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Six Reasons You Need a PMO

We all have many wants in our lives but only a handful of needs—food, clothing, and shelter being the top three. Similarly, companies may want many things, but really only find a few things absolutely necessary for survival. A Project Management Office (PMO) should be at top of that list of priorities, along with sales, profits, and growth. Read on for the:

Six Reasons You Need a PMO

  1. Consistent Methodology – The bane of many organizations is when departments and groups develop home-grown ways of completing projects. Some processes may work beautifully, some may work terribly; the point is that none are consistent with each other or across the organization. You need a common project management methodology. A PMO allows everyone in the company to speak the same language and follow consistent processes.

  2. Economies of Scale – It’s not uncommon for a company to have a half dozen or so timesheet or project management applications within a company, each with its own financial cost for implementation and training personnel. A PMO implements affordable and sustainable enterprise-wide solutions.

  3. Objective Opinions – Departments running their own projects can sometimes be compared to a fox watching a henhouse. Project sponsors may be looking for the current status of a project, but a departmental project manager may stretch the truth just a bit so that their department is viewed in a favorable light. A PMO provides an unbiased and objective opinion regarding the status of a project. This is invaluable to project stakeholders and executives.

  4. Perpetual Improvement – A PMO is always on the lookout for new and better ways to get things done. They have the benefit of aggregating lessons learned from previous projects and the missive of implementing those best practices across the organization. Additionally, there are countless opportunities for project managers to continue their education and bring newfound knowledge back to their companies.

  5. Transcends Departments – “Why can’t we all just get along?” is a common refrain in many companies. One department may go head to head with another department over unrealistic demands or unreasonable timelines. A PMO can mediate their heated conversations and keep everyone focused on the bigger picture. Members of the PMO can facilitate sessions between departments for the purpose of identifying root cause and coming up with alternatives.

  6. Reduces Cost – All of the benefits of a PMO as described above are realized at the bottom line. As unnecessary tangible expenses are uncovered, such as paying for multiple versions of the same software, they are removed from the income statement. Real savings derived from resources being able to do their work faster will appear as net income. The value of everyone getting along better? Priceless!

You can benefit from a PMO regardless of the size of your company. Even though larger companies are likely to benefit in greater ways exponentially, a small but growing company needs to at least foster the spirit of a PMO. It’s easier to put the foundation in place while small rather than go back and implement a PMO later.

Quality Plan

Project Quality Review

Seven Steps for a Project Quality Review

In some cases, such as a government project, periodic audits may be called for as a part of the overall contract. This “outside party” could be any qualified person outside of the project manager. In some cases, your organization may have an internal project audit specialist. It is possible that the Project Director or the Project Sponsor could also perform this audit. The outside party could be an outside contractor or consultant, but they do not need to be.

The audit itself focuses on whether effective project management processes are being utilized and whether the project appears to be on-track. A project audit asks questions about the processes used to manage the project and build deliverables. The audit can follow this process:

  1. Notify the parties (Auditor) – The auditor notifies the project manager of the upcoming audit and schedules a convenient time and place. Other key stakeholders are notified of the audit as well.
  2. Prepare for the audit (Auditor) – The auditor may request certain information up-front. The auditor might also ask the project manager to be prepared to discuss certain aspects of the project. This ensures that the actual meeting time is as productive as possible.
  3. Perform initial interview (Auditor, Project Manager) – During the initial meeting, the auditor asks the appropriate questions to ensure the project is on-track. If there are any areas that are not on track, the auditor notes them as such.
  4. Perform as many other interviews as necessary (optional) (Auditor, Project Team) – On many projects, the audit might culminate in the initial meeting. If the project is large or complex, the auditor might need to perform follow-up analysis. This includes meeting with other team members and clients, and reviewing further documentation.
  5. Document the findings (Auditor) – The auditor documents the status and the processes used on this project against best practices. If the organization has standards and policies in place for managing projects, the auditor determines whether any of these are not being followed on the audited project. The auditor also makes recommendations on things that can be done to provide more effective and proactive management of the project.
  6. Review draft audit report (Auditor, Project Manager) – The auditor and the project manager meet again to go over the initial findings. This auditor describes any project management deficiencies and recommendations for changes. This review also provides an opportunity for the project manager to provide a rebuttal when necessary. The initial audit findings might be modified based on specific feedback from the project manager.
  7. Issue final report (Auditor) – The auditor issues a final report of findings and recommendations. The project manager may also issue a formal response to the audit. In the formal response, the project manager can accept points and discuss plans to implement them. The project manager may also voice his disagreement with certain audit points, and explain his reason why. In these cases, the project sponsor and the project director (manager of the project manager) will need to decide if the project manager should comply with the recommendations or not.