Does having a PMO add value to your business?
Many organisations with less mature IT Project function do not value the importance of a PMO (Project Management Office) and what it can add to your IT Change Portfolio. This week, the Techolony team take a dive into just this and highlight some key reasons why a PMO within your IT Change Portfolio should not be underestimated.
1: Mitigate risk management
Failing to manage risk can be catastrophic to your businesses financial and operational health, if the worst should happen.
By having the PMO actively implementing risk management processes, you can reduce the probability and impact of potential risks occurring. This team can, as part of their remit, actively support project team members with identification and management at the project level. Additionally, the PMO team can be involved with program level risk management, being responsible for portfolios and organizational level risk mitigation.
Facilitating risk management involves identifying who should be involved, implementing workshops with the right people, capturing risk and actions, and following up to ensure that action plans are followed through, and provide support and reporting as deemed appropriate. Ultimately, it also involves prioritising risk and ensuring the organisation focuses its efforts on addressing the risks that are the most crucial. The aim is to create a core culture in which risk can be spoken about openly with speed and no risk of cover up, or of passing the responsibility.
Thanks to being a fully independent team with no ulterior agenda or specific deliverables, the PMO can lead on having transparent conversations about what may go wrong, removing any indication of blame.
2: Keeping focused
Losing track of the core project focus can be a problem. Taking a sideways route is a common problem within every industry. This leads to teams allocating resources for avenues that are not ideal for the project goals in question. Enter another key role for the PMO; keeping the deliverables on track and focused on the correct elements. Earned Value Performance Management (EVPM) is one method of doing this.
Project teams leaders, with the support of the PMO, assign a financial value to milestones, which are continuously tracked during the project. The PMO monitors the deliverables progress in financial terms, and then elicits a comparison to what was actually planned. By following this method stringently, you get a good insight into whether the project is focused on the right areas, or where problem cracks might be starting to show. Crucially, keeping the team members focused by asking pertinent questions, engaging in informal peer reviews and deep diving into project reports continuously keeps the team focused and driven.
3: Keeping leaders accountable
The most successful projects have the most active sponsors. These are people who champion the project, help resolve issues, remove roadblocks and make sure that the team has the resources it needs to deliver the targeted result. But things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, project sponsors aren’t active in their support of the project, leading to disillusionment and lack of drive.
Project managers and their teams don’t always have the authority to challenge an absentee sponsor. But, the always independently operating PMO does: Irregardless if your authority is absolute or implied, the PMO can reach out to ineffective sponsors and query their involvement. They can also facilitate replacing a sponsor with a more suitable candidate, or initiate conversations at a broader and more impartial level than that of the project team. This is an often under utilised way to add value to focused delivery teams working on initiatives within your business - make sure they get the executive support that is needed to sow the seeds for success.
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