Companies often need to juggle multiple projects. If this is done inefficiently, many of those projects will fail due to conflicting demands placed on poorly coordinated resources. A project management office, or PMO, is established to see to it that doesn’t happen. A PMO provides a centralized approach to improving overall project efficiency by introducing and managing repeatable processes. A PMO manages resources and coordinates project demands.
A PMO introduces common processes as a set of standards for project managers to follow, allowing them to manage multiple projects simultaneously in an efficient manner. Using standard templates and applications allows every project manager to deliver projects with consistent results. Common methodologies and tools also make it possible for project managers to help each other out. If a new project manager has to take over a project in midstream, there will be less time lost to figuring out what has been done, what still needs to be done, and what resources are available to do it.
The PMO environment is highly dynamic, with new projects starting and existing projects being brought to closure on a constant basis. To manage this environment, a PMO uses a portfolio process to prioritize projects based on investments and strategic requirements. The PMO team works with company leaders when project decisions are being made. Projects are objectively evaluated against the company’s overall objectives, and resource requirements are determined.
Training and Mentoring
A PMO develops capable project managers with a common knowledge base. Having a centralized PMO provides for consistency in training. Coaching, mentoring and information sharing occurs on a regular basis, and formal classes can also be arranged. As new project managers enter the PMO, they might be teamed with experienced staff members who can share their knowledge of processes, tools and methodologies.
A PMO provides sustainable value to an organization by improving the efficiency of how projects are managed and monitored to avoid potential failure. Projects can fail due to going over budget, encountering risks that should have been avoidable, and lacking sufficient resources. PMOs report project metrics that make it clear to the organization whether a project team is on track or in need of additional support. A well managed PMO provides companies with the confidence that projects will deliver a return on investment.