Enterprises of the 21st century have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of the Project Management Office (PMO). This is because PMO, i.e. the group or department which defines and maintains project management standards within an organisation, counter the inefficiencies which can derail projects.
Projects have the power to consume resources without proper management. According to the Harvard Business Review, projects can easily go 27% over their intended cost. Unfortunately, projects with higher budgets have more chances to incur failure, costing organisations millions in losses.
Moreover, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports only 2.5% of companies successfully completed 100% of their projects. This study evaluated 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries from various industry verticals.
By hiring Project Management Office Professionals, businesses experience a rise in the success ratio of every single project. However, organizations can further gain an edge by following an internationally accepted framework for Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O).
To better understand how P3O can improve the efficiency of your PMO, let’s first understand the part the latter plays in your organisation.
What are the Roles of a Project Management Office?
As the group entrusted to manage a set of projects in an organisation, the PMO takes charge of all the to-do tasks of a project – starting from standardisation to leveraging resources. To simplify things, the three core responsibilities of a traditional Project Management Office are:
- To establish project management methods
- To keep track of projects
- To provide the right support to project managers
1) To Establish Project Management Methods
As a PMO, your major focus will be defining the methods and processes of projects. By incorporating standardised tools and techniques in projects, project managers become aligned and are on the same level.
The PMO provides support at the planning stage to help assess possible measures for the guaranteed implementation of the project. If your organisation uses personalised project management procedures, the PMO may come up with enhanced implementation methodologies. Otherwise, it will enforce the standards of the Project Management Office.
2) To Keep Track of Projects
After initiating a project and establishing its methodologies, it is important to track it. Tracking allows you to monitor the progress of your project and assess it to ensure the correct progress. This activity is, in fact, one of the most important job roles of the Project Management Office as it ensures timely delivery within the budget of the project.
So, what exactly should the PMO track in a project? The five most significant things to track in a project are:
- Milestones – It is always easier to track larger projects by breaking them down into significant pieces. Set smaller goals and mark the progress of every team member against them.
- Budget – The PMO’s major responsibility is to ensure project completion within the assigned budget. Therefore, taking cost-effective measures for achieving budget targets is important.
- Overall RAG Status – The Red, Amber, and Green rating status report is used for indicating the project progress status.
- Achievements of Current Period and Plans for Next Period – Mark down what you plan to work on next, and how far the team has accomplished till a certain date.
- Key Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies – Also known as RAID, tracking these will help mitigate the risks and issues that occur during project implementation.
3) To Provide the Right Support
In addition to defining, monitoring, and maintaining projects, the PMO needs to provide support to ensure the smooth execution of a project.
Support can come in different forms. For instance, the PMO can be the central source for addressing project related concerns raised by stakeholders. Training and mentoring can also be provided to project managers to ensure their focus on the tasks in hand.
Modern PMOs especially focus on training project managers on utilising project management software. According to Hive, 77% of high-performing projects rely on tools and software. The same also reports that 66% of project managers would use project management tools and software extensively if their organisations supported them.
Top Challenges of Setting up a PMO
Proper PMO Implementation will enable organisations to deliver quality work with lesser resources and risks. However, this is not an easy task to perform. The following core challenges can hinder the delivery of a timely and budgeted project:
1. Benefits Realisation
Statistics show that 62% of programmes demonstrates a relationship between project objective, company strategy, and resulting benefits. Benefit realisation allows the organisation to assess the project’s impact on a business, and the role of the PMO in achieving strategic goals of the business.
Here are the three ways to overcome the challenge of benefits realisation while implementing PMO:
- Continuous Lifecycle – Consider PMO as a whole process rather than a single step. IT is involved in acquiring all strategic objectives, including operational, financial, strategic and governance objectives.
- Stakeholder Engagement – This is vital to avoid the disruption of strategy and operations. The organisation’s C-Suite should also be well informed of the benefits of PMO.
- Communication – Communicate the benefits properly across all mediums, among all in a consistent way as PMO processes may differ from organisation to organisation.
2. Supply and Demand Planning
PMOs focus on systematic project delivery while assessing resource requirements to meet supply and demand successfully. This is because lacking resources in the middle of the project can complicate a project and push it beyond its deadlines.
Eric Hoffer probably defines the significance of Supply and Demand Planning best saying –
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists”
With this quote in mind, keep in mind these three C’s to overcome the supply and demand challenge:
- Capacity – Ensure having the right project skills required to meet the current demand of a project.
- Capability – Match suitable project managers to a project to ensure best results.
- Culture – Sustain skills for project delivery in the future.
3. Project and Programme Prioritisation
Project and programme prioritisation is essential for identifying high-value projects which align with strategy. It also allows PMOs to balance resources and demand and improve project success rates to help achieve business goals.
Unfortunately, the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed 20% of projects tend to be badly aligned. As a result, their chances of failure increase beyond 45%.
To effectively prioritise projects, PMOs need to capture and manage requests properly. One way of doing this is by relying on software which automates this process. PMOs should also use strategic alignment and proven decision science to eliminate waste. Stakeholders need to be as committed in order to improve project prioritisation.
What is P3O and Why Should PMOs Consider It?
Quick advancements in this era have further evolved the priorities of organisations. Now, the key objective of an organisation is to deliver the change portfolio with the right mix of programmes and projects faster and for a lesser cost.
Portfolio, Programme and Project Office (P3O) offers the structures, tools, and techniques required by an organisation to ensure it has the right programmes in place. It sets a model for consistently delivering projects and programmes in the organisation. This can be provided through a single permanent office, which may be called Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, or any other name.
PMOs should consider implementing P3O as it gives them exposure to the world of Project and Programme management. It will help improve their skills and competencies to provide higher value to the stakeholders and customers.
AXELOS PPM Portfolio Manager Mike Acaster introduces Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O) and explains what it can help Project Management Offices (PMOs) achieve.
What are the Benefits of P3O?
So, what can you gain by taking a P3O training and becoming certified? For starters, P3O can help you master important skills such as:
- Maintaining a “big picture” understanding of the business change portfolio
- Providing decision support for the launch of right programmes and projects
- Setting standards and processes to ensure the consistency of delivery
- Providing independent oversight, scrutiny and challenge to ensure things are done well (and right from the very first time)
- Delivering assurance, coaching and mentoring to build a competent workforce capable of first-class programme and project delivery
P3O certification for PMOs also delivers different benefits to organisations and practitioners alike.
How P3O Benefits Organisations
“Doing the right programmes and projects” is one thing. The P3O model, however, aims at “doing programmes and projects right”. Therefore, organisations with P3O certified PMOs may reap advantages such as:
- Ensuring that the business is investing in the right things
- Directing the organisations to focus on delivering programmes and projects that enable them to achieve their goals
- Improving the businesses by keeping senior management informed on decisions related to the prioritisation, risk management, and deployment of resources across the organisation
How P3O Helps PMOs Advance their Careers
For Project Management Officers, achieving P3O certification allows them to go beyond simple project management as they learn to efficiently perform tasks such as:
- Provide support to the organisation while dealing with complex changes
- Support at the portfolio level as well as individual change initiative level (PMOs become inclined towards the Portfolio Office Model as P3O is integrated with portfolio management)
- Offer meaningful support to senior management during the decision making
Interested in P3O Training and Qualifications?
If you believe P3O is the next certification for you, kudos on taking your career and organisation to the next level.
That said, there are two P3O courses available:
- P3O Foundation
- P3O Practitioner
The P3O Foundation course is the pre-requisite for the P3O Practitioner course. It delivers the knowledge on the P3O office Model to certification candidates. You will also get to learn the purpose of the P3O model along with its processes, tools, and techniques.
During a P3O Foundation course, PMO practitioners will benefit by learning:
By completing a P3O Practitioner course and getting certified, you can become a master of Portfolio, Programme and Project Office.
At this stage, you will be able to implement, design, manage or work within any component office of a P3O model. As a certified professional, you will have an overall understanding of the elements, roles, functions, tools, and techniques deployed in a generalised P3O model.
So, are you up for the challenge of a P3O course and certification?
Register here today and let Business Beam’s accredited trainers guide you on the concepts which enrich your PMO career, and help you achieve certification.