Run Your PMO Like a Business
I’ve spoken before about how a great PMO can help grow a business, and many lessons from project management can be applied to the organization. But PMOs can also learn much from the businesses they serve. Lessons like:
Be a Responsible Employer
Your name might not be on the sign outside, but you are just as responsible for your team’s performance and welfare as the CEO is for the company’s. If there are other PMOs in the organization, just think of yourselves as sister companies with the same goals, loyalties, and rivalries.
Earn More than You Spend
Your project is your product, and you have to balance cost and revenue just as the company controller does. Not only that, but you also have to bill the client and ensure that he is happy with (or at least understands) the billing statement that he receives. Poorly managed projects generally have astronomical costs, usually spent on extra hours dealing with mistakes or scope creep.
Plan for the Future
If you want your PMO to thrive and grow, you need to think beyond the day to day management of projects. Improve your team’s skills and find potential leaders to groom. This fleshes out your team and gives you a deeper bench to work with. Who knows—the next replacement you need to look for is your own.
Emphasize Customer Service
All businesses need to please their customers, even PMOs. Don’t think you’re indispensible just because you’re the internal PMO team. Many businesses have outsourced projects to external vendors when they think their own internal teams can’t hack it.
Your role as the PMO is not just to keep the stakeholders happy, but also to bring value to the organization. Sometimes that means knowing the difference between what the stakeholders want versus what they actually need. And when the two collide, well, you’ve got to set them straight.
What other business lessons can be applied to project management? Share them in the comments below!
Image credit, Flickr, rawky19
Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.