Building a PMO function is not a frivolous endeavour and takes a lot of commitment (see my previous article) however why should you put that energy in? What are the benefits? Why do lots of organisations seem to have them, there must be a reason?
In this article I’ll explore 5 benefits having a PMO will bring to your organisation and show you why it is worth the effort.
A PMO will be your eyes and ears of the establishment, execution and closure of the various projects and services being executed to deliver your programme. They will understand the complex dependencies between them and the stakeholders involved, including within the supply chain, to make delivery happen using data to track trends and inform discussion.
They are not the police of the delivery world, as is so often perceived, but the critical friends,
helping and supporting as subject matter experts but also using data to drive discussion and analysis.
By its nature, a PMO will drive consistency across the delivery life cycle. This can range from the use of standardised templates, to methodology, all the way through to a regularised reporting and progressing drumbeat. This is not to stifle innovation or agility, quite the opposite. By driving consistency as much as possible it drives routine and familiarity.
This in turn frees up intellectual energy to focus on those things that need it
not a mad rush to produce a report, in a format a director likes, because it turns out they wanted it yesterday.
With transparency and consistency comes the ability to conduct effective analysis of trends using data to drive that analysis. This then allows for more effective forecasting and challenge of optimism bias. There is always a positive tension between optimistic enthused delivery teams and a slightly pessimistic hierarchy that needs good leadership to maintain in a positive way, however there is also room for data to drive analysis. Many programme directors can tell tales of being burnt from “Red, Amber, Green” reports that have shown Green for months on the trot and then suddenly turn red…usually 3 weeks before a large milestone with no hope of recovery. Really? There were no warning flags or deteriorating statuses before that? Then what about the reverse, an autocratic director demanding something be delivered in a farcical timescale to a totally unrealistic budget, surely that never happens? A PMO that champions transparency and consistency will provide the analysis of data and go a long way to flush these situations out
by not providing good news, or bad – but the right news at the right time.
Decision Making Support
With transparency, consistency and foresight comes the ability to make effective decisions. An effective PMO will ensure all change request impacts are analysed properly across the programmes to ensure what may seem like a good opportunity to exploit, or small change in one area doesn’t have a disproportionately adverse effect elsewhere. They can ensure cost and schedule reports take account of risk and that the risk analysis correlates. They can ensure risk is being managed effectively. They can ensure earned value reports are properly scrutinised, all amongst other things. All so that those charged with making decisions at all levels are given us much good data and analysis as possible on which to base that decision.
Ultimately, by providing transparency, consistency and foresight all to enable effective decision making, this will go great lengths to providing control to the execution of programmes. Very rarely will a complex programme go exactly as intended from the original baseline. There are unknown unknowns, black swans and the inevitable politics with both a little p and big P depending on the context. What is key is that a
PMO will help the delivery teams, programme managers and decision makers navigate those sometimes choppy waters
and give the best chance to ensure the benefits sought in the original business case can be delivered in the most effective and efficient way within the resource envelope given.
Ntegra provide PMO services across a wide variety of projects from large to small, get in touch to discuss how we might be able to support your next programme.