Gray Strategy Consultants

What is a project management office (PMO) and do you need one?

A project management office (PMO) is a group — internal or external to a company — that sets, maintains and ensures standards for project management across that organization. They’re the keepers of best practices, project status and direction — all in one spot.

“At the end of the day, PMOs are in place to help orgs deliver value to their stakeholders to projects and programs,” says Brian Weiss, vice president, practitioner career development of the Project Management Institute.

According to PM Solutions research, 85 percent of companies had a PMO in 2016, up five percent from 2014. They also found that 30 percent of companies without a PMO plan to implement one.

The role of the PMO could change as artificial intelligence and digital transformation take hold, but in today’s business climate, here’s what a PMO should do, what types you should consider, and who really needs one.

Roles and responsibilities of a PMO

A PMO makes sure company procedures, practices and operations go right — on time, on budget and all in the same way. “PMOs are there to ensure project and program success, and that’s critical because organizations deliver value through projects and programs,” said Weiss. “How they do that depends upon how they’re situated within the organization.”

According to PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession, those companies that align their enterprise-wide PMO to strategy had 38 percent more projects meet original goals and business intent than those that did not. They also had 33 percent fewer projects deemed failures. 

A Good PMO:

While all of the above are important, Fritsch says that the last item is also a way for companies to develop talent — even outside of the PMO.

Different types of PMO

In order of least support to most support, the three general types of PMO are Supportive, Controlling and Directive.

With the volume and number of data sources growing exponentially, how do you ensure business decisions are based on trustworthy data?

PMOs can be internal or external facing too. Internal PMOs “bridge the gap between teams that are doing agile development and very iterative development,” said Jeff Grieshaber, senior manager at World Wide Technology. They’re also common in organizations that are running large programs in business process transformation.

External PMOs have many of the same qualities as internal ones, but are also “really good at communicating with the customers and the stakeholders and product teams that are doing the development of the work that you’re managing,” said Grieshaber.

PMOs, like everything, will evolve and change during the digital revolution. Gartner expect the role of the PMO to change because of digital transformation, especially as artificial intelligence becomes more pervasive and takes on traditional PMO functions. By 2030, they predict that multiple PMOs that may now exist within an organization will “amalgamate into one function concerned with change, strategy, project evolution and organization governance,” according to an April 2017 report.

Do you need a PMO?

The best place to start when considering whether or not you need a PMO is to take a good, hard look at how your company operates and see if different segments of it are already working together across systems and groups in harmony, or if they operate as silos with different systems and don’t often talk to each other. If your company is the latter, then a PMO can help. Also, if you’re about to implement any significant projects or strategy changes — or the strategy you already have isn’t being met, a PMO might be right for your organization.

“If you run projects, the projects have a significant level of cost or have significant level of impact, then you can really benefit from PMO,” said Fritsch. “Certainly, the larger the projects, the bigger the budget, the more there are projects, then the more you can benefit from a PMO.”

What companies recognize as PMOs today might not be what they see in the future, though. Gartner expects the number of IT PMOs to decline as a result of the digital revolution, though some will transform into change management functions and become part of the C-level strategy function. The analyst firm also expects that, by 2030, partnerships between humans, smart machines and AI will eliminate “some 80 percent of the ‘work’ that represents the bulk of today’s project management discipline, practices and activities,” according to the report. For PMO professionals, that means adapting behavior and practices. For companies, that means embracing changes to the profession for the benefit of their organizations — and their bottom lines.

Source: CIO

Exit mobile version