A Project Management Office (PMO) should be the hub of project delivery within an organization – but you need executive level buy in and stronger engagement to make it really happen.
If you invest in what’s needed to help add value to the business, it’s easier to build that engagement. It can take time, but it’s definitely worth it. Here are some things that your PMO could consider as part of a drive to build a stronger engagement with the communities you serve.
Develop Selection Criteria
Businesses thrive when the right projects are selected. If your PMO doesn’t already have selection criteria in place, these will really help business leaders make good choices about what projects should be taken forward.
You can also develop a scoring model to go alongside the criteria, in case your criteria need to be weighted differently.
These help build engagement because the activity around talking about selection and scoring deepen understanding of project management within the organization. You’ll be discussing what’s important to people to help put the criteria together, and you may also gain a better insight into how the business chooses to work.
Alongside the selection criteria should be a clear process for prioritization. This could involve different levels of meetings, sign off for budgets over a certain amount or some other decision making forum. Whatever the prioritization process looks like, the PMO can support by making it easy for the process to happen.
When prioritization is smooth and effortless, it’s more likely that the business will work on the right projects. Leaders notice. They’ll appreciate the PMO’s efforts in helping with this process.
Create A Resource Pool
Your organization has a finite amount of resources. One way to improve engagement with the rest of the business is to create a single resource pool. If that sounds too ambitious, create a resource pool for a particular type of resource, or start with what you can. Project delivery resource and IT resource are often good candidates for creating pools of resources.
Ultimately, a resource pool helps you manage the entire enterprise portfolio because you can more easily see the impact of staffing levels on what you are trying to do. This can help leaders engage with the project process because they have to understand how resources are allocated and assigned.
Create A Project Register
A project register is simply a list of all the projects that are happening in the business at any given moment. You can extend it to include the ideas or pipeline initiatives that are awaiting approval, and on hold temporarily.
Ultimately, it will also include projects that have been closed prematurely or completed successfully.
Having a single list of all projects is a huge bonus for executives. If they don’t have this already, it’s a simple way to build engagement with the PMO processes.
Develop And Deliver Project Education
Get the message of the PMO out there by investing in some education and training effort. You can develop your own in-house courses and presentations and then plan an education program to deliver these.
There are two main areas that give quick results if done well: project manager training and project sponsor training. Use the project manager training time to educate people in the role of the PMO and supporting processes, especially those that affect project managers. Set out your expectations of a project manager and what you expect them to do.
If you are able to get time with senior leaders in the organization, book in some project sponsor education sessions. These can be used to educate the leadership team about how they should carry out the sponsor function, what to look for and how to support project managers to get projects completed as expected.
Set Up Governance Processes For The Portfolio
Another way to build engagement with senior leaders is to set up governance processes. Governance is a way of setting out how you expect projects to be managed and providing the oversight to ensure they are being carried out according to standards. In particular, governance provides confidence that the work is being done in a professional way.
Governance processes can be simple. For example, it may be as easy as making sure every project has a clear set of mandatory project documents, and has regular project steering group or board meetings with a standard agenda.
Create A Library Of Tools, Templates And Processes
If you don’t already have a library of templates and other useful assets, this can be a quick way to build stronger engagement. Templates and tools make people’s lives easier. They can come to you to access templates to speed up their own work.
Plus, you can improve standardization and support your project teams by giving them the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
Part of this is setting up and maintaining enterprise project management software tools. Be the point person (or team) for system admin on your software. Run regular training sessions on how to get the most out of your software.
Building a stronger engagement with the work of the PMO takes time, especially if business leaders don’t have experience of working with the PMO function, or the function is new to the business. However, by focusing on what makes a difference to the organization and can be seen to be adding value, PMO leaders can build engagement and gain support for deepening project management maturity across the business.