In an era of business disruption, maintaining seamless project management can be a challenge. This is made only more difficult for companies going through a period of growth and implementing organisational redesign.
So, how can organisations remain vigilant against the competition, while balancing remote working structures, successful project strategy and implementation?
That's where a Project Management Office (PMO) comes into the picture. PMOs motivate their team to do their best work and stick to project management processes while making strategic decisions to increase productivity and profitability.
Organisations that invest in PMOs are the real winners—71% see the perceived value of their PMO increasing, while 72% say the scope of services is growing at a much higher rate.
Here are five reasons why investing in a PMO can help your company hit its goals.
1. Your processes will be the same company-wide
One of the main roles a PMO undertakes is standardizing processes company-wide.
Without processes and documentation, projects can get messy, and teams can lose focus on project goals and deliverables. A PMO creates and enforces standards by developing processes and frameworks for employees to follow so standards are uniform across every department.
Once these standards are in place, it's easier for managers to enforce guidelines and set expectations within their team. For example, if a company has teams working on multiple projects at once, CMOs can create processes to standardize milestone reporting and productivity metrics to make sure each project is progressing at the same pace.
2. Your budgets (and bottom line) will thank you
A more focused team and better processes will help your company save money in the long run—and that's exactly what a PMO does.
Costing projects accurately has been a sore point for project managers for years—many overestimate costs because they don't want to be blamed if a project runs over or costs more than initial estimates. However, some go the other way and underestimate the costs of a project to get a client on board.
PMOs help organisations meet somewhere in the middle.
They look at the ins and outs of every project to ensure that its projected cost and scope are accurate so that every project in your pipeline makes financial sense. Thanks to processes and access to data they've created, PMOs can accurately estimate the budget, time, and resources a project needs, so every project comes in on budget—not under or over.
3. You can put your datasets to work
Companies collect data—a lot of it. But without clear structures and organisation, this data can become overwhelming.
Here's what that looks like.
When The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) realized it had 20 business areas with its own PPM tool, it knew it needed to make some changes. It decided to create a single source of truth for its data so its team could make better business decisions and work on projects using a company-wide governance framework.
The bank decommissioned 35 legacy systems, 50+ user-developed tools, and hundreds of spreadsheets to bring its data into one place so managers can see their total portfolio more clearly.
This is a great example of how PMOs can change a company's datasets and put them to use. Centralizing data and giving key stakeholders visibility and organised frameworks allows them to make decisions and communicate with their teams without jumping from spreadsheet to spreadsheet.
4. You can create repeatable processes
PMOs don't just create and standardize processes—they set teams up for repeatable success.
PMOs teach teams what successful projects and tasks look like by creating standards and documentation. Once they build frameworks, teams can follow them and make better decisions around communication, tasks and roadmaps.
Unorganised specs, unclear priorities and project disruption can hit any organisation. Just ask the National Hockey League.
Although it's been around for more than a century, the IT Development team relied on email and text to communicate and collaborate. They were jumping between three different time zones trying to get work done.
The project management team decided to overhaul IT processes and adopted a platform where the team could create development cycles to keep projects on track. The IT team now works within standard development cycles, and members can build their own workflow apps using existing, approved frameworks.
If you're looking for a digital equivalent of "if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime", this is it. A PMO will set your team up with repeatable frameworks and processes to ensure every project they work on is delivered at the standard you expect.
5. You'll always feel supported
Last but not least, a PMO supports the foundations of your organisation.
It knows everything about how your business operates, from processes to project cost accuracy and employee productivity. But PMOs are also there to help organisations find ways to improve, from more accurate budgets to better standards and frameworks so teams can achieve consistent, successful results.
While this knowledge is great for growth and hitting important KPIs, it also helps morale and inter-company relations too. PMO’s have to be able to engage multiple stakeholders from c-suite to project managers.
There are other options for growing companies that don't have the budget to invest in a full-time PMO.
Services like PMO consultancy allow companies to get extra guidance and clarity into their operations and processes without onboarding new staff. Here at Freshminds, we help businesses on an ad-hoc basis to create a PMO framework or provide guidance with specific projects. Our experts have experience and skills that allow them to step into projects and manage them at short notice.
Here's what that looks like...
When a recent client needed help managing a merger (from start to finish), only an experienced PMO would do. The PMO would need to deliver the merger on a tight timeline, support the company during the acquisition and build a relationship with the new team.
The only problem was that the PMO needed to start work in five days.
As we have a team of experts waiting for projects like this, a candidate was able to start on the project immediately. He successfully managed the integration of the new acquisition, built relationships with stakeholders and created a handover manual for processes and templates for the team to follow in the future.
Future integrations can now follow these processes as the company invested in a PMO to do it right the first time.