Do You Need a Project Management Office (PMO)?

March 18, 2020

There is more to a project management office than managing projects. In fact, the project management office (PMO) acts as both a watchtower and a lighthouse to guide strategic initiatives toward success and maintain work standards to complete projects.


In The State of the PMO 2016, surveyed executive leaders confessed only 60% of their strategic initiatives met goals. In other words, nearly half of the initiatives that had been formulated were abandoned, didn’t produce the intended outcome, or were never started. Because of this, more companies are implementing a sustainable plan through the creation of a project management office.


What Is the Mission of the PMO?


The project management office relates to everything about the program and project management. PMOs provide leadership and expertise by promoting standards of excellence and methodologies that ensure programs are delivered on time, on budget, and aligned with the corporate strategic direction.


Examples of PMO areas of intervention include (but are not limited to):

  • Project portfolio management and project prioritization
  • Establishment of standard methods and processes of execution that can be adopted company-wide regardless of project size and scope
  • Set up schedule and budget management software solutions
  • Resources assessment and allocation
  • Team coordination and deployment, especially in cross-department programs
  • Training and education material design and delivery
  • Workforce assessment and hiring plan if necessary
  • Institutional knowledge repository setup
  • Project progress tracking
  • Conflict resolution/mediation
  • Support and expertise sharing as needed
  • Deployment of continuous improvement processes


The control a PMO has over projects and project managers depends on the organization’s needs and objectives. Its role can be consultative (offering guidance and guidelines without enforcing them), controlling (ensures adoption and compliance), or directive (taking over project management across all departments). There is not one single PMO architecture that will prove effective for all.


Bonus: See how ProPharma Group fitted a top 25 pharmaceutical with a custom PMO design that streamlines processes and portfolio governance and increased visibility for senior management.


Do You Need a Project Management Office?


If your organization runs several manufacturing sites, employs thousands of people, and drives multiple programs fails to identify ROI, you should consider program integration and a PMO.


PMOs, however, are not reserved to big corporations. As with every growth initiative, the truth is in the numbers. Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you need a PMO:


Are the projects aligned with the business strategy? 

With a PMO, you can measure each project’s return on investment and progress.


PMO services to align projects with strategy: 

  • sorting portfolio
  • eliminating redundant/irrelevant projects
  • listings
  • dashboards
  • reports


Are processes consistent across all teams? 

With a PMO, you can measure the rate of on-time completion of free-style management vs compliant methodology.


PMO services to improve execution:

  • standards, methodologies, best practices
  • knowledge repository and training
  • project portfolio management system
  • compliance enforcement


Are collaboration and knowledge sharing optimum? 

You can also assess the volume of documents shared in your knowledge vault. Have past issues been documented and dissected to provide solutions in the future?


PMO services to increase knowledge:

  • tools and templates
  • project management workshops
  • online internal community
  • online library


Do human resources prove insufficient? 

Is this due to insufficiently skilled personnel? Measure the increase in cost of outsourcing project members with a PMO. Conduct a review of your training programs.


PMO services to develop people:

  • resource visibility
  • resource allocation
  • resource utilization
  • training schedule
  • online training sessions
  • microlearning


Is the portfolio highly impacted by risk management? 

You can also measure the trend in reported issues vs resolved issues. Measure how the health of the portfolio suffers from high-impact/ unsolved issues.


PMO services to mitigate risk:

  • identification of risk
  • risk forecasting
  • post-mortem of failed projects


Roadmap to Making PMO a Success


Organizational change comes with many obstacles, but a project management office can help address some of them. A successful PMO helps define clear goals and mission, fits the company culture and doesn’t try to impose a new one, trains people, adopts a change management approach, and helps employees prepare for improvements in the future.


At ProPharma Group, we have heard clients lament over too many failures of worthy projects because of poor planning and execution before they realized the need for change. Our 20 years of experience in the field has allowed us to acquire the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you move forward and up. Our certified professionals will guide your teams through the process and ensure all is in place for long-term success.


Contact us today to discuss your PMO needs.


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