I’ve been speaking to some clients lately regarding their Project Management approach and structure. Some of the organisations I’ve been speaking to, don’t have a PMO and say they don’t need a PMO (or Project Management Office).

My response is ‘have you ever had one?’. They say ‘No’. So then I say ‘how do you know you don’t need a PMO?’. The list of reasons of why they ‘THINK’ they don’t need a PMO begins rolling off their tongue. Now if you haven’t had something before, how could you know you don’t need it… (there are few exceptions when it may be true but very few). In many instances the complete opposite is true.

What is a PMO?

The Project Management Office (PMO) was originally conceived as a means of capturing and disseminating good project management practices throughout an organisation. Any organisation running projects, would want their projects to deliver on time and on budget and to do this would need good project management practices in place, this is the PMO’s role to establish.

Size Matters!

Although organisations need to tread carefully when establishing a PMO, because just like building a house, takes experts and a solid foundation to begin as do successful PMOs. How a PMO is structured within your organisation, the support it may receive and the tools can make or break how effective it can be. Choosing and implementing the proper PMO is very important for your business. This is where ‘SIZE’ matters!

I want to wait, not ready to develop a PMO….

Now some of the people I’ve spoken to who say ‘they don’t need a PMO now’…. I say to them, if not now while running projects then when? Do you really want to wait until you have several dozen PMs all running Projects their own way with their own reporting, own take on the methodologies, own financials management and so on…? Then it will be more of a ‘rescue’ PMO scenario as opposed to building one from the onset where you have time to set the foundations properly. It’s like trying to modify the wrong size windows that were put in after the walls have been cut already.

Now let me explain the top 5 reasons why you need a PMO:

1.      PMOs help set standards and introduce stability in projects despite a number of changing variables and then help to govern them.

2.      PMOs help to guide project managers so they understand the strategic importance of decisions taken by the organisation and play an active role to improve performance and profits.

3.      The PMO can significantly improve productivity and actually REDUCE delivery costs by helping to streamline project timelines

4.      A PMO can help provide an unbiased view of the projects, a funnel of project prioritisation, and central view across a number of projects consistently.

5.      PMOs can help to uplift capability and support project learnings across an organisation time and time again.

According to a recent white paper published by Dr. Brian Hobbs of University of Quebec, “PMO is an integral part of an organisation’s project management structure and are linked to multiple activities at a single point of time. These PMO have low number of resources who are experts in their field and can manage multiple projects and are elite groups with limited decision making responsibilities”.

Are all PMOs created equal?

Every PMO service offering will vary from organisation to organisation and when establishing a Greenfield PMO, it’s important to also establish the goals of the organisation, the resources available, the regular outputs required and how much support the PMO is to provide.

Think of the PMO as the beating heart, it’s increasingly becoming a vital function of the business and increasingly becoming more responsible for managing and monitoring people, time, money and effort applied to projects. It’s constantly evolving and looking for ways to improve productivity and reduce costs.

What is a Greenfield PMO?

In the corporate environment when a business is looking to implement a PMO where there is no function similar in existence, its considered ‘Greenfield’. Greenfield because there is little to no practices in place presently, often no systems existing and no Enterprise Portfolio Management tools in place already. A Greenfield PMO brings with it many risks because of the lack of infrastructure, customers and tools etc. Click herefor more information on Greenfield PMOs.

So maybe I really do need a PMO…

Yes, you do! In summary you really do need a PMO if you are running projects in your organisation. The type, size and services of the PMO will vary company to company. This is something that is established at the onset by PMO experts, and then a plan is developed to help implement the PMO service offering, so that your PMO delivers value.

It’s far more effective to set up a PMO at the onset so your projects are run more efficiently, in line with budget and timelines, rather than waiting until you have many projects and project managers and then it will be harder to implement the change or reverse any formed habits.

Now remember…

Projects are far more effective with a PMO in place as it provides the unbiased view of the project, a funnel of project prioritisation, centrally managed funding and resources as well as clear, timely reporting.

A successful PMO can make a major contribution to better project outcomes and decision making for your organisation.

“Isn’t it time your organisation considered implementing a PMO?”