PMO…. it’s more than just programme admin

Complex change is difficult to manage. There are lots of moving parts, multiple stakeholders with conflicting opinions and pressure to deliver value quickly. Coupled with a lack of resource, or at least, the right resource and poor data leading to no single source of truth, it can often feel like you are in firefighting mode when delivering major programmes. Hard work can be squandered if processes, tools and templates are not aligned leading to inconsistencies across the enterprise.


So, you must invest to protect your change, both at the Enterprise/Portfolio level and at the individual programme level.



What are the typical functions PMO provides? 


Manage prioritisation and resource allocation between projects


When you have limited resources it’s vital that the highest value-added projects are prioritised in order that you maximise your return on investment. A strong PMO function will clearly define the benefits of the projects in the portfolio or enterprise and align these to your business strategy to produce the best possible programme roadmap.

Resource forecasting and allocation monitoring will ensure that each project has the resources required to deliver successfully and decisions on resource allocation can be made based on priority. Finally, as business needs are always changing, a first class PMO will provide dynamic prioritisation to keep the changing portfolio relevant.



Provide project management tools and information systems


To achieve the most efficient delivery, a PMO will structure and help maintain a set of consistent project management tools, templates, processes, and systems. This will ensure consistent documentation across the portfolio or enterprise for ease of reporting and will provide project resources with the standard tools they need to deliver their goals. Document versioning and change control will be implemented to ensure all key decisions are formally agreed and logged and there is the ability to trace and roll back if needed.



Monitor and control project/portfolio performance


Staying in control of the portfolio and keeping each project on track is key to successful delivery and a PMO will provide this governance and control. From a programme perspective the PMO will provide reporting and active monitoring of progress and risk while ensuring the costs are controlled in order to deliver the optimal financial benefit. At a portfolio and enterprise level, dependencies across programmes will be identified and tracked to mitigate the impact of programmes on one another. This will be underpinned by programme and enterprise level communication to keep everyone informed of progress and issues.



Provide training and project competency development


One of the keys to success is ensuring programme resources have the skills required to deliver their project. The PMO will promote and advocate for the project management discipline within the organisation. It will conduct training, mentoring and coaching to embed the right behaviours and tools into the enterprise.

Crucially, it will look across the portfolio to support balancing the resource against the demand and skills needed, putting training or recruitment in place as needed or re-assigning resource across the enterprise.



Provide assurance across delivery


Significantly, the PMO will be independent of the delivery teams and will objectively monitor all aspects of programme performance. It will ensure that reporting is correct and that key stakeholders are getting a true picture of progress, that deliverables are of the required standard and quality and that each programme is delivering on the ultimate agreed aims.



What value can PMO bring?


  1. Better availability and visibility of information: having a functional PMO service, working hard to document, monitor and track status and KPIs, makes it much easier to access the information stored in the project system or repository. Furthermore, the information of individual projects can be rolled up into a portfolio view as well. You will have greater visibility of the overall portfolio status such as demand vs intake, resource allocation and utilisation, as well as project level details such as progress report, actual spend, etc.  


  1. Improved reliability of the information provided: once the PMO team have systemised the way to update and collect project information with standardised processes and tools, you can say goodbye to multiple data sources which sometimes might even be contradictory. Topped with due diligence from PMO, you will have confidence in what you see knowing that this is an accurate and up to date reflection of progress.  


  1. Better controls: PMO can be the eyes and ears that monitor the initiatives’ performance tailored to your need. It can be as high level as overall portfolio spending, or as detailed as individual project milestones. Plus, early warning signs can be detected. With the appropriate pulse check, it enables the management team to make decisions or interventions just at the right moment. 


  1. Increased productivity: PMO can also develop the project management maturity within your organisation. Project teams will be prompted to follow standard ways of working, coaching and learning from each other, escalating through the optimised path, whilst the senior management will be encouraged to provide clear goals and more support. A well-coordinated organisation sharing the same goal is far more efficient and motivated.  


  1. Better quality of project results: PMO is there to help the team to succeed, no matter how complicated and challenging the initiatives are. An effective PMO service will put things in control, minimise risk and unnecessary cost and boost the chance to realise business goals and benefits. This ultimately brings a sustainable and scalable framework to deliver outcomes that will satisfy customers. 



Do you need PMO expertise?


At Project One, we have enabled many of our customers to stay in control and improve delivery, via our highly effective PMO service at the enterprise and/or programme level. From designing and building enterprise PMO framework and governance, to introducing Agile delivery methods and toolsets, as well as orchestrating programme monitoring and reporting.


We work as one team, transferring knowledge to our customer whilst driving delivery.


To discuss further, please contact Nick Houlton 

Mobile: 07716 075616  | email: 

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