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Supersizing PMO Performance

"The greatest difficulty in the world is not for people to accept new ideas but for them to forget old ones."
John Martin Keynes

Keywords: project management, PMO, stakeholder management, culture, organisation, relationships.

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Supersizing PMO Performance[P037]

The value of an effective PMO to its host organisation has been demonstrated repeatedly. Yet in many organisations the PMO is perceived to be ineffective or irrelevant and as a consequence its potential to contribute value to the organisation is ignored. In some circumstances this perception may be valid with the PMO having been set up as an administrative bureaucracy designed to gather and process data blindly. However, the same perception is frequently encountered in organisations where the PMO has been staffed with competent practitioners skilled in the techniques of project management and project controls. In this circumstance the failure is not attributable to the technical competence of the PMO staff; rather their failure to communicate effectively and manage relationships.

A relationship focused PMO understands the need to communicate effectively with its different stakeholders, in appropriate language, to facilitate access the information it needs and to have its reports and messages understood and acted upon. The relationship focused PMO is trusted and relied on by both project teams and senior management, acting as an effective cultural translator between the two groups. By understanding its stakeholders and customising its communication strategy to meet their different requirements, the PMO transforms their perceptions from being seen as an 'administrative overhead' into a valuable resource.

This paper will outline a number of techniques and tools, including the Stakeholder Circle® available to PMO management to facilitate the transition to a relationship focused organisation delivering 'supersized value'. The data presented has been drawn from research undertaken Lynda Bourne as part of her Doctor of Project Management (DPM) thesis and a series of international surveys conducted by KPMG in 2002, 2003 and 2005'.

Author: Dr. Lynda Bourne

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Published in Project Management Technology May 2006

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