Top Five PMO Challenges And How To Overcome Them

Top Five PMO Challenges And How To Overcome Them

Insights | 21 January 2013

Many businesses let common challenges act as a roadblock to a mature PMO when in fact, understanding the issues inherent in an evolving PMO is the number one step to overcoming them.

The 2012/13 Project Management Office (PMO) Survey conducted by PM-Partners group reveals five core challenges for PMOs over the next 24 months. These include:

  1. Benefits realisation
  2. Supply and demand planning
  3. Project and program prioritisation
  4. Organisational alignment
  5. Resource management

According to the survey, 64% of respondents believe that organisational resistance to changing culture and project management practices will be a significant barrier to the progression and evolution of the PMO over the next two years.

These insights reflect a need for a wider organisational perspective and a shift in thinking. In the past, this would be managed at the executive level, which is held directly responsible for results. However, business is traditionally managed in ‘silos,’ which PMOs are forced to work across, yet they can often experience resistance from key stakeholders who might restrict the access of the PMO and limit their effectiveness overall.

Darrel Raynor, managing director at US project management company Data Analysis & Results, says PMOs that are given responsibility for resource allocation across the business can improve employee productivity.

“By having an oversight of all projects and personnel, a PMO can assign the best people to priority projects and keep their attention focused on that project,” says Darrel*.

“It’s not about losing control or independence at the executive level,” adds Pete Swan, Director of PM-Partners group. “Too often PMOs are seen as a competitor for resources when this is simply not the case.”

Taking an umbrella view of PMOs to overcome challenges

Executives may hamper progression and benefits realisation by not releasing resources for high priority projects. The tendency is to classify a some projects as ‘business as usual’ to avoid the governance of a PMO and actively discourage their staff from adhering to PM practices. To combat this, an enterprise view of projects and PPM must be encouraged throughout the organisation.

PMOs can achieve this through a carefully planned system of reporting. PMOs must report into the highest level of management possible so that it has sufficient authority and credibility to conduct its duties effectively.

Over half (55%) of PMOs surveyed report directly to senior executives. Is your PMO one of them?

The use of expert support is an increasingly popular solution for a PMO when it is struggling with organisational resistance or integration. This approach can be very effective, as external experts have the broad experience across many PMOs, as well as the background to operate at the appropriate level. This can prove vital regarding reinvigoration of a PMO or marketing a PMOs success.

Contact us to find out how we can help you on your next project.

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