What should organisations consider when embarking on ‘setting up’ or ‘refreshing’ their Project Management Office structures?
Project Management Offices (PMOs) are often considered as failing or not delivering if their projects and portfolios are not contributing towards the organisation’s overall strategy.
If this is the case in your organisation, you may need to consider widening the PMO reach. This is done by considering the PMO at an enterprise level and not at the traditional department levels.
To get full alignment to strategy the PMO should be sitting at the enterprise level of organisations. This means the PMO has a seat at the executive table to ensure they have the span of influence and that the right projects are making into the portfolio.
In many organisations projects are approved at a departmental level and therefore are more likely not to be using resources effectively to deliver on the organisations strategy.
PMOs that are at the enterprise level are better placed to contribute significantly towards the strategy and realise the benefits.
Traditional department based PMOs have served their purpose in putting in place frameworks and governance. The better department based PMOs have achieved great disciplines and good delivery outcomes. These department based PMOs will increase their delivery success if they gain executive sponsorship. Research proves that lack of executive sponsorship is the key reason for failures of PMOs.
The evolution of PMOs shows that more organisations are considering moving the PMO to be an enterprise wide PMO (EPMO).
Some of the questions you should be asking before setting up or refining your PMO structures:
- What are the objectives of your PMO?
- Is the PMO best placed within the organisation to align to corporate strategy?
- Has the PMO got executive sponsorship?
- Are the governance and delivery of projects consistent across the organisation?
- Is the risk management of projects well managed with fewer crisis situations?
- Is there a continual improvement of the prescribed process and are they effective?
- Is the professional development and training of project managers and team members consistent and mapped to best practices?
It is important if you are changing the structure of your PMO that you put measures in place to monitor the effectiveness of the changes. It is also important to seek professional help before moving to new PMO structures, as it could be a risky and expensive exercise.
If you are considering shifting your PMO to an enterprise level, speak to our principal consultants to minimise the risk.
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