There’s been some buzz lately on how PMOs can help your company spend wisely during a recession. In wading through the recent buzz, it’s important to know that not all PMOs are created equal, and the skills of the PMO leadership can make or break your ability to use a PMO as a weapon in your recession-beating strategy. Because the economic climate has changed drastically, you may be in danger of overspending if you don’t re-evaluate and re-engineer your PMO to meet the needs of the day.
Kristen Caretta, at Search CIO-Midmarket discusses how project management offices are uniquely positioned to cut projects that have spiraled out of control and identify those critical to meeting changing business needs and increasing business efficiency.
An article at CIO.com includes key metrics for gauging PMO success. It’s important to reconsider your metrics during the recession, however, because the shift in business climate may require you to track against different targets.
Look critically at your PMO and the way it operates to see if your organization is guilty of any of these behaviors. All of them can actually cause a drag on your bottom line.
- Undue effort spent on policing project teams for adherence to a standard methodology. A highly functioning PMO evaluates requests for exceptions to methodology standards and helps the teams run with a lean and mean approach that speeds up progress while imposing an identifiable and acceptable level of risk to the business.
- Hyperfocus on metrics. Don’t let the endless tracking of metrics become an end unto itself. The only thing that needs to be reported and addressed are the exceptions-those projects that are riding off the rails. It’s a waste of corporate resources to publish lengthy status updates on projects that are humming along without any problems.
- The half-day weekly PMO meeting with a cast of thousands. Be very clear on the purpose of your regular PMO meetings. Using them to resolve cross-cutting issues and refine project strategy or reprioritize the project portfolio and realign resources is a good use of time. Dragging every project manager through status updates for each project only makes sense if the projects are somehow inter-related.
- The IT PMO-in-a-silo. The biggest bang for your PMO dollar is in its ability to foster alignment between business needs (which may in fact change over the lifespan of a project) and implementation projects. You can only do this if your PMO is an enterprise (as opposed to an IT) entity. The director of your PMO needs to have a solid record of experience in advising and negotiating at the C-level, in addition to rock-solid project and program management skills.
To navigate the recession, don’t assume that your current PMO is already providing exactly what you need to win in a difficult economy. If you don’t have a formal continuous improvement approach in place, a semi-annual review and realignment of PMO approach and operations may be in order.