The traditional role of a Project Management Office (PMO) is to define the standards for project management within an organisation. Sounds simple enough, right? Define the rules and then ensure everyone sticks to it… But when “the rules” in this context actually means finding the best, most effective and innovate ways to ensure strategic business alignment and delivery success, it’s easy to understand why PMOs constantly need to reinvent themselves.
As project management continues to make significant shifts toward faster, smarter delivery, the key to survival for any PMO is finding the best way to facilitate agile practices by blending the right mix of technology, people and process.
Leveraging technology to automate PMO tasks
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies are being used across many different industries to automate mundane and labour-intensive tasks. For the modern PMO, it offers the opportunity to automate all of the day-to-day tasks related to data collection, tracking and reporting. This is great, not only from a time-saving perspective but because it also means the PMO team can shift their focus to activities where they can add more value.
Building a data analytics strategy
A PMO’s power lies in its understanding of when and how projects succeed and fail, not only from a pure delivery perspective but also looking at post-implementation success factors like market share, customer satisfaction, employee adoption, increased profits and sales. Having access to this information allows the PMO to properly guide teams in a way that ensures a much higher rate of success.
Understanding governance within an agile context
With the shift to agile delivery methods, governance, visibility and control are all things that typically fall by the wayside due to the misconception that it only succeeds in slowing delivery down. The PMO’s mission should be finding the right governance fit for the industry type, organisational style and delivery scale by continually evaluating and assessing with the goal to make continuous adjustments and refinements.
Placing a greater emphasis on coaching and upskilling
With the shift to agile, PMOs typically expand to include people from across the business who come with a wealth of business expertise and experience but aren’t necessarily technically skilled from a delivery perspective. The PMO needs to step into a coaching role to support these new team members in effective ways of working while also building a better understanding of project dynamics, challenges and key considerations.
Conducting a PMO audit
It’s easy to fall into the trap of merely offering the PMO services that you think all PMOs should offer, but do these really make any material difference to the business? The purpose of a PMO audit would be to take a critical look at each and every service that is offered, marrying this up to what your business stakeholders need, and then stopping and starting services accordingly. In this way, you’re ensuring that you are focusing your collective energies in all the right places, thereby cementing your place within the broader organisation.
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