Basics of PMO Setup

According to the Project Management Institute; ‘the project management office (PMO) is easing its way into the mainstream. Yet to be truly effective, PMOs must reflect the organisational culture and strategy—or risk being dismissed as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.’

Those within the profession see a clear ROI and are increasingly implementing PMOs. The State of the PMO 2014 survey of PMO leaders and other project professionals found that 84 percent of organisations currently have one—a jump of 36 percent from 2000.

Companies that have made the leap are reaping benefits. Organisations with a PMO report significantly more projects coming in on time, on budget and meeting intended goals and business intent compared to those without a PMO, according to PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession Survey.  The State of the PMO 2013 says PMOs help:

  • Reduce failed projects
  • Deliver projects under budget
  • Improve productivity
  • Deliver projects ahead of schedule
  • Increase cost savings

“Not taking advantage of PMO value can be an expensive way to operate,” says Michael Cooch, director of global portfolio and program management propositions, PricewaterhouseCoopers, London, England.

And that view is expanding beyond the project management community. “It is not just the PMO practitioners that are talking about PMOs—it is everyone seeing that there is something there,” Mr Cooch explains. Unfortunately, not everyone is clear on the benefits: In The Global State of the PMO: Its Value, Effectiveness and Role as the Hub of Training, 60 percent of respondents reported that the value of their PMO had been questioned.

So what would be the basic principles to found a PMO on? We believe the PMO must:

  • Provide support and vision to the business
  • Deliver for all stakeholders
  • Be lead and supported from top management
  • Be able to answer the question ‘what have you done for me today’, positively.
  • Make life easier for stakeholders
  • Demonstrate project and programme value
  • Improve forecast capabilities
  • Be agile

To achieve this you not only need good people, good processes, but also supporting technology. It is important to get this balance right in order for the business to effectively manage project selection, prioritisation, resource planning and deliverables.

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