Implement a PMO Quickly
It’s often moments of uncertainty or shifts in the market that cause businesses to think again about their project priorities. Sometimes, projects that looked good six months ago are no longer viable, following a change in the socioeconomic situation. Sometimes, you’ll want to quickly implement new initiatives to take advantage of circumstances.
A PMO can make the difference between being able to react quickly or struggling to keep your business afloat in times of disruption.
PMO benefits in turbulent times
Your PMO acts as the custodian of all the initiatives that are happening in the organization. Need to know where your resources are deployed? The PMO can tell you. Need to know what projects can be quickly stopped to focus on new strategic priorities? That’s a report the PMO can prepare easily.
The PMO team understands what changes are currently underway and what is coming up in the pipeline. If the business needs to pivot, the PMO can analyse what changes to the portfolio are required, so new projects can begin as soon as possible.
They can track what is being put on hold so when the time is right, those projects can be picked up again.
How to set up your PMO quickly
The first step in setting up a new PMO is to undertake PMO implementation planning. By that we mean taking time out to plan what you want from the PMO and how you are going to get there. This could be a short exercise, or a time-consuming one. Either way, it’s important to know where you are going before you set off.
3 Keys to rapidly activating your PMO
If you want to get a PMO in place in your organization, these three things are the key to a speedy deployment.
1. Stakeholder engagement
You must have support from relevant managers and business leaders in order to quickly gain buy in for the PMO – this won’t be news to you. Any change to the way your business works needs support in order for it to be a success.
Meet with core stakeholders and the people who can influence the outcomes. Explain what you are trying to do and why, and secure their support. In rapidly changing times, hopefully the benefits of having a PMO will be clear.
Involve stakeholders in your planning process so they know what is coming and what the next steps will be.
2. A clear understanding of the business drivers
What are you trying to achieve with your PMO? The more you understand about the business drivers and the objectives for setting up a PMO, the closer you can align your team with what matters to you.
The functions offered by the PMO will depend on what you want to team to do. In turn, that requires an understanding of the business needs. Is it primarily reporting to help executives understand the full portfolio? Is it standardizing the way the organization manages projects to make it easier to compare performance? PMOs serve a variety of different functions, and your implementation needs to be tailored perfectly to meet your specific requirements.
Of course, the PMO’s functions can evolve over time, so focus on your priority goals to begin with and add in more services later.
3. Expertise in PMO creation
You’ve got two choices: go it alone and use precious time to research the best ways to implement the PMO platform, processes, standard and tools. Or tap into industry expertise and secure support from people who have done this many times before and who can take weeks if not months off your efforts.
If setting up a PMO quickly is important to you, there’s no better way to start than by working with experts who have seen it all before and done it many times. External support will help you build a tailored implementation plan, letting you rapidly get your PMO in place. Use their troubleshooting expertise to make sure your PMO is useful and successful from Day 1.
Another benefit of working with experienced PMO consultants is that they can stay on and support the running of the PMO if necessary. That can be particularly useful if you don’t have staff in-house with the necessary skills. While you recruit and train your long-term team, consultants can step in to make sure everything is operating as it should from the very first moment.
What about Organization Change Management?
When businesses implement a PMO, we often find they gain huge benefit in also thinking about Organization Change Management practices at the same time.
Being able to manage the change effectively is just as important as making sure the PMO has the tools and processes it needs to work effectively. Typically, businesses want to tackle both together to improve the project delivery capability and build maturity in how change is done across the organization.
However, if your PMO discussion has come about as the result of operating in a disruptive economy, you might be looking at the fastest way to put some structure around establishing what projects are happening, where your resources are working and how to get new initiatives approved and into the portfolio in the easiest possible way.
When speed is important, you may consider phasing the approach you take. A PMO primarily focused on consolidated project reporting can be successfully implemented with haste. You can then work on improving maturity. Just don’t forget about that step! Make sure it is added to your PMO roadmap so the team can quickly scale and support organizational change efforts as well.
Ultimately, your goal is a stronger project-based culture that is accountable for results and strategically aligned with the business. If you quickly implement a PMO with that culture in place, our bet is that you can weather any storm.