The Project Management Office (PMO) is often one of the most underrated functions when it comes to project delivery. There is a common misconception that PMO teams create additional and unnecessary overhead through a never-ending governance framework.
However, a PMO function can be critical for the successful delivery of projects as well as ensuring consistent management and leadership across complex portfolios of change. Below we explore why PMO can be a key element in delivering successful transformation.
1. PMO and Business Alignment
Effective governance is not about policing if and when certain documents are completed. Instead, project governance should be tailored and implemented to provide project teams with the best possible chance to deliver desired outcomes. The focus should be on the business benefits.
To achieve this, when a project is given the green light, the PMO will have been briefed and aligned with the business and its requirements. The PMO will consider the amount of governance projects require and what best supports the initiative moving forward.
By aligning the PMO with planned business objectives, this allows senior stakeholders to focus on continuing to drive business objectives and trust that effective and appropriate governance is in place to give projects the best chance of success.
2. Takes on Responsibilities from the Project Team
A strong PMO can use its expertise and network to provide support to a project team. This allows other team members to focus on the delivery of the project, as well as effectively managing risks and issues, or any possible opportunities that the organisation may be able to take advantage of.
A great example of this is working with the Project Manager to produce weekly and monthly status reports. If your PMO can support in maintaining action logs risk and issues, as well as the dependencies on behalf of the project, when it comes the time to produce commentary, the information is in hand and updated for the Project Manager or other team members to use.
Allowing the project team to hone in on their deliverables is going to lead to a more successful delivery, and therefore a greater chance of achieving those desired business objectives that were outlined in the project’s business case.
3. Scaling PMO to suit the transformation
Your approach to PMO should not be one-size-fits-all, and instead ought to be tailored to the size of the project. For example, a small implementation may only require a PMO Lead or an Analyst. A large-scale business transformation, however, is likely to consist of a team, with each member being an expert in their given field.
The importance of scaling a correctly sized PMO is important for the entire portfolio – it means that other resources are freed up to support initiatives elsewhere that have demand. Even a small team can prove highly effective when the competence of the team members is at such a high level. Ultimately, it supports the organisation and gives the best possible chance of having the right resources at the right time, and part of the right team to support delivery transformation.
4. Provides Transparency and Understanding
The responsibilities of a PMO cover many areas of a project, from managing risks and issues, dependency management, project planning, to name a few.
Having a PMO function operating at a Portfolio level allows for all project risks or dependencies (internal or external) to be managed more holistically. Constraints against multiples projects such as resourcing, technical or architectural challenges can be pulled out as themes and presented to leadership.
This allows decision-makers to much clearer on the impact across a portfolio on the impact of certain challenges and they can help remove these blockers. It also saves project managers time in trying to manage significant issues that are beyond the scope of there project. Ultimately, it drives conversations and decisions that are going to allow better long-term resolutions rather than short-term fixes.
5. Benefits Realisation
This is something that is often overlooked. Once a project has gone live, we should be checking in with our customers and measuring the success of our delivery.
PMO can support this by reaching out to stakeholders a period of time post-delivery to understand whether the stated outcomes have been met. Not only does this give us a better picture of whether a project has been successful, but it also allows us to learn lessons to implement in future initiatives. It could inform a range of factors such as delivery approach, picking solutions or even how business outcomes are developed or measured. By managing this centrally through your PMO function, you can continually add value by sharing this information through your whole portfolio of change.
If you are interested in finding out more about r10’s PMO capabilities and how we have helped our clients in the past, get in touch.