines that enable repetition, and they provide tools and templates that streamline the overall project management process. They also provide guidance to project managers, and metrics-based reporting to executive management. A good PMO utilizes its structure and skills to influence and drive the evolution of thought for continuous project improvement.
Goals of a Mature PMO
A truly effective PMO will strive to align project and program work to corporate strategy across the enterprise; it will ensure greater efficiency and will significantly improve project success rates. It is highly important that when introducing a PMO into an organization it is done in a manner that will balance the existing structure of the organization.
An established PMO structure facilitates project execution and aligns project expectations among project constituents. The governance structure and framework enable effective management and oversight of key deliverables that impact project success and the bottom line.
• Reduction of failed projects •Delivery of projects under budget •Improved productivity •Delivery of projects ahead of schedule •Increased cost savings
A Mature PMO Provides
Governance. The PMO ensures that decisions are taken by the right people, based on the right information. The governance role can also include audits or peer reviews, developing project and program structures and ensuring accountability at all levels.
Transparency. The PMO is responsible for providing information and being the single source of the truth. Information should be relevant and accurate to support effective decision-making and be provided to people in a way they can understand.
Reusability. The PMO facilitates the sharing of knowledge. This stops project teams from reinventing the wheel and makes the PMO the central point for lessons learned, templates and best practices.
Delivery Support. The PMO makes it easy for project teams to do their jobs by reducing bureaucracy, providing training, coaching, mentoring and quality assurance.
Traceability. The PMO provides a centralized approach for managing documentation, project history and organizational knowledge.
ATIBA’s PMO framework is based on PMBOK but can adjusted to follow other industry accepted guidelines such as Prince2, IEEE, ISO9001 or COSO. Our PMO framework includes tools, templates, procedures and processes that can be utilized from initial inception through project closure. The PMBOK process groups provide the foundation for the PMO framework.
Initiation. Defines a new project and obtains authorization to start the project. At this point the project charter is developed and stakeholders are identified.
Planning. Creation of project documents that will enable project delivery, including the project management plan (PMP) and required component plans such as your scope, risk, schedule, cost, quality, HR, communication, procurement and stakeholder management plans.
Execution. The project manager directs and manages the project team to perform tasks and activities necessary to complete the work defined, satisfy project deliverables and stakeholder expectations.
Monitoring and Controlling. Processes required to track, review and orchestrate the progress and performance of the project, identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required, and initiate the corresponding changes. Scope is validated and controlled, quality, communications, risks, procurement and stakeholder engagement are controlled, and project plans are ‘tweaked’ based on work performance.
Closure. Consists of the processes necessary to conclude project activities to formally complete the project or contractual obligations.
The PMO is the backbone of a successful project management approach at an organization. To be truly effective it must reflect the organizational culture and strategy, it must be flexible, and it must be successfully integrated into the organization. Otherwise, it will risk being dismissed as an ineffective, burdensome, and unnecessary layer of corporate bureaucracy.
A top differentiator of PMOs is how well they are embedded within an organization; several factors impact that level of integration:
Collaboration: The PMO should build strong relationships between the project professionals, technical teams and functional business departments and encourage collaboration.
Mission: The mission of the PMO should be documented and well understood by all stakeholders.
Management Support: An executive champion who will communicate the PMO mission and who will work to gain engagement from stakeholders.
Data Analytics and Reporting
Having an accurate picture of the status of a project is critical to the ability of a project manager to effectively control a project; the ability to take proactive actions to identify and mitigate risk may well be a determining factor of project failure or success.
A knowledgeable PMO team recognizes the benefit of project metrics to communicate program and project progress; they will work with individual project managers to establish status dashboards for each project, rolling them up to a program view for the executive management team.
Due to the importance of data analytics, mature PMOs frequently have a dedicated metrics analyst on the PMO team to facilitate effective reporting. Of equal importance is the need to report on PMO successes that measure the value that is added by the PMO itself.
Agility and Continuous Improvement
To maximize the value of a PMO, it must be agile; it must be willing to adapt and evolve. Continuous improvement aids in building a strong foundation and being flexible with process enables scalability.
Not all projects are created equal; some require adherence to process, others require agility and a process that can adapted and monitored with acceptable levels of checks and balances.
A PMO’s development is never done; it must continue to mature, grow and evolve to deliver value to organizations. There should be periodic heath checks to ensure ongoing strength and value and improvements should be made in areas that are identified as being pain points or areas of deficiency.
ATIBA’s PMO Consulting Services
The PMO should be viewed as a strategic business partner; it exists to serve the needs of the organization. It will challenge strategy, have the difficult conversations and champion approaches that lead to greater results. With an effective and supportive PMO, your organization can reach your goals more quickly, and deliver your strategy with more certainty in the outcome. If you’re serious about delivering change, you should get serious about making your PMO the best it can be.
ATIBA will help you create the right PMO for your organization or help you optimize your existing PMO to obtain more value and reap greater results. Our Project Management consulting services include leading or assisting you in implementing best practices to drive more consistency and transparency with project management. Our services include:
• Supplemental PMO Team Resources: We will provide an experienced PMO specialist to lead your PMO to greater success or supplement your PMO team with professionals who will focus on areas such as metrics reporting, change management, risk management, or budget management, to name a few.
•Project Management Methodology Development and Standardization: We will help you develop or enhance the right approach for your project while adhering to industry standards (i.e. PMBOK) for project execution.
• Project Management Office (PMO) Optimization: We will help you create a PMO that will be effective for your organization or enhance the capabilities of your PMO to enable you to get more value and results from your existing PMO.
Contact ATIBA if you would like assistance implementing, enhancing, or assessing your PMO!