Sometimes a PMO can feel like an assembly line. Begin a project, put it through its phases and paces, and then turn it loose. Then comes the next project and the whole process begins again, with only minor variations.
But really, PMOs are just as valuable to an organization as any other department—but only if they’re leveraged properly. With the right kind of management, a well-run PMO can:
1. Deliver Business-Critical Projects
You might go “of course”, and you’d be right. This is why PMOs were created, after all. But as with everything else related to project management, it’s not as simple as it sounds. There are many factors for a project to be considered a success. Timeliness, budget, and attained goals are just the biggest three.
PMOs that can consistently deliver are worth their weight in platinum, and, in these highly competitive times, have the potential to change their organization’s fortunes in one fell swoop.
2. Align Project Portfolio with Organizational Goals
An effective PMO understands the overall strategic goal, and will organize the project portfolio to bring these goals to fruition—all while balancing the most urgent projects with the most important. It is important for the PMO to be in close communication with management in order to keep the goals and portfolio in sync.
With the right kind of authority and trust, PMOs can even recommend projects for inclusion into the portfolio, or see opportunities to link two separate projects together for greater effect.
3. Training and Support
PMOs have access to a lot of specialized knowledge, whether it is the workings of a particular project, or the technology behind it. But this knowledge doesn’t need to be limited to the project team.
With the right kind of program, PMOs can pass on some of their knowledge and create project “champions” (to borrow a term from Salesforce) that can assist other employees and promote understanding of the PMO’s value in the organization. Not only will this lessen the burden on the PMO that provides support, but it also gives the trained employees a wider skill base.
4. Early Warning System
PMOs are in an excellent position to forecast the success of an organizational strategy, just by the progress of the projects that are currently in the pipe. Any project delays will mean a possible change in strategy, and the earlier the PMO can predict this and update management, the faster that they’ll be able to create more realistic goals.
One thing all four ways have in common is that they all need strong management support to pull it off. The PMO needs to be given the resources and—most importantly—trust to do what is needed with as little bureaucratic red tape as possible.
Image credit, Flickr, CIMMYT