The State of the PMO
According to Gartner, “World-class organisations enjoy a project success rate close to 90%”. So what is it that allows these organisations to deliver business value at nearly triple the standard industry success rate?
The answer is that almost all of them have established successful PMOs. What's more, nearly 70% of organisations implementing PMOs report that project success rates have improved significantly as a result.
The fact remains that many managers do not understand the value and the key success factors of an effective PMO. Often these are folk who have little if any PMO experience and still see the PMO as it used to be many years ago – an administrative function which managed documents, created status reports and standardised processes. Fortunately the effective PMOs and those who sponsor them have moved on; which is one reason why they rise above those who still live in a world of constant fire-fighting and inefficiency.
In the book “Software Engineering Economics” from Prentice Hall, it was explained that a project staffed with uniformly very low-rated personnel on all capability and experience factors would require 11 times as much effort to complete the project as would a project team with the highest rating in all the above factors. Little wonder why a non-existent or ineffective PMO can cause so much pain in the delivery of portfolios, programmes and projects.
The best-performing PMOs operate as a centre of excellence to reduce business risk, optimise resources and contribute to business growth. By implementing governance, communications programmes and collaboration tools, the PMO can reduce the risk of schedule slippage, cost over-runs and scope creep by focusing on best practice process, basic tools and Project Manager development.
For further reading I recommend the following:
Lessons From the Best – Practices of the World's Top PMOs
Whilst the above has focused on Project Management Offices, let's not forget that there are also Programme Management Offices and Portfolio Management Offices; each of which is suited to a particular environment within an organisation, to help successfully establish, develop and maintain appropriate governance structures to support portfolio, programme and project management.