Straight Talk on Project Management

Your organisation need a PMO

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Does your organisation need a PMO? Here are seven great questions to help you decide

The conclusion drawn by most IT/tech firms is that they do. So, as most companies digitise their service offer and effectively become IT/tech firms – the question is does YOUR organisation need a PMO?

Seven great questions coming up to help you decide.

First though, it would be a mistake to enter this thought process thinking that a PMO is some kind of wand that will magically make all your Project challenges disappear. It will, though, bring structure and measured thought to an often volatile environment and achieve better project delivery in more cases than not.

Secondly, don’t panic if you realise that your organisation DOES need a PMO. The Project Management services market offers a complete range of Project Management services, including full PMO providing assessments, governance, tools and people to improve your delivery capability and performance.

7 great questions help you to decide whether your organisation needs a PMO?

1 – Are Your IT Projects Crucial to Your Business and Its Growth?

If your IT Projects are key business drivers then you want an effective PMO in place to oversee them. End of! Great Projects come with significant risk and whether you’re embarking on a large IT infrastructure project, migrating key services to cloud applications or rolling out tablets to free your people from their desktops, you want to give yourself the best chance of success. Frequently, large key projects come with longer timeframes for completion all the more reason to strive for maximum consistency.

2 – Are Your Organisation’s IT Projects Complex?

If your organisation is handling complex projects, the chances of failure can grow exponentially. An effective PMO can mitigate these risks. Project specific PMO can support execution-level activities and if you’re in the business of handling many complex projects at once you may consider a more strategic PMO approach to provide a helicopter view.

3 – Do You Encounter the Same Issues And Failures On Successive Projects?

If you have tracked reasons for historic IT Project failure you may have noticed some trends emerging. For instance, if you are struggling to keep costs contained and predictable then an effective Programme Management Office can help with, for example, preparing realistic cost forecasts, vendor management and cost reporting during the lifecycle. Gartner state runaway budget costs are behind 25% of Project failures, so you are not alone – it’s how you react having identified an issue that matters. Your PMO should be monitoring cost fluctuations or managing vendor contracts in a way that makes cost more predictable, with a firm handle on cost, resources and an eye on the delivery timeline.

4 – Do You Have Several Project Managers Using Several Different Approaches?

In essence, there is nothing wrong with this. Different methodologies can suit different projects, and indeed enhance delivery of them. Plus, of course, human nature tends to make you stick with what you are comfortable with. Problems can arise though when this landscape becomes chaotic for senior managers to read or when different approaches begin to deliver results that are not aligned with overall business strategy. A PMO can ‘translate’ different approaches into a single comprehensible strategy and establish criteria by which project success can be measured. An effective PMO can also oversee how projects are managed across the various departments of your business.

5 – Does Your Business Have Massive Change On The Horizon

Take a look at your five or ten-year plan. Imagine how your industry’s business landscape may look in a few years’ time. Is there huge change anywhere downstream? Consolidation? Digitisation of services? A chance of acquisition, expansion or a merger? Are you about to launch a new product that will revolutionise your business?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then effective IT project delivery against a backdrop of any major change can be greatly improved by consistent, effective management. Good PMO practices deliver this whilst always ensuring that project and business case remain tightly on the same path.

6 – Are You Handling More Projects

It is interesting how many companies that had no need for an IT PMO just a few years ago are now crying out for one. As more firms move their customer service offer to digital platforms, increase their online service presence or re-evaluate their relationship with technology, there is a greater need for someone to keep a watchful eye over all the IT Projects that facilitate this. In some organisations, I have seen this growth in expectation creep up and overwhelm an IT department that was previously coping fine managing one or two projects at a time. Meanwhile, other businesses have anticipated the potential increase in required capacity and built a PMO with room to grow with their business.

7 – Do You Feel That You Could Achieve More?

Here’s a feeling that is becoming more common. Have you ever delivered your IT Project on time and on budget but not quite feel like breaking open the bubbly because you felt that it could have achieved more?

Or it could have been more efficient, got to market better, or transitioned into service more smoothly.

It can come from stakeholders, sponsors, end-users, even Project Managers themselves … a nagging concern that you can’t quite place … but which robs you of the satisfaction of a project delivered as briefed. An effective PMO gives this back to you. Firstly, it works hard to make sure that your Project IS as efficient as possible and that the transition into service IS as smooth as it can be, etc.

Secondly, effective PMOs document the journey. At the end of the mission, you can look back over actual data to reassure yourself that your Project did the best it could (or if there’s room for improvement you get to use that intelligence next time). Hard data trumps gut feelings any day!

Many organisations have a Project Management Office to help deliver their IT projects successfully.

Many still don’t.

If, by answering any of the questions above you now think that you need one the good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are many ‘as a Service’ options available.

Of those firms that have a PMO, lots of them are working efficiently, however, many are underperforming or are not delivering desired outcomes. If that sounds like you then perhaps it’s time for a Project Management Assessment to help re-imagine your project management capabilities.

According to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, 97% of organisations believe project management is critical to business performance and organisational success. I don’t think the remaining 3% must have understood the question!

Now is the perfect time to kick start your PMO.

Learn more about how Stoneseed’s Enterprise PMO Assessment can improve you improve your project performance.