Many organizations are hesitant to adopt a formal PMO, but those that have are realizing the benefits as well as the potential of such an organization. According to PMI Pulse of the Profession, businesses with a PMO see a 27% decrease in failed projects and an 45% increase in project alignment with business objectives. Furthermore, businesses are realizing quickly that successful project management is critical because they simply cannot keep up with the pace of change in today’s markets. There is more to keep track of as workforces become increasingly distributed, competition is increasing and customer demands are at an all time high. Business agility is imperative to survival and there is no organization directly responsible for steering the business in the face of changing environments. It is evident that project management is valued in business more than ever as project success rates rise in direct correlation to the amount of formal project management involved. This applies to all projects, whether waterfall, agile, or hybrid; businesses are realizing the benefits of project management in getting product to market, upgrading systems or whatever the project entails. There are specific things project managers can do today that will help shape the future of their PMO, and stabilize their status as value drivers in the business.
Use Relevant Metrics
Gain trust by providing data on KPIs that matter to the business. Stakeholders care about the bottom line and credibility comes from data. It is common for emotions to play too large a role in decision making and can be lead to regression. Metrics such as customer satisfaction rates, impact on employees, and of course financial benefits speak to the value of projects more than number tasks completed.
Visibility not just into project status and timelines, but bottlenecks and risks is extremely beneficial for PMOs. It is common to communicate projects that are doing well or share positive milestones and hold back or minimize negative results. That is a dangerous trap that hinders PMOs in the long term. Project managers can set themselves up for long term success in the by providing visibility into all project matters, both good and bad, and communicating realistically rather than ideally about project issues. Visibility creates a culture of trust and can be as simple as regular updates, status reports, or providing access to a project or portfolio management system where data is easily accessed and always up to date.
While it is impossible to predict and plan for every possible outcome of a project, leveraging available predictive tools can help project managers create contingency plans and future-proof their role. A degree of uncertainty is expected, but understanding dependencies within a project and creating contingency plans for areas that are higher risk minimizes the overall risk and also builds trust in the organization. PMOs that leverage predictive technology can stay ahead of the curve in changing environments and quickly develop plans when changes occur. Understanding the impact of the changes, and effectively communicating those impacts and changes aids decision making and fosters confidence.
Raise the Bar
PMOs that can consistently deliver projects and contribute to the business are invaluable. As the PMO continues to successfully deliver high profile projects, it will be entrusted with more and larger projects and must be able to scale with the business. This can happen if processes are in order, a system of management is in place, and governance is established.
PMOs significantly contribute to the success of business, and any growing organization managing strategic initiatives can benefit from establishing a formal PMO. The future of the PMO depends on its ability to scale and grow to continue driving business success.