Do you have a poor performing PMO?

How can you know if your organisation could be achieving more and if the reason for its stagnation is the PMO causing lag? Below we’ve listed 6 key symptoms of a poor performing PMO.

1. You don’t have a clear understanding of your PMO type

Ok, so you’re starting a new PMO, perhaps it’s the first time the organisation is having a PMO or maybe it’s another Program PMO or even a Portfolio PMO. Whichever PMO type it is, you need to define this quickly and be clear on its purpose. You need to think long and hard about the type of PMO you are establishing and ensure it has a clear, well defined and understood vision.

There are various types of PMOs that exist, which one are you setting up? Whoever is sponsoring the PMO should have decided this before engaging a PMO manager as no two PMO managers are alike. Some PMO managers have specific experience managing Program level PMOs whereas others are experienced at the Enterprise PMO level.

A PMO just like any department or project needs to have a clear scope and vision. It needs to be well understood by stakeholders and you need to have buy in from those stakeholders also.

Unfortunately, many PMOs are set up without a clear vision on what type of PMO its going to be, this causes confusion and chaos for the organisation and the projects its supposed to support.

2. You don’t understand the scope and purpose of the projects you support

A PMO is created to support, govern, enhance and uplift Projects and Programs within an organisation. Not understanding what these Projects and Programs are delivering will make it far more difficult to support, govern or manage any aspects directly impacting these Projects and Programs, thus creating a poor performing PMO.

Often PMOs are so caught up in their own PMO bubble, they may not take the time (or interest) in understanding more about the Projects within their Program or Portfolio. If you don’t understand what the Projects are delivering, how can you be sure that the support your providing is adequate and that the information your receiving is accurate?

3. Ypu’re trying to put a square peg in a round hole

How many times does a new PMO manager start their role and automatically try to disband whatever the previous PMO managers put in place without taking the time to review it to see if it’s useful and to assess whether it will impact the current teams?

Sometimes taking what you’ve done in a previous role, for example a departmental PMO in Banking, is not going to necessarily be the same in an Enterprise PMO in the Transport industry. There are different regulations, processes, resources, functions and so much more. Its imperative to seek to understand the current landscape before trying to change it.

A well rounded PMO manager, experienced across industries will take the best of each industry and apply it to the situation based on the current requirements.

4.  You’re rigid and refuse to change or adapt

On the other hand, there are PMOs and PMO managers who are old fashioned in their thinking, they believe their way is the best way and refuse to change.

‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years, this is the best way to do it’

Sometimes this rigidity can cause a PMO to become stale, unhelpful or obsolete. These PMOs often don’t ask whether what they are doing is useful or request any feedback at all because they believe ‘their way is the best way’.

They don’t take the time to invest in new ways of thinking, are locked into certain processes and tools and are not open to new, fresh ideas often brought in by new PMO recruits or Project Managers.

5. You create processes for processes’ sake

How many times do you find a new PMO start up and suddenly, the PMs are bombarded with new processes for this and new processes for that. The processes seem to be flying in from every direction and if your unlucky, they are very likely duplicate processes because no one took the time to review what’s there before creating new ones.

One of the biggest challenges in organisations is the continuous rework and duplication of PMO processes, take bigger organisations that have multiple PMOs across Programs, Projects, Departments and Enterprise wide. How many of these PMOs have a ‘Resource Management’ process or a ‘Reporting’ process and how many of them have ‘their way’ of doing ‘Project Finances’……?

‘So many processes, for process sake’

It’s amazing how many processes can be reduced, removed or improved after a few weeks working with clients. Often, they are completely unaware of the processes that are draining the energy and time from their Projects and PMOs.

6. You create reports that never get read or used

Another fun one. How many reports does it take to report the ‘status’ of a Project? One organisation I worked for had over fifty reports being created and distributed across the Program each month. The reports varied by business, technology, project manager, PMO, Program Director, Division and Enterprise level. 80% of the reports contained the same information in a different way, or with a different template.

Of those fifty reports, at least 75% weren’t read, these reports were being created for reporting sake! Seriously next time you create a report, ask the receivers some questions about the report and you’ll be surprised how many don’t read them. I mean these reports were create for one large international program, imagine how many programs and projects each executive is across, imagine the number of reports they’d be receiving?

‘Don’t create reports for reporting sake. Don’t agree to receive a report if you won’t read it’

Isn’t it time you took a long hard look at the PMOs in your organisation to see whether some of these issues apply to you?

Would you like to see a way to resolve most of these with a fresh, new concept in PMO? You can read more about a new concept in PMO – The AMO Method HERE.

To learn more, you can also find out how to uplift the PMO by adding Agile principles to it as discussed in this Agile Ideas podcast episode!