Don’t think of an elephant. Now you’re thinking of an elephant, whether or not you wanted to. Just like that, I’ve taken you out of the train of thought you were on. Distractions like that exist all around us, but a good plan for what you’re working on lets you refocus easily. These days, everything needs to be written down, or it just isn’t going to happen. It if isn’t on my Google Calendar, I’m not going to show up. The small hiccups grow into large problems, like butterflies flapping their wings in the forest, and this is why optimizing project management with a PMO is key to running a business.
You can’t rely on endless emails asking, “did you get that thing done?” There’s a need for structure, collaboration, and leadership that reaches across teams and brings them together. In the digital age, PMOs are incredibly powerful tools for your business to drive improved efficiency, communication, resource allocation, and program structure and to drive adoption of standard processes.
We are seeing our clients implement PMOs and other Centers of Excellence (COE) across the organization beyond IT into HR, Finance, and Product Development, embracing Agile, in order to evolve to be flexible and able to help business pivot faster to changing market conditions.
Ready to get your projects done? Here are the top 5 reasons a PMO is the first thing you need.
- Program Governance: Sharing an approach helps with teamwork and collaboration. Project management processes literally define collaboration with a set of expectations and common vocabulary for talking about projects. Projects managers will always be coming from a range of backgrounds, so program structure outlines how they work within the project teams you’ve set up at your company. PMOs can be set up with a variety of different structures to meet the size of your company and the complexity of the projects managed.
- Program and Portfolio Management: Project, program and portfolio management can be confusing for many teams. A PMO will help in managing the bigger picture to ensure all projects regardless if stand-alone or within a program have proper oversite. By reviewing the portfolio on a regular cadence, resources and budget can be managed across all projects and risks can be identified more readily.
- Defining roles and responsibilities: As your business grows or goes through changes, there is a tendency for everyone to pick up the slack and chip in wherever they are needed. As an established company, however, you need greater structure around how your project roles are defined and designed to support each other. A PMO defines the roles of the people working in it so everyone is assigned the projects that best fit their experience and expertise. When you’ve achieved this, the key differences are that everyone knows who has responsibility for what and who to assign tasks based on their identified strengths. You get the most out of your project teams because responsibilities are clear and decisions are made at the appropriate level in the organization.From a people perspective, PMOs create unity. A good PMO takes the best skills and knowledge of every single person working in it and combines them into a unified strategy. When we start a PMO creation project for one of our clients, one of the first steps is to talk to all the stakeholders and understand how they approach to project management, what tools they like to use, and what strategies have worked for them in the past. Our plans and recommendations are always informed by the input we receive from our stakeholders.
- Standardized templates: Yes, there is more to a PMO than standardization, but templates and tools make all the difference when your objective is to run a project smoothly and efficiently. Flexible templates save the project team time and energy by not recreating the wheel each time; templates need to be easy to complete, easy to read, and easy to reference. You won’t misplace information or have that awful realization near the end of the project that you forgot an important step or precaution. You’ll know you tagged all your bases.
- A cohesive and consistent approach: When you have multiple projects running at the same time, they can often feel disconnected, even if the team is working towards the same objectives. A PMO keeps your project managers on the same page simply by creating a structure for them to follow and ensure projects are staffed correctly. No two people end up working on the same thing independently and nothing falls through the cracks. Onboarding new people becomes a much quicker process, as well, because there is less guesswork. Instead, there is a set of skills you know they need to learn and you can train them deliberately.
PMOs ensure that the job gets done. If your business has ever-changing strategies for planning and executing projects, your projects are not getting done as quickly or completely as you would like, because the teams have to learn new processes while trying to make progress on the project. One of the first things you will notice when your PMO is created is that your teams respond to the newfound consistency and get more done.
Talk to an expert at Future State about creating a PMO at your company by filling out the form at the very bottom of this page and subscribe to our newsletter for more insight on the future of business.