A Project Management Office (PMO) is a department or group of people that defines and maintains the standards related to project management, within an organization. As an extension of defining and maintaining these standards, a project management office is more importantly, responsible for the successful execution and implementation of projects that fall under their jurisdiction, as well as typically the guardian of approved project management softwares. There are many benefits that come from implementing such a structure within a company. But a PMO is not something that is typically started right out of the gate, especially with a smaller company. The following article will discuss some of the benefits of a PMO as well as some of the tell-tale signs suggesting it might be time to establish a PMO.

Three Benefits of a Project Management Office

There are a number of benefits that come to a company as soon as they implement an enterprise-wide project management office:

#1. Create and Implement Consistent Systems and Processes.

One of the most noticeable benefits of a project management office is their ability to create and implement consistent systems and processes.

Companies will become successful for a number of reasons. They have a great product, they have great salespeople, they are innovative, or a combination of other factors will lead to their success. With this success comes growth, and with growth comes growing pains.

There’s a certain mindset that occurs as a company is growing exponentially. I once heard a colleague of a fast growing company express the sentiment that “any decision that moves the company forward is the right decision”.

The spirit of what he was saying was that you can’t take the time to slow down in a fast-growing company and methodically analyze every possible solution to a decision that needs to be made. Rather, people need to make decisions on-the-spot and in real time in order to keep things moving.

This works great in theory. However, long-term, what it introduces is very inconsistent, unpredictable, and sometimes unreliable ways of getting the work out the door, whatever that work may be.

Once a company has reached this point of confusion, it’s a great relief to those who are affected to have an objective third party (also known as a PMO) come in and smooth things out.

The members of the project management office will identify the systems and processes that are working, get rid of those that aren’t, and fill in any missing gaps.

#2. An Objective Source of Truth.

Another benefit that comes once a project management office is implemented is that there is one objective location to find the truth. What does this mean? If it is set up properly, a PMO will not have any resources reporting directly to them (other than project managers and perhaps some business analysts).

As such, there is nothing to hide or cover up when it comes to reporting on project status.If a department is running their own projects, they may not be quite as objective to report on the true status of where things stand.

We’re not talking about people deliberately lying here, but rather providing their “version of the truth”.  For example, a department may know they missed the date of a deliverable. But, they also know that by the time the next status meeting comes around they will be able to catch up and choose not to report it is a potential risk.

Then, an emergency happens, this deliverable never gets finished, and now the project is in crisis mode.

A project management office provides visibility into such an occurrence and heads of the negative consequences. If the deliverable was not complete on the date needed and a clear (and near) end date was not forthcoming, this would have been reported as a potential risk.

This would have given the project sponsor or company executives the ability to do something about it so it didn’t get out of control.

The President of a software development company once told me that he uses the person that runs his project management office as the barometer for how well (or poorly) things are going on within the company.

“If he’s a little on edge, I know I need to dig into more details and see where I need to help. If he’s calm, cool, and collected then I just go to lunch. I know everything is going just fine.”

#3. Introduces Economies of Scale.

A project management office also reduces or eliminates duplicated efforts and wasted resources. If someone doesn’t have an overarching view of the activity that is happening within a company, similar projects and initiatives can start to appear in multiple locations when there really is no need.

One solution would suffice, but the people that are working on the other solutions are not aware that there’s already a solution. A project management office can stop this duplication of efforts by employing online project management software to coordinate amongst various departments, to get the job done…once.

The above are just some of the benefits of project management office you’ll realize once a project management office is implemented successfully. But, how do you know when it’s time to go down this path?


When is it Time for a Project Management Office?

There’s no particular size, revenue, or makeup of a company that would indicate that it’s time to start a project management office. However, the following symptoms may be signs that you want to look into setting up this valuable department.


#1. Work is not Getting Out the Door

Due to the success of the company and what you offer, there are log-jams and slowdowns that are creating bottlenecks across the company. This is drastically slowing work down, creating rework, and introducing all of the subsequent problems that occur because of this type of mismanagement.

#2. It Feels like Every Project is the First Time you’ve Done Something Like This:

Even though you may have done a particular type of project time and time again (for example, your company may create websites that require some amount of customization for a client) it feels like this is the first time you’ve ever done this type of project.

People are tripping over each other, necessary questions are not asked until it’s too late, or deliverables sit on a shelf somewhere, not getting worked on, while the department that should be doing the work is sitting on its hands. If it becomes a comedy of errors to get a project out the door, then it may be time to set up a project management office.

#3. There is not a Single Group that Knows What’s Going on Across the Company:

Everybody has bits and pieces of where things stand, or they may have their own very myopic view of the world…but nobody knows how everything ties together… and this is starting to create problems.

Deliverables that are passed from one department to the next may not be configured in the proper way, or they are missing key elements of what was originally agreed upon re-delivery.

It may be time to put a project management office in place to provide that general overview.

As previously mentioned, a project management office is something that will typically be introduced into a company once it has reached a certain size.

However, the principles of a project management office can be applied across companies of any size as they get a jump start on creating the systems and processes needed to successfully run their projects as they grow.


Reference: PMTips

  • "Casseo was engaged to provide both Programme and Project Management services to Capita Life & Pensions Services (Ireland) Ltd to define, plan, manage and control the delivery of a suite of initiatives to support the Companies strategy to be the Business Process Outsourcer of choice in the International and Domestic Life & Pensions market sector. In addition to the Programme Management assignments, Casseo also took on responsibility for the project management and delivery of specific risk and efficiency projects incorporating both business and IT elements together with the Project management of the Capita Internal end-to-end bid process (bid negotiation to legal contracts and subsequent transition/integration). All assignments were approached and delivered in a very practical, professional and comprehensive manner and I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending or engaging Casseo should the opportunity arise at some point in the future." Operations Director, Capita Life & Pensions Services (Ireland) Ltd.

  • GE Financial Insurance (now Genworth Financial) engaged Casseo to assist in the delivery of a complex cross-functional project. The project entailed managing the IT Infrastructure and providing IT Support to assists a dedicated debtor recovery team that was set up specifically for the project. Based in Birmingham, Casseo leveraged excellent project management and technical skills to quickly win the confidence of the local team. Over a period of time, Casseo worked hand-in-hand with this team to deliver an outstanding result where significant more debts were recovered than had been thought possible.  I have no hesitation in recommending Casseo. Programme Manager, Genworth Financial

  •   "Casseo was engaged to provide Project Management services to ‘Prudential Europe Management Services Ltd’ and each project managed by Casseo during this period was delivered in a very professional and effective manner. Casseo also provided key project management services in the selection; negotiation and subsequent contract awarding of a strategic €160m Business Process Outsourcing agreement, which was in line with the Prudential business strategy. I would highly recommend Casseo to any organisation seeking experienced, practical and structured delivery of IT/Business change projects." Managing Director, Prudential Europe Management Services Ltd

  • " I engaged Casseo as I felt other vendors and recruiters just didn’t get our requirements and I haven’t been disappointed. We have established a solid partnership that I value greatly."

    Director of Change, International Financial Data Services (IFDS)

  •   "Casseo was engaged on a critical programme aimed at further enhancing Dell’s renowned Supply Chain model for outbound logistics in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The Casseo team immediately hit the ground running and added immense value in augmenting the internal Dell IT team seeking to expedite this critical project.  They brought a strategic and realistic view of the possibilities for the project, as well as a professional focus on delivery of a quality product to agreed timescales.  Casseo managed a wide range of internal relationships, as well as cementing the external commitments needed from Dell’s partners to make the project a reality.  Throughout the project life cycle, Casseo always brought a practical perspective to the table when wrestling with a complex project, and executed creative and innovative solutions to ensure success. A very worthwhile partnership which I would eagerly recommend to those in search of external expertise and commitment in meeting their project commitments."

  • "When DB Schenker announced the $2BN acquisition of BAX Global, the integration of these two large organisations commenced in over 100 Countries across the globe. In Ireland, Schenker/Bax engaged the services of Casseo Ltd to project manage critical elements of this integration.  The brief included; IT Application integration, Network integration; IT Infrastructure upgrade and IT organisation design & recruitment.  Casseo Ltd played a vital role in each element of their brief, quickly familiarising themselves with the organisation locally and globally, building up positive and constructive working relationships with key staff. Over a nine month period through the mix of extensive experience, hard work, determination and the use of professional project management tools, Casseo Ltd made a huge contribution to the successful integration of Schenker/Bax in Ireland.   Throughout the project, Casseo Ltd provided regular progress reports to the project team and provided direct and clear advice on all occasions. Our decision to engage Casseo Ltd was recognised as a huge success, locally in Ireland and at our global HQ in Germany." Managing Director – Schenker Ireland Ltd, www.schenker.com

  • Casseo Ltd were selected by Pioneer Investments Management Ltd to play a very significant part in establishing the PMO in the organisation (processes, systems, data) and in gaining broad acceptance for the role of the PMO amongst the IT community. The Casseo associate made a major contribution to adapting and tailoring processes, at short notice, to accommodate the diverse elements involved in a very large and complex change programme and also came with a strong project management background, which, combined with a good knowledge of the asset management business, allowed him to be effective from the start. The Casseo associate has performed to a very high standard in a fast-moving, multinational environment and has interacted well with PM, IT and business groups.  I would have no hesitation in recommending Casseo Ltd to other suppliers who are seeking a quality Project Management partner. Programme Manager, Pioneer Investments Management Ltd

  • "As a Global IT director with General Motors, it’s critical that I source high calibre resources every time. Casseo Ltd bring such a level of confidence and integrity to the pipeline of resources that distinguishes them from everyone else in the market. Casseo is about relationship building, getting to know our company, our culture, our management team, requirements and practices. They assist with the tailoring of job specifications to ensure the widest range of options are attracted to the job profiles. In addition to the existing Casseo network, their hands on screening of resources means that we have an excellent ratio of interviews to on-boarding and subsequently, shorter ramp-up cycles, improved business value & increased efficiencies.  Resources are not just screened based on their CVs, Casseo invests a lot of time to get to know the resources and this profiling gets best results, both for my teams and for the resources themselves. Our local team has leveraged the Casseo experience for a number of years and I would highly recommend them to any organisation seeking a true partnership arrangement that delivers results. " Global IT Director General Motors

  •   "Casseo partnered with Perot Systems to provide Programme and Project Management expertise across a number of projects in the UK Public sector and in the international education sector. These are complex Business Transformation and IT Change Programmes, aimed at improving efficiency and business outcomes and reducing costs through the implementation of new technology. Once engaged, Casseo’s associates hit the ground running, developing and implementing the plans, governance models and reporting disciplines thereby bringing significant improvements in the clarity and transparency of the progress being made in a short timeframe. The focus, work ethic and pragmatism of Casseo’s associates meant that as an executive sponsor you had confidence and clarity that the projects would be delivered and that our customers objectives and outcomes would be realised. The results and deliverables achieved speak for themselves across all engagements. I would strongly recommend Casseo to other organisations faced with requirements to deliver new projects or indeed faced with having to intervene or rescue in flight IT or Business Change programmes.” Director of Professional Services, Perot Systems

  • Casseo Ltd provided experienced IT contract personnel to Kindle Banking Systems. During this period Casseo personnel quickly assumed key roles in the development of the Bankmaster product portfolio, a leading open systems integrated banking solution that was deployed in over 200 banks worldwide. Casseo developed a partnership with Kindle Banking Systems that saw its personnel provide business critical services during a time of huge upheaval in the banking software market. Casseo services were also key in underpinning operations during the creation of Kindle’s Bangalore Software Services Centre. Technical competence, pragmatic project focus and flexible people are the hallmark of Casseo’s service delivery. I would strongly recommend Casseo and its team of IT professionals. Corporate Partnership Services Director, Kindle Banking Systems

  • TTM engaged Casseo at Board level to work with us particularly, but not exclusively, on Funding, Delivery Management and Sales Growth. The Casseo Interim Manager worked with us through two acquisition approaches, a funding round with Ulster Bank Ireland / Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS Commercial) UK and numerous Vendor Selection processes. Subsequently, we have appointed the Casseo Interim Managers as Non – Executive Chairman of TTM Ireland / TTM UK and as a direct result, our revenue has grown considerably allied by a massive reduction in our costs through various measures including Business Process Outsourcing and more structured Delivery Management. TTM’s Managing Director, our Senior Management team and our Project Managers have grown in confidence since their arrival at TTM. The Casseo Interim Manager’s rounded experience and qualifications has allowed him to truly work with the management team across all operational areas – financial management, sales channel development, project management, marketing support, technology vendor selection and in particular operational business management. We now have a much more structured outlook to the future and in our attempt to add more value to the bottom line the Casseo Interim Managers input will ultimately have an impact on the value of TTM as we move towards trade sale. Managing Director...[Read more]

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