A Project Management Office (PMO) is a department within your business that helps to define and maintain the standards for how your projects are handled. It is their job to make sure that your projects are successful, and that the procedures used in those successful projects become the standard operating procedure for any future undertakings. While the initial cost of creating a PMO may appear to be high – consider the benefits of creating one for your business or organisation before you write the idea off entirely!
The Perks of a PMO
A project management office, once established, is a dedicated space where your projects come to life and are cared for. Successful PMO’s will help to provide a clear vision and forge and maintain links between the different teams involved in a project. They also establish and maintain common standards and best practice for your future projects
A PMO can also help to create a reporting system that is consistent – this ensures that everyone with a hand in the project is able to communicate effectively to avoid extra work and crossed wires. The PMO can also serve as a hub for all the relevant information for the project, so that anyone who needs to know something has a point of contact that can help them right away.
They Get People Thinking and Performing
A PMO can really help get your staffs’ creativity and lateral thinking flowing. Brainstorming sessions can help to solve sticky problems and situations that you may not be able to think of yourself. Two heads can be better than one and a whole office worth of heads is worth its weight in gold!
The definition of the organisation’s project management framework and the provision of standardised templates can save your project managers countless hours recreating the wheel, and also deliver efficiencies for programs, portfolios, steering committee’s and the Board when evaluating projects on a like for like basis.
A PMO, when well oiled and run, can also create a dynamic high performing environment that will drive project success, business strategy, growth and profit.
PMO’s Need a Benchmark
To maximise the benefit from your PMO, they need clearly defined priorities and a sound operating model. The development of an achievable and well-defined roadmap for the PMO will drive the success of both the office and all projects in the broader organisation.
Your PMO staff need to know exactly what you want them to do and how they should do it. They need to be able to: manage and mentor any staff involved in projects to address skill gaps and avoid project risks being realised; educate about and facilitate project best practice; monitor budgets to avoid blow outs; escalate issues for management oversight; focus on the inclusion of relevant stakeholders in projects; stress the importance of customer needs; whilst continually ensuring that projects align with the broader business strategy. That’s a lot of key benefits to all projects from one office – potentially a very smart investment if developed, led and managed well.
PMO and HR Management
The human resources aspect of project management is incredibly important.
Any successful PMO needs to actively build and develop relationships with stakeholders on every level, from executive sponsorship right down to team building. Team achievements also need to be recognised and rewarded. This helps to keep your staff happy and maintain and drive their productivity. After all, they work for you in the interests of your business and want to feel part of something bigger.
PMO and ROI
Although a PMO might cost a bit a to get going, especially if you need to hire additional staff and rent extra office space, having a dedicated team of staff whose job is to ensure that your projects run smoothly and efficiently in line with your vision is going to be well worth the investment.