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How PMOs Can Help Build a Connected Organization

Published by Rachelle Sanders

April 7th, 2021

in Project Portfolio Management

So many organizations have divided themselves into silos. This likely wasn’t an intentional choice, but as organizations grow it’s easy to fall into the trap of silos. We all know silos are bad – they cause inefficiency, confusion and detachment, but how do we overcome them? How do we build connected organizations so we can reach our goals? There are many ways you could go about building a connected organization, but there’s one department or team (that you might already have in your organization) that’s inherently suited to break down silos and connect your organization: the Project Management Office.

PMOs Are the Answer

A project management office (PMO) can help organizations break down silos and build a connected organization. So, what exactly is a PMO? The Project Management Institute defines a PMO as “a management structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques.” This is a great definition, but we’ve developed a simpler definition that focuses not on what activities the PMO does, but what its purpose is. In talking with our customers, they’ve expressed that they think the purpose of a PMO is to help people in their organization from project managers, resource managers, decision-makers, whole departments, or whoever needs it in making good informed decisions about projects and completing projects on time. Because they provide help to all corners of the organization, PMOs are uniquely positioned to build connectedness and they can do so in five ways.

PMOs Can Build the Right Foundation

A successfully connected organization is built on a good foundation. One of the most important pillars in a solid foundation is trust. In an organization, trust means that team members feel like new project ideas will be fairly considered by decision-makers, project managers feel like concerns they voice will be heard and upper management feels the information they’re given to help make decisions is accurate and transparent. PMOs build trust through processes and sticking to them. While this doesn’t sound like the most fun team-building exercise, it’s important and effective. PMOs create processes for things like new project intake, issue escalation and project evaluation. Having processes in place can help answer people’s concerns and give them an avenue for raising issues. When people feel heard, it builds trust.

PMOs Provide an Accurate Big Picture View

To help break down silos, organizations need to be able to see an accurate big picture view of all work. While this big picture view is helpful for everyone to understand what’s going on in other departments, it’s crucial for decision-makers. Decision-makers can often find themselves in their own silo and when they make decisions in this silo, they not only promote the construction of silos but also make decisions that might not be best for the organization. Because PMOs exist to serve the entire organization, they build, manage and maintain a big picture view. PMOs can share this view with decision-makers (and others in the organization) so they can understand important things like if their current projects support company goals or if they have enough resources to complete current projects on time. Additionally, a big picture view doesn’t just help them look at the current state of work but can also help them build feasible and connected plans for the future.

PMOs Create Transparency

In a typical siloed organization, departments are completely blind to what others are doing and what goals other departments are working towards. To break down these silos and create connections, there has to be transparency. While you don’t have to share every minute detail of a project to create a connected organization, there does need to be some awareness of what teams and departments are working toward. This is where the PMO comes in. They can not only share what’s going on with different areas of the organization, but they can also use this transparency to better the organization. When a PMO creates transparency, it’s easy to identify duplicate projects in different departments that can be combined, projects that are understaffed and project teams that are overallocated to projects. This ability to use transparency helps create efficiency and spot problems that could cost your organization time, resources and money.

PMOs Reduce Complexity

I’ve already explained how PMOs create processes, so you’re probably thinking that the processes create complexity, not reduce it, but I’m here to tell you that’s not necessarily true. Remember the goal of a PMO from above? They exist to help organizations make good decisions and complete projects on time. Complexity would only make achieving this goal more difficult and in some instances, be in direct contradiction to their goal. If a PMO wants to help make sure projects get finished on time, creating unnecessary complexity only makes this harder for everyone. So, by their nature, PMOs are inclined to keep things as simple as possible with only the necessary processes for your organization. The idea of keeping things simple has also birthed the idea of the Lean PMO, which takes the idea of reducing complexity and applies it to every aspect of their activities.

Interested in Lean PMOs?

Learn why Lean PMOs are popular, how a Lean PMO can help your organization and where to get started building a Lean PMO in our recent blog post.

PMOs Foster Embracing Change

Things like new technologies, changing consumer demands and fluctuating markets require that companies change and adapt in order to survive. While change is necessary, it’s also really hard to do and most people are naturally resistant to change. Luckily for organizations, PMOs are here to help. PMOs are armed with valuable data into an organization’s project landscape, which can help convince people that change is necessary. If a PMO can show how current projects and operations won’t help the company to reach its goals, decision-makers (and everyone else in the organization) will be much more likely to accept needed change. When people know change is based on accurate data and not panic or gut instincts, you’ll get a lot more people onboard.

Build a Connected Organization with Meisterplan

At Meisterplan, we know how a successful PMO can transform your organization. But PMOs can’t just wave a magic wand to make it happen. PMOs need a tool. Meisterplan is a project portfolio and resource management tool that PMOs can use to build a connected organization and help your organization reach its goals. To see how PMOs use Meisterplan, schedule a one-on-one demo with one of our experts.

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