Project management office (PMO) is the latest buzzword in the IT industry. Now, you might’ve heard the term being thrown around at work, and wondered, “Who needs another department?” Well, you’re not alone. Companies are struggling to get a PMO approved, and even if they manage to pull off this difficult feat, it still struggles to find acceptance within the organizational structure. So, it’s a valid concern among stakeholders whether having a PMO to oversee projects will slow the process unnecessarily. But the truth is, the advantages of a PMO largely go unrecognized.
What you need to understand about project management office
Each PMO is separate with separate powers, focus, and responsibilities depending on the company. But, at the basic level, these are permanent units meant for coordinated and centralized management of all projects, including IT projects. Some tasks that PMOs excel at handling include the development of project standards, PM strategies, planning of the project portfolio, direct support and monitoring of individual projects, and training the project staff.
How will your business benefit from a PMO?
Numerous benefits come to the forefront as soon as your IT company implements an enterprise-wide PMO. The standouts are:
Consistent processes and systems
The first thing you notice upon implementing a project management office is how it creates and implements consistent processes and streams.
An organization becomes successful due to various reasons. They might have an amazing product or have good salespeople on their payroll or lead in terms of innovation. No matter what the reason, they find success and with it comes growth. On the flipside, growth brings with it certain growing pains.
When a company experiences continuous growth, it develops a particular mindset — any decision that helps the company move forward is the best decision. (Perhaps this growth-at-all-costs mindset helped spur the major problems Facebook is now coping with.) However, it can also be argued that a fast-moving company doesn’t have the luxury of slowing down and methodically analyzing each solution when the time comes to make a decision. Instead, decisions have to be taken on the fly to move things forward, almost in real time.
But all this flows smoothly only in theory. The truth is, it ends up creating unpredictable, inconsistent, and highly unreliable means of finishing up with tasks. When companies have attained such a level of confusion, an objective third-party — the PMO — comes as a relief. The responsibilities of the PMO members are to smooth things out and identify processes and systems that yield results and eliminate those that don’t and remove missing gaps.
An objective source of truth
PMOs serve as an objective location where truth can be found. This means that if properly implemented, a project management office won’t have resources reporting to them directly. While IT project status reports aren’t something that must be hidden, departments in charge of their own projects don’t always look at things objectively. This does not imply that people deliberately lie; rather they embellish the truth to fit their narrative.
A project management office brings such occurrences out into the open and prevents negative consequences. If a certain task was not completed on the due date, and there was no word on a later finish date, a project management office would label this a possible risk. This would spur company executives and project sponsors into action so that the situation did not get out of hand later.
IT leaders may even use the person running the project management office to determine how well things are flowing in the company. If he or she seems on edge, it’s worth checking out the details to determine what’s wrong. On the other hand, if he or she appears calm and collected, it’s a sure sign that everything is moving as it should.
Insight into economies of scale
PMOs have garnered a reputation in the IT industry for reducing wasted resources and duplicated efforts. If everyone within your IT team isn’t on the same page regarding a particular activity, varied initiatives and projects may crop up in different locations even if not required. Whereas a single solution might have sufficed, the people were too busy working on separate tasks to notice this. A project management office helps put an end to such duplication of efforts by using project management software online to bring all the teams on the same page.
Is it time for a PMO in your company?
There is no fixed revenue, size, or structure to indicate that your company needs a PMO. But you might want to take a closer look at the following symptoms:
Depending on how successful your firm is or what services and products you’re offering, it could be that bottlenecks have formed due to slowdowns and log-jams. As a result, the speed of your work will slow down considerably. Consequently, rework will become more common and lead to new kinds of mismanagement problems.
Every project feels new and unknown
It is likely that your IT company worked on the same project several times, but now it’s starting to feel as if it’s your first time attempting such a project. The important questions aren’t being asked until later in the process, people are tripping over one another, and deliverables aren’t being dispatched on time by the groups concerned. If you think that getting a new project out the door has become a comedy of errors, it might be necessary to set up a PMO.
No single group knows the current status of the company
It could be that your employees are privy to just a handful of details on the project — or they know too much. Unfortunately, without a middle ground, problems are likely to occur in the company. Setting up a PMO will provide the necessary general overview.
The need for a project management office becomes acute once your company attains a particular size. However, the basic principles are applicable across firms of any size as they enable the organizations to get a head start on crafting processes and systems that run their projects during the expansion stages.
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