THE CATALYST: How does a PMO benefit the organization?

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By Felix C. Veroya

Last April 23, 2022, the global train-the-trainer for one of my awaited training and certification programs this year has started. It was a cohort of project managers across the globe – United States, Australia, Middle East and SouthEast Asia. Learning is all over the room and best practices are being shared from one slide to another.

During one of the segments of the first two (2) days, we were asked how a Project Management Office (PMO) benefits the organization. Before I share with you the answers that we shared during the class, let me first give you an idea of what a PMO is.

A PMO is a group consisting of internal and external entities (stakeholders, interest groups etc) which defines, maintains and ensures standards for project management to deliver strategic initiatives. – PMO Guidebook 1st edition, PMO Global Institute

Now, what are the benefits of having a PMO to the principal organization?

  1. Quality and efficiency of metrics based completed projects. Having people run projects using project management approaches, tools and methodologies is not enough. There should be a central organization that must orchestrate the activities being done by the project managers and all related stakeholders. Being a data driven organization, decisions will be based on the metrics being used to maximize the resources to the advantage of the organization.
  2. Setting of standards, best practices and governance. Every project manager has his or her own way to execute projects. As we have learned in some previous articles in this column, quality is inversely proportional to variability. The more varied the way we handle projects, the more likely that quality will suffer. A PMO sets the standards on how to run projects from initiation to closing as well as ensuring that the best practices are shared across the organization.
  3. Facilitate communication and flow of information.  Information and communication flow are two of the most important elements of project management as they are tied up with the decision making process across projects. With a PMO in place, there will be a central body that will facilitate this flow and reduce the probability of communication – related problems across the project management cycle and to all involved stakeholders in the organization.
  4. Deployment of knowledge management and transfer. With an effective PMO, turnover and attrition problems will be addressed. Given the current turnover of employees in an organization, it is vital to have the knowledge be captured, managed and transferred as part of the succession not only for these attrition cases but also for the usual operations. Knowledge management is one of the key features of a PMO that reduces the risks of project failures and maximizes the optimization of strategically aligned projects.

Practicing Project Management is not enough. We need to venture into a more structured and reliable way to manage our project related resources and achieve our strategic projects through a Project Management Office.

Let’s continue to be #significantlybetter project managers, together!

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