The PMO: helping project management thrive
Project Management The term ‘project’ is now used in everyday conversation to refer to almost any activity that has a start, middle and end, be that at home, at school or at work...
The term ‘project’ is now used in everyday conversation to refer to almost any activity that has a start, middle and end, be that at home, at school or at work. This coincides with a much greater awareness and understanding in organisations of the benefits of using projects to deliver changes into the organisation and externally to their customers.
Projects are throwing out challenges that sit outside of the role of individual project managers, who are busy delivering projects.
Projects are ubiquitous! You can’t get away from them.
For example, HS2, or a business change project we’re currently managing or perhaps the rollout of a new IT system.
This explosion of projects has seen a huge increase in project management roles and the desirability of those roles.
What is also becoming understood by organisations is the need and value of an effective PMO as the central, beating heart of the project ecosystem; that part of the organisation that provides guidance and support to all those involved in the delivery of project and programmes, from senior executives to end users and customers.
PMOs are not new. They have been around in many industries for many years in various forms, from the purely administrative support function through to delivering essential reporting and/or undertaking effective project controls and governance. Their role has not always been understood and their value often questioned (as reports and research has confirmed in recent years).
However, the tide has turned. While organisations recognise the value of projects (and even programmes and portfolios), they do present organisations with a whole host of challenges that sit outside the role of individual project managers who are busy delivering projects (with a greater or lesser degree of success).
Questions organisations ask about projects include:
- “When is a project a project?
When does a piece of work need to be formally managed as a project?”
- “How should the project be delivered?
What methodology should we use? What governance is required?”
- “How do we decide which projects need to be done?”
- “How many projects are currently being delivered across the organisation?
Are they delivering the benefits we expected?”
- “What individual competence and organisation capability needs to be developed to improve the success of project delivery in our organisation?”
An effective PMO provides the focus, processes, tools and expertise to support the organisation in addressing all of these.
The role and scope of PMOs is no longer being pushed by enthusiastic PMO professionals but demanded by senior executives within organisations. The PMO is now recognised as essential, not just for project success, but for the organisation’s success.
What a challenge!
Those of us who have been working in PMOs for many years, are excited by the opportunity this brings to professionalise the roles and career path for PMO professionals.