Your project management office (PMO) is not going to be very effective if you do not get organizational and executive buy in to what you are trying to accomplish. This post will describe some methods on how to engage organizational stakeholders and generate confidence in how a PMO can help their organizations improve delivery consistency and predictability.
Understand Past Failures
Learning from our mistakes is one of the cornerstones of building an effective methodology and delivery practice. Failures can be expensive, so you need to extract that value from them when these failures occur. Part of what a PMO does is to ensure that projects are delivered relatively the same way each time according to the plan. When an organization has a delivery failure, it’s felt (or at least rippled) across many different departments and individuals. When learning about past failures, engage with not only C-suite executives but also those who have been the ‘boots on the ground’ so to speak in delivering past projects and understand what they want to and must improve. Remember that the PMO is there to serve all stakeholders, not tell them how to do their jobs so it’s vital that when engaging stakeholders to understand what has not worked well in the past that it’s with a tone of wanting to help, not one of shaming or finger-wagging. Understand what went wrong in the past to help design a better path for the future.
Demonstrate Strategic Value
Understanding past failures is a key step but taking that knowledge and then turning it into a tangible improvement plan that can be shown to product and project owners is another step. Executives are concerned about the overall well-being of the organization, from employee satisfaction to customer satisfaction to financial health. An effective PMO can touch all these areas but it’s critical that you demonstrate how a PMO can affect these areas. Developing a methodology rollout plan that will demonstrate solid benefits that directly impact these three areas (employee, customer, financial) is the key to getting executive buy in to your plan.
Stakeholder engagement and buy in is a key steppingstone to building your PMO. Stakeholders will make or break your PMO so it’s so important that you prove what’s in it for them to be sure that they will support your changes that you plan to make as part of your PMO rollout.