SEVEN (7) MARKS OF GREAT PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE
It’s been said that all happy couples look the same. All of the best PMOs share certain characteristics which endear them to management and the project managers they support.
1. Projects Align with Organizational Goals
At some level, every project is conceived to provide some benefit to the organization. The business case, charter and scope ideally describe this in an understandable way. A good PMO ensures that all projects worked in an organization have benefits that truly align to the most important needs and objectives of the business. If the nature of the business environment changes significantly, a good PMO will decide what impact if any this will have on the active projects. Sometimes projects need to be redefined, shelved or even cancelled. If a project’s benefits are no longer benefits, it makes no sense to continue working the project.
2. Project Success Rates Increase
A good PMO ensures that all needed resources are available and allocated before the start of the project. The PMO monitors the project plan and budget throughout the lifecycle to ensure that the project remains on track, and that resources are available as needed. As large risks present themselves, the PMO may help in brokering solutions which are best for everyone involved. These activities increase the number of projects completed on time, on budget and in scope.
3. Project Management Competence Increases
Organizations with good project management offices find that the skill and competence of project management activities improve over time. PMP Certification is common. As important is the establishment of formal or informal mentoring programs for all project managers. Mentoring increases networking relationships, provides practical guidance for newer project managers, and contributes to a team culture in the organization.
4. Standards and Templates are Developed and Improved
A good PMO provides useful, practical and helpful project templates. These templates are revised as often as necessary to ensure that the right type of documentation is being created. Clear guidance is provided to ensure that the minimum numbers of documents are created for any particular project.
5. PMO Tone is Inviting
The PMO is considered a partner and resource rather than a bully. The compliance aspect is deemphasized. Learning and Improvement are embraced.
6. Training is Available
A good PMO offers more than one class a year. Free training is available in multiple formats and in various ways. There may be online sessions. Classroom training may be provided. An open door policy may be in effect for a few hours every day. There may be a constantly monitored IM (instant messaging) or chat account available to any PM with a question at any time.
7. Learning is Embraced
The PMO members seek out feedback and incorporate it into project management office policies and activities. Lessons learned are included in projects and in the PMO itself. The PMO looks for ways to continually increase its value up (to management) and down (to project managers).