Successful Project-Based Work: 6 Keys to Implementing a PMO

Organizations that have a continual flow of overlapping projects may already have implemented a PMO (Project Management Office), if not, you might be considering one.

Because the statistics for PMO failure seem to be high (I’ve heard as high as 50% in a casual conversation with an industry analyst) I have been thinking about the difference between a successful PMO implementation and one that fails.

ProductDossier PSA

I think it’s safe to say that merely doing project-based work isn’t necessarily the determining factor as to whether your organization should start a PMO.

Companies need to evaluate their business processes to see if the need exists and where a PMO might fit. A PMO that is aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization can be a valuable tool for making sure that projects don’t get short-sighted and fail due to a lack of support.

Making sure the PMO doesn’t become just another bureaucracy is critical to PMO success. Some time ago I stumbled upon six best practices for implementing a PMO suggested by Jim Stroh, CEO of the project management consultancy Proggex, in an article for Projects Work. I like the list, what do you think?

1. Specify the purpose of the PMO in the organization

2. Commit to the major cultural change of implementing a PMO

3. Make sure the roles of the PMO are methodically defined

4. Support for the PMO functions must be obtained from stakeholders at all levels

5. Regularly conduct a PMO assessment

6. Find the right project management tools for your PMO

I don’t think implementing a PMO is the answer to every project management problem, but under the right circumstances can be a powerful vehicle for implementing sound work management best practices and getting more of the right work done.

Are you part of a PMO? What does your PMO do to ensure the successful implementation of project-based work in your organization?

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