Why should we invest time and money into PMO?

Why should you use a PMO?

It’s as simple as this… An excellent PMO adds huge value, whereas a poorly devised one can slow an organisation down. That begs the question: are PMOs worth the hassle? In this blog we outline why, yes, PMOs are worth the investment, by delving into why they matter and the benefits that a successful PMO can bring your organisation.

If you are new to Project/Programme/Portfolio Management Office – we’ve put together a handy beginner’s guide. Here you can find all kinds of useful information about what a PMO does, the types of PMOs, and the roles within a PMO team. For those who are already familiar with the basics, lets jump straight in…

Why is PMO important?

The purpose of a PMO is to give organisations a single objective version of the truth across projects and programmes, and provide support for decision making, with clear controls in areas such as resource, risk and cost management.

With such a wide-reaching scope, it’s no surprise that in many organisations the importance placed upon PMOs is growing. It is a great way to ensure that best practice is consistently applied across the portfolio, and the best performing PMOs ultimately lead to improved delivery at reduced costs. According to CIO, businesses that use proven project management practices have project costs that are 28 times less than those who do not. If methodology is so important, then it makes sense that how you develop and implement that methodology is of huge importance too.

Successful PMOs also support project teams to excel, evidenced by a recent report that found that 80% of Project Managers believe portfolio management is critical to a project’s success. For many businesses, not having a PMO or, perhaps more importantly, not having a one set up in the right way, is a failure to maximise delivery. A PMO that functions as it should, however, can unlock an organisation’s change potential and increases the likelihood of a project or programme’s success.

In short, a well thought out and clearly shaped PMO can do wonders for your project, programme and portfolio success!

Can a PMO accelerate the implementation process?

The simple answer is yes, a PMO can accelerate the implementation process, but only when it is operating effectively.

The cost-saving effects of a well-functioning portfolio management office are most apparent during the initiation phase of a project or programme. The PMO acts as the hub for delivery methodology, templates, dependency mapping, prioritisation, and governance. Through PMO, Project Managers are able to access the right information to get a project off the ground quicker, following robust and clearly defined processes, ensuring project milestones are met. Projects that are managed through a successful PMO are more likely to deliver defined outcomes at pace than those that are unsupported.

What are the advantages of a PMO?

Whilst the advantages of a PMO will depend on the type of organisation and the need for a PMO within it, we’ve identified the key benefits that PMOs achieve:

Standardisation increases efficiency and reduces costs.

The PMO sets the methodology used by Project Managers across the portfolio. It manages templates and tools for Project Managers to use, resulting in a consistent approach and a seamless approach to project startup.

Consistency in communication increases buy-in and alignment across the organisation.

PMOs have a holistic view of the entire portfolio and are well placed to determine what kind of projects align with the organisation’s strategic objectives. This view, when combined with a consistent approach to communication, results in not only a portfolio that is properly aligned and prioritised, but project teams that have a better appreciation for how they fit into the big picture.

Benefits can be appropriately measured and realised.

Benefits management is often forgotten. A successful PMO ensures appropriate KPIs are installed across the portfolio with centralised reporting, whilst also providing a means to measure if benefits have been realised post project closure.

Project Managers can focus on delivery.

Project Managers are busy. Having a PMO helps to alleviate some of this pressure. Not only do they provide relevant materials upfront and act as a source of centralised information, but by streamlining back-end activities, such as analysis and reporting, Project Managers have more time to focus on meeting milestones.

Interdependencies across projects can be identified more easily.

Here comes that holistic view again. When getting stuck into a project, external dependencies can often get forgotten about. A PMO that is across the entire portfolio can identify and manage any interdependencies between projects, reducing the risk that something nasty and unexpected raises its head.

Risk management is improved across the portfolio.

Similarly to dependency management, PMOs are able to provide a more robust means for managing risks across the portfolio. Risks can be tracked at the portfolio level, providing a – you guessed it – holistic view to the PMO and senior leadership teams exists.

Increased agility.

Sometimes, and probably more often than we’d all like, plans change. Deadlines can be missed, projects can overrun, or new priorities can appear. Organisations that are more agile are better equipped to handle this change, and PMOs provide an opportunity for increased agility. A PMO can flexibly re-allocate resources when needed because it manages the entire portfolio. Iterative delivery also offers greater scope for continuous improvement. Changes to best practice are far more likely to stick if there is a separate function than can dedicate the necessary time to this continuous improvement.

How can you ensure you get the best out of your PMO?

At Nine Feet Tall, we understand how PMOs and the people behind them tick. We combine deep PMO expertise with a human approach to ensure capabilities are maximised and common pitfalls avoided. Through our framework of Just Enough Governance, we offer PMO consulting and PMOaaS packages to drive project and benefits delivery, and have crafted a comprehensive model to assess PMO maturity. Whatever problems you are facing, we’re here to help.

If you would like advice and support on how to overcome any challenges you may be facing with your PMO, then please get in touch.

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