Part 2: How the PMO Fits into Your Company
If you’ve read the first two parts of this blog series, you might be ready to introduce a Project Management Office (PMO) into your company. Or, maybe you’ve already created a PMO and you’re wondering how it fits into your organization? If you’ve established a PMO (or want to), you’re likely already convinced of the value a PMO can bring, but if you want your PMO to be a long-term fixture and not just a one-time experiment, you’ll need to convince your entire organization of its value. While getting your PMO accepted at your company is not an overnight task, we can help you start the process with some tried and true advice.
Start with Quick Wins
You can build all the best processes and practices into your PMO, but until you deliver results, people won’t believe in the PMO’s value. Much of the work in a PMO is focused on long-term results but identifying quick wins at inception can start to bring people on board. Look at the issues currently facing project teams and ask yourself what you can help with. Maybe a project team is overextended, and you can reschedule some projects to give them some breathing room. Maybe a new project initiative has been sitting in limbo for months and you can push it to the decision-makers in your organization. Just listening to the frustrations and pain points of your project managers can go a long way in convincing them of how the PMO will help them.
Start Small and Tailor Your PMO
Many organizations make the mistake of creating a large PMO from the beginning. In our experience, successful and lasting PMOs actually start out small. Starting small allows the PMO to be more flexible and adaptable to the needs of the organization. Maybe your organization really needs help with resource planning and less focus on project intake processes. Or maybe your project teams can execute projects well, but the projects aren’t aligned to corporate strategy. When you tailor your PMO to your organization, you’ll get better results.
Communicate the Premise of the PMO
PMOs have a reputation for being a department of micromanagers. Many people believe PMOs exist to tell them what work to do and how to do it, but successful PMOs don’t operate like this at all. The premise of a PMO is to help people. PMOs of course have many other tasks and duties ranging from strategy to operations, but at its core, the PMO is designed to ensure success by giving support to projects and people that need it. When the PMO is viewed in this light, people won’t be wary of the PMO, but will actually seek it out for assistance.
Focus on “Why” Instead of “What”
When you establish a PMO, you’re going to be asking your organization to accept a lot of changes. Everything from standard practices to the agendas in meetings could be different. While change can be good, it’s important to understand that most people are extremely uncomfortable with change. To overcome the natural resistance to change, focus on explaining “why” a change has been implemented instead of “what” the change is. Make sure people understand how the change will benefit them and the organization as a whole. When people know there’s a good reason for a change (and how the change will benefit them), they’ll be much less resistant.
Get People Excited About Transparency
One of the biggest values a PMO offers is transparency. For some people, transparency can be a little daunting like having a manager watch over your shoulder as you work. However, transparency is actually a good thing for everyone. The transparency provided by a PMO can show upper management what project teams actually have the capacity to do. Many companies are unaware of just how much capacity teams devote to work just to keep the lights on. If upper management doesn’t understand how and what teams work on, then they will almost always overextend project teams. Transparency can also show that the project upper management has been pushing towards approval actually isn’t going to contribute very strongly to the corporate strategy.
The Value of a PMO
A PMO is a great way for organizations to deliver transparency, consistency and efficiency. When a PMO is successful, it can reduce stress and frustration from project teams and keep upper management satisfied by completing projects and reaching corporate goals. To see how Meisterplan’s project portfolio management tool helps PMOs be successful, watch our free on-demand product webinar or contact one of our experts today.