The Elusive Effective PMO

The Elusive Effective PMO

Insights | 11 March 2015

Regardless of how you have weighed in on the debate on PMOs in the past, PMOs are a significant contributing success factor in high performing organisations:

76% of high performing organisations have a PMO

(PMI®, 2015).

And regardless of your PMO’s title – from Enterprise PMO (EPMO) to Centre of Excellence (COE) to the now more prevalent Change Management Office (CMO), Transformation Management Office or Transition Management Office – a strategically aligned and effective PMO can help organisations create value and competitive advantage.

“An organization’s ability to build and sustain its growth capacity depends on a number of critical factors including…establishing a well-aligned and effective PMO”.

PMI’s Pulse of the Profession®, 2015

Effective PMOs can optimise:

  • Senior management decision making. A strategically focussed PMO informs senior management about decisions on strategic alignment and prioritization of initiatives, risk and resource management.
  • Realisation of business benefits. PMOs can help mature approaches to benefits management and promote the realisation of benefits across an organisation.
  • Project delivery. Successful projects mean successful organisations – PMOs are an integral part in successful project delivery within constraints of time, cost, risk, quality, scope and resources.

The effective PMO is the bridge between strategy and the delivery (project) arm of an organisation.

Key Tips for becoming an Effective PMO

The PMO as the Launchpad for maturing your PM practices. 71% of high performing organisations have a formal process to mature existing project management practices (PMI®, 2015). Consider the idea of utilising maturity assessment guidance such as P3M3® from AXELOS which addresses the following perspectives:

  • Management control
  • Benefits management
  • Financial management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Risk management
  • Organisational governance
  • Resource management

.. the outcomes of a P3M3 capability assessment are a good way of prioritising the specific order of capability development and implementation to ensure early value is delivered”

Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O®), 2013

Focus on people talent. Projects are about people. PMOs are about people; PMOs support projects; strategic PMOs provide informed recommendations for senior management decision-making. It is no surprise that high performing organisations focus on training and talent management of their PMO and project management community.

Knowledge, content and experience transfer through sharing of case studies, lessons learned, communities of practice, mentoring and coaching are non-negotiable for high- performing organisations.

In developing more professional P3Os…organisations need to understand that an investment in high-calibre individuals is required.

Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O®), 2013

Strategic alignment. 67% of high-performing organisations have an enterprise-wide PMO highly aligned to strategy (PMI®, 2015). The effective PMO focuses on recommending the ‘right things’ (initiatives) and that those ‘right things’ are achievable given organisational and environmental constraints.

Such alignment is not once-off; the effective strategic PMO is continually involved in ensuring programmes and projects are aligned to strategic objectives. The effective PMO reviews the adequacy of resourcing as well as managing portfolio level progress, dependencies and conflicts.

Agree, this is no mean feat, but in a sluggish global environment, organisations and PMOs alike need to exploit the power of doing the ‘right projects right’ to be, remain and sustain high-performance.

Need help ensuring you are doing the ‘right things’ or want to set up a PMO, contact us today.

PMI and “Pulse of the Profession” are marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
P3O® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited
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