Reasons Your Company Needs a Project Management Office

A project management office has many benefits

The PMO Series in the Meisterplan Blog

  • Part 2: How the PMO Fits into Your Company and the Expectations It Must Fulfill
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  • Part 3: How to Get Your PMO Accepted by Your Company
    Read Now

  • Part 4: Measure the Success of Your PMO
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If you are considering a Project Management Office (PMO) for the first time, then you may be thinking: “Another department? Is this really necessary?” It’s a struggle for many companies to get a PMO approved and then, once approved, for it to be accepted. Some stakeholders worry that having a PMO that oversees projects will unnecessarily slow down the process, but we’re here to champion the benefits of a PMO.

There are many good reasons for the introduction of a PMO, especially in larger companies with increasing project volume and complexity. Someone in the company needs to keep track of all the processes, changes, conflicts, risks and make decisions. Senior management and department heads usually have other, equally important things to do and the project managers take care of their own projects by definition. So who should take care of the not so little task of multi-project management?

In this first post of our four-part series about the Project Management Office, we will look at what a PMO actually does and what benefits it brings. In the following posts, we will discuss how the PMO is anchored in the company, how you can best implement a PMO and how to measure its success.

What is a PMO?

While each PMO is different, has different powers, responsibilities and focus depending on the company, in general a PMO is defined as a permanent organizational unit responsible for the centralized and coordinated management of all projects. Possible tasks include the planning of the project portfolio, the development of project standards and PM strategies, the training of the project staff as well as the monitoring and direct support of individual projects.

What Exactly Does a PMO Do?

A PMO maintains an overview of projects, knows the company strategy, and ensures that both go hand in hand. However, the specific application areas of a PMO vary greatly from company to company. There are no “classic” PMO task fields, but only many possibilities:

  • Compiling the project portfolio by classifying, selecting and prioritizing projects based on the company strategy and available resources, preparing decision-making and facilitating decision-making for the portfolio board

  • Planning resources at the portfolio-level, optimizing the use of resources and solving resource conflicts

  • Maintaining current employee data, especially in terms of capacity, project allocations and skills

  • Standardizing methods and processes in project management

  • Selecting, implementing and training employees on applicable tools and software

  • Increasing transparency of current and planned projects through up-to-date, reliable project data

  • Promoting information flow and communication

  • Creating a knowledge base with Lessons Learned and Best Practices from past projects to avoid repeat errors

  • Monitoring project progress and control the dependencies that affect resources, budgets, and schedules (project portfolio tracking)

  • Training and coaching project leaders and stakeholders

  • Providing administrative and operational support for project managers and project teams (e.g., conflict management, workshop moderation, etc.)

(Source: PMI)

There are good reasons to have a Project Management Office (PMO) in your company.

You Can Count on These Benefits

Provided your PMO is staffed with the right people, has enough budget and recognition, and is aware of its specific tasks and responsibilities (see the upcoming Part 2 of this series), the introduction of a PMO can only have a positive impact on your project landscape. The benefits include:

  • a successful project portfolio that focuses on resource availability and corporate strategy (“doing the right things the right way“)

  • unified project methods and a company-wide standardized usage of software

  • freeing up the time and energy of project leaders and project teams, so they can concentrate on important operational tasks

  • improved communication across projects and across the entire organization

  • effective transfer of knowledge, applying best practices and minimizing errors

  • optimized project efficiency, increased project quality and reduced project risk

(Source: CIO)

With a PMO you can align more projects to the corporate objectives. With the help of a PMO, these projects can be implemented within budget and use available resource capacity. This means that the cost per project decreases and fewer projects fail. Which, of course, improves your customer satisfaction. Sounds good, right? While the benefits of a PMO may be difficult to see at first, the medium to long-term value of established, high-functioning PMOs has been confirmed by organizations all around the world.

A Tool For PMOs

You may be convinced of the value of a PMO, but don’t forget that all successful PMOs need powerful tools. Meisterplan is a project portfolio management tool that provides real-time scenario planning, easy resource allocation, and clear visuals into your project portfolio. If you would like to learn for yourself why PMOs love Meisterplan, sign up for a free 30 day trial.

Mister Meister

Learn how the project management office operates with different business units and stakeholders.

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