The PMO, the Project Management Office. The team within an organization which is responsible for delivering projects. Imagine the responsibility and burden on the PMO leader. From my experience running several PMOs it goes a little like this.... You are in charge of delivering the most critical, strategic projects for the organization and you need to do it with limited resources and limited organizational span of control.
I've also found through working with many clients and talking with peers, that starting or improving a PMO should be done by simplifying the approach. Simplify to get early wins, and then start to expand influence within your organization as you build trust through successful delivery.
Our approach follows the P - M - O process;
Setting up a Project Management Office (PMO) can appear to be daunting. And let’s not kid anyone. It is. It actually is. It requires careful planning, deliberate relationship building, flawless execution and continuous improvement. Throw in a mix of doubters, “we’re not going to change”-ers, and differing demands, it makes the situation even more challenging.
At the start of the new year Project Management leaders should take some time to be sure the organization is focused on delivering successful projects in 2018. But how do you do that? What are some of the key steps which need to be taken to give you the best chance for success?
Here are my top 3 areas you should be focused on:
I am often asked, "Why do we need a PMO?" Regardless of industry the question is the same. If we have Project Managers then why do we need a PMO. I guess thats a fair question and it allows me to ask a few follow up questions to get a good dialogue started.
I'll ask my clients if they have an Accounting Department - Yes.
Do you have an Accounts Payable team/resources - Yes.
Do you have a set process for how you pay your vendors - Yes. See where this is going??
Some common problems we see across organizations are:
1) Not knowing which projects to work
2) Not enough resources to work projects and sustaining work
3) Not enough funding to work the projects leadership has requested
Sound familiar? Most likely, your organization doesn't have a mature Project Portfolio Management process in place. Many organizations hire some Project Managers, maybe even a Manager or Director to run a PMO (Project Management Office), but the required processes are missing. A failed or missing Project Portfolio Management process is a major contributor to the death of the PMO.
It's time for a change in how we approach the PMO in Corporate America. In another post I commented on Why we need a PMO, and now I'll discuss why the PMO we need is drastically different than the one we are used to.
Year after year we see the results of professional studies indicating PMOs fail with a lifespan lasting only 2-3 years. We also see that projects fail to meet objectives 40%-60% of the time. For those of us who have been in this space for awhile we aren't surprised by these results. Heck, I've lived the life of a PMO Director caught up in the PMO revolving door.
So what are we doing about it? From my perspective we really aren't doing too much. The industry events I attend and colleagues I talk with all seem to be doing what we've always done. Except, This time we're going to do it better. This time the company is going to get it. This time my client will be more receptive. Hogwash, I say!!