Keys to Building a Strong PMO Foundation

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Project management offices (PMO) have been around for a long time and yet a lot are still failing to deliver what organizations expect from them – predictable and consistent results. When forming (or redirecting) your PMO, here are some key areas that, if done right, can lead to great results for your organization’s project delivery.

Aggregate Your Project Data

One of the biggest reasons that projects will catch on fire is due to lack of awareness by stakeholders on critical aspects of the project such as budget, schedule or quality. Organizations that have a larger systems footprint can oftentimes fall victim to this scenario where data from each respective system is self-contained with no "big picture" view that management and executives can look at to help support the project team or make the right decision. One of the first steps to building an effective PMO is to ensure that key data points from each system used in your professional services automation are being aggregated into one centralized location that can be easily presented not only to leadership but to the project team as well.

Define Your Methodology

Most organizations will have some semblance of methodology in terms of how they deliver projects. Your job as the PMO is to ensure that this methodology is well documented and understood by all project team members (not just the project managers). Document, train, evaluate, rethink and repeat. Keeping your methodology a living document is also important in order to absorb changes that will benefit the organization as you learn from challenges and successes experienced on projects. And with your methodology should come all of the artifacts needed to support your processes – templates, samples, checklists, how-to guides and much more. Your methodology won’t be worth much without the substance to back it up.

Enforce Good Habits

A lot of organizations who struggle with good project delivery often lack the discipline to keep good habits front of mind. As the leader of the PMO you need to work with your team of project managers to ensure that they are following the practices that your methodology calls for as well as strong PM behaviors such as strong risk and issue management, budget and schedule oversight to name a few. What you can do as a PMO to support this is provide constant and consistent feedback and coaching.

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