Does your Company Need a Project Management Office (PMO)?

Make sure a project delivers quality output, on time

Written by Ian R.

8 months ago

It’s a trend that has been growing over the last few years – more and more organizations are opening offices dedicated to specific projects with the intent of increasing efficiency and ensuring overall success. After all, it’s not uncommon that projects do fail, hitting serious obstacles such as budget exhaustion, missed targets, and resulting in disappointing end products.

It’s no wonder companies are searching for a way to improve on the performance of project work. The reasons behind project failures are many, but they’re all linked to a central cause – projects can really stretch an organization’s resources. That means that planning becomes crucial, and this is where projects often fall through the cracks.

One solution is to form a dedicated office to specifically handle projects i.e. a Project Management Office. A PMO is essentially a team responsible for all aspects of project management across a company’s activities. The PMO team monitors progress, sets standards and good practices, coaches, and continually guides projects so that they stay their course and eventually hit their goals.

In other words, the PMO is there to make sure a project delivers quality output, on time.

The focus of a PMO’s activity is strategic, making sure that an organization’s resources are in line with business targets. This isn’t just theory. According to the Project Management Institute, companies that used a PMO synced to their business strategies had 38% more of their projects succeed in hitting the original targets.

There are 3 basic types of PMO. Each has its own level of influence and control…

Supportive PMOs – provide knowledge and guidance upon request, including information about other projects, technical support, and training. This PMO has a low level of control and is well suited to companies that are doing well with projects overall, but could use a central data point.

Controlling PMOs – provide a standard structure for project work. This structure undergoes changes and improvements according to research and methodology. As the name suggests, this PMO will suit companies that are looking for at least a moderate level of control over projects.

Directive PMOs – are responsible for managing the project directly. They continually provide resources, support, and modify the course of action. This type of PMO is most suited to large enterprises where teams are in need of a high level of technical support.

So, does your enterprise need a PMO? Here are some telltale signs that it might…

  • Projects often miss their deadlines or burn up their budgets early
  • The number and scale of projects being worked on leads to a high number of external contractors
  • The scale of projects often fluctuates greatly throughout the process
  • There’s a need for a dedicated communication hub so that management and clients can be updated directly
  • Project leaders are currently responsible for metrics and reports covering all projects
  • Teams operate in a secluded fashion without sharing information or support

It’s no surprise that in this fast-paced digital age, PMOs are constantly evolving too. This will be especially true when AI begins to take on a bigger role with this type of function. Until that happens, a well-implemented PMO could be exactly what your company needs.

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